October brings a lot of exciting annual events to the city but few are as expansive or innovative as Chicago Artists Month. Celebrating its 20th annual event, this year's festivities pull out all the stops with concerts, exhibits, performances, films and basically everything that represents Chicago art in all of its forms. The events run through Nov. 15 and are truly all-encompassing, covering independent artists and their works all over the city. Here's a general guide to some standout Chicago Artists Month events:
Focusing on short and feature-length documentaries that examine the connections between race, class, age, gender and sexuality within Chicago society, the voices and experiences of Chicagoans will be the highlight of Chicago filmmakers in an interesting reflection of ethnography. Discussions will follow all films.
Dates: Fridays, Oct. 9, 16, 23 from 6-8:30 p.m.
Location: Community Film
Workshop, 6200 S. Drexel
These workshops explore the role of craftmaking by women in immigrant and refugee communities. Participants will get the chance to learn knitting, quilting and embroidery in individual workshops, as well as the symbolism that each craft holds within specific cultures.
Dates: Saturdays, 1-5 p.m.: Oct. 10 (Korean and Cambodian quilting), Oct. 24, (Arab and African embroidery); Friday, Nov. 6 3-5 p.m. (social enterprise panel discussion).
Locations: Oct. 10, National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial, 2831 W. Lawrence; Oct. 24, Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, 1730 W. Greenleaf; Nov. 6, Hamdard Center, 1542 W. Devon.
$15 suggested donation or sliding scale
This thought-provoking exhibit organized by artist and curator Makeba Kedem Dubose, showcases the historical journey of the Great Migration, when African Americans fled the horrors of the Jim Crow South for Northern cities from 1910-1970 and juxtapositions it with the struggles of black South Side artists trying to gain visibility on the North Side of the city. All the works are displayed in black and white.
Dates: Through Nov. 6
Location: Calao 22 Space, 2320 N. Damen, Suite 2F. By appointment only. Please call 773-808-8108 or email email@example.com.
A West Humboldt Park institution, Mr. Rios' artful collection of discarded toys and random artifacts has entertained and fascinated the community for nearly two decades. Assembled in his backyard and spilling out toward the alley, the outdoor installation showcases a vibrant example of Chicago outsider art.
Location: Silent Funny, 4106 W. Chicago
Dates: Oct. 16, 7 p.m., Oct. 17, 4 p.m.
Presented by the Artistic Bombing Crew (ABC), one of the original graffiti crews to introduce hip hop culture to Chicago in the early '80s, this interactive exhibit displays the four elements of hip hop (graffiti, break-dancing, MCing and Djing) and includes cypher sessions, workshops and panel discussions.
Location: Hairpin Arts Center, 2810 N. Milwaukee
Dates: Through Oct. 31
A ground-breaking workshop of ongoing, daily micro dances performed in front of neighborhood storefronts and houses, the entire city is invited to participate in the creation of their own neighborhood dances. A team of dancers will be deployed across the city and the dances will be scheduled and advertised for the community to witness. 15-second videos of the dances will be geotagged and promoted on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Location: Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago
Dates: Oct. 19-24, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Photos: 'Migrations in Black and White' work, entitled "Human Race," by Dr. Yemonja Smalls; Collected Voices photo courtesy of Community Film Workshop of Chicago; 'Migrations in Black and White' work, entitled "Alone=all one," by Fanta Celah; Neighborhood Dances - Victoria Bradford pictured - courtesy of Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery