Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Experiences with Chicago Art Galleries

This article is from Jeanine Hill-Soldner, Chicago local artist, one of our independent Chicago Art and Chicago gallery article contributors. More details of Jeanine' contact information is available at the end of this article.

The gallery scene in Chicago offers a wide selection of original artworks by local and international artists. In these hard economic times it’s important that small businesses, such as galleries be visitor friendly and of course artist friendly. To do otherwise seems counterintuitive. This brings me to the Chicago art gallery scene. Each of the galleries where I have exhibited has been a part of the vibrant art scene in the City.

I’ll start with my favorite of the galleries in which I’ve exhibited my work over the past 13 years. One of my all time favorite galleries closed last year. The Peter Jones Gallery was a vital epicenter of the art community in Chicago. Located in the Ravenswood community, Pete Jones maintained an open and friendly space where monthly rotating exhibits brought the best out in the artists and the art community. I exhibited my oil paintings with the Chicago Women’s Caucus for Art on a number of occasions and loved the ambience and large crowds attracted to the receptions.

Another Chicago gallery where I have exhibited is on North Avenue, the Tom Robinson Studio and Gallery. Tom hosted the Ethereal Fauna show this past October as part of the Chicago Artists Month. The location is easy to find with ample free parking, and within walking distance of the EL. There are a number of good restaurants on North and Damen avenues, so you can enjoy a nice meal along with visiting the gallery. The space is bright and clean with hardwood floors and plenty of natural light. You also have several other small galleries along North Avenue and the Flat Iron Arts Building is just down the street from the Tom Robinson Gallery. Tom is an artist, and a friendly, gracious host..

Other galleries on my resume include the non profit artist run ARC. I have always found that exhibiting at ARC to be a pleasure. The opening receptions and large crowds that are attracted to the openings bring fun and excitement to the exhibition. I would include WomanMade with the caliber of gallery and high quality art that ARC represents. Director and founder Beate Minkovski takes care of the artists, the art and all visitors who enter her Milwaukee Avenue gallery.

Zhou B is a huge and exciting gallery, a bit rustic and rough with so much character that it can only add to the art viewing experience. The Flat Iron Arts Building I mention above is home to a small lovely gallery, the Accidental Gallery and plentiful exhibition space in the commons areas. This is a treat for those looking for a friendly, trendy art scene. Gallery on Lake is also a good, roomy space with friendly and helpful staff. I must also mention the Hothouse gallery which unfortunately succumbed to hard economic times. Hothouse was an exciting and happening venue with live jazz and exemplary exhibitions.

In addition to “city” galleries I have exhibited my work in several near suburban spaces that have I found wonderful experiences for exposure. The University of Illinois School of Public Health Gallery, Chicago Athenaeum, Koehnline Museum of Art Oakton Community College, and Prairie State College, Aurora Public Arts Commission Gallery, Barrington Area Arts Council Gallery and the Lake County Museum.

And finally, my favorite of all exhibition spaces in Chicago is the National Veterans Art Museum. Although not officially a “gallery” the NVAM collects, archives and exhibits the most powerful, meaningful and vibrant art that you will find anywhere. I highly recommend that anyone visiting Chicago visit the NVAM on South Indiana Avenue. My largest body of work “Memories of an Era, Reflections of Our Time” exhibited for a year in the spacious second floor gallery and is now on temporary loan to the Museum and available for traveling exhibitions.

I am an Algonquin resident and own Soldner Fine Art Studio located in the Lakeside Legacy ArtsPark in Crystal Lake, IL., where I can be found painting almost every day and exhibit regularly in the Sage and Dole Galleries. I love the Chicago’s vibrant art scene were I have the opportunity to show my work and be a part of the action.

A final word, I am always looking for new exhibition opportunities, please contact me if you are interested in exhibiting my work.

Jeanine Hill-Soldner

Fine Artist/ Educator

Soldner Fine Art Studio

Lakeside Legacy Arts Park

401 Country Club Rd.

Crystal Lake, IL 60014


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