Artisans 21 Gallery Founded in the 60s by craft-sale refugees who wanted a more permanent venue, this nonprofit co-op is owned and operated by its member artists (currently there are 21 of them, and they’re accepting applications). The gallery, which sells arts and crafts including glasswork, paintings, ceramics, and textiles, was located at Harper Court until the shopping center’s sale to the U. of C. forced it out last year.
DOVA Temporary Gallery The U. of C.’s Department of Visual Arts opened this temporary gallery two years ago as a stopgap until the Reva and David Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts is completed; it shows work by grad students, undergrads, and alumni as well as hosting events. The next show, opening 3/6, will be work by Matthew Metzger.
Faie African Art This two-year-old gallery owned by Faye Edwards, who became a fan of the art of Africa while traveling there, carries both traditional masks and sculptures and fine art by contemporary African, African-American, and Haitian artists. Edwards hosts discussion groups on topics related to African art on the fourth Wednesday of every month from 6 to 8 PM.
57th Street Art Fair Silversmith Mary Louise Womer established this community art fair in 1948 with 51 local artists; since then it’s become a juried show that boasts 250 participants from all over North America and includes work in ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, sculpture, painting, photography, printmaking, and more. Sat 6/5, 11 AM-6 PM, Sun 6/6, 10 AM-5 PM, 57th between Kenwood and Kimbark, 773-493-3247, 57thstreetartfair.org.
Harper Court Arts Council Founded in 1990 to promote “artistic activity” in Hyde Park and Kenwood, the council has since expanded its mission to include economic development. It owned Harper Court until 2008, when it sold the shopping center to the U. of C. The council issues grants to local organizations and groups that in the past couple years have included the Experimental Station, the 57th Street Children’s Book Fair, the Hyde Park School of Dance, and the Renaissance Society.
Home Gallery Artists Laura Shaeffer and Andrew Nord started this “ongoing experimental living and exhibition space” in their home in September 2007, and they’ve hosted an art show every couple months since. The next show opens 5/8 and will feature drawings and sketchbooks by Anders Nilsen, Amanda Vahamaki, Michelangelo Setola, Mike Brehm, Nat Russell, and Doug Shaeffer; the gallery will also host Art House Co-op’s Sketchbook Library project, a collection of sketchbooks by artists from all over the world, 5/7-5/9.
Hyde Park Alliance for Arts & Culture A one-year-old nonprofit devoted to promoting the idea of Hyde Park as a cultural destination, HyPa (as it’s called for short) works with about 40 neighborhood orgs to “enhance cultural opportunities” and support the arts in the area. It produces the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, maintains a Web site that links to local cultural organizations and event info, and sends out a monthly events e-mail.
Hyde Park Art Center This 70-year-old nonprofit advertises itself as the “oldest alternative contemporary art venue in Chicago.” It focuses on local and emerging artists, often hosting half a dozen exhibits at a time. Current shows include oil paintings by Andreas Fischer, a site-specific installation by Bob Peters and David Schutter, photography and sculpture by Aspen Mays, and figurative/landscape work by Stan Chisholm. See also Education and Volunteering.
Hyde Park Historical Society Officially founded in 1978 after several years in the making, this organization records the history of Hyde Park, preserves artifacts and documents, and educates people about the neighborhood’s heritage. The small building where it’s located, originally a waiting room for cable cars, hosts various exhibits and programs. Photographs of historic Drexel Boulevard, along with a catalog of information about the original owners, architects, and history of the buildings, will be on display through the end of the summer. In early June they’ll show the best Hyde Park-related student projects from the Chicago Metro History Fair.
Little Black Pearl This Kenwood nonprofit introduces kids and teenagers to art and helps them develop entrepreneurial skills. It’s also home to Hidden Pearl Gallery, which hosts rotating exhibitions by a broad range of artists, and a store that sells work by resident artists and students. The current exhibit, which runs through 3/20, features paintings, sculpture, and prints “that embody the history, culture, and art of barbering in the Hyde Park Hair Salon.” See also Volunteering.
Museum of Science and Industry Housed in the restored Palace of Fine Arts building from the 1893 World’s Fair, Chicago’s science museum has grown to include nearly 14 acres of exhibits, including the reproduction of a coal mine that wowed ’em when it opened in 1933. A German U-boat captured during World War II and a chick hatchery that’s part of a genetics exhibit have both been at the museum since the 50s. More recent additions include “You! The Experience,” covering health and wellness, and “Smart Home,” a functional three-story eco-friendly house, which reopens 3/4 after a remodel aimed at empty nesters. Opening on 3/18 is “Science Storms,” a new permanent exhibit that re-creates tornadoes, lightning, tsunamis, avalanches, and other natural phenomena.
The Opportunity Shop A “transitory art project” by Home Gallery founder Laura Shaeffer, the Op Shop launched last November as a temporary gallery and performance space in a vacant building (on 55th near Lake Park Avenue) that a realty company let her lease for a nominal fee. That incarnation closed at the end of December; the U. of C. has provided space for the next one in the old Hollywood Video at 1530 E. 53rd. It’ll open in April and continue through the end of May and will include workshops, performances, and site-specific installations.
Oriental Institute Museum Founded in 1919 by James Henry Breasted, the first American to get a degree in Egyptology, the U. of C.’s Oriental Institute houses laboratories, libraries, and scientific and teaching staff focused on the ancient Near East. The museum’s permanent collection includes artifacts, photographs, and excavation records; there are also rotating special exhibits. The current show, up through 8/29, is “Pioneers to the Past: American Archaeologists in the Middle East 1919–20,” which follows Breasted’s travels through Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Renaissance Society This contemporary art gallery, started at the U. of C. to “encourage a greater understanding of culture,” has gone from Picasso, Brancusi, and Miro in the 1920s and ’30s to Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, and Jeff Koons in the 1980s to Francis Alÿs and Paul Chan today. It also sponsors concerts, film screenings, and lectures. And education director and associate curator Hamza Walker was recently awarded the $100,000 Ordway Prize for arts writers and curators. The current show, up through 4/11, features drawings, paintings, short films, and photos by Matt Saunders.
Robie House One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s best-known buildings, this Prairie School landmark celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Events this month include a Geek’s Guide to Wright’s Robie House, a tour focusing on Wright’s advanced building and design technology (Sat 3/13, 10 AM); LEGO Architects, where kids can use LEGOs to design 3D models of a floor plan (Sat 3/20, 10 AM); and Engage with Artifacts, a “look at architecture and design through the lens of an historic book and architectural fragments” (Sun 3/21, 9 AM). Guided tours are offered every day the house is open.
Smart Museum of Art The U. of C.’s art museum, founded in 1974, is broad in scope: its permanent collection comprises more than 10,000 objects “spanning five millennia of both Western and Eastern civilizations.” Specialties include small-scale bronze sculptures (Renaissance through 20th century), German and central European expressionist graphics, and East Asian art. The current exhibition is “The Darker Side of Light: Arts of Privacy, 1850–1900,” featuring prints, drawings, illustrated books, and small sculptures by Felix Bracquemond, Max Klinger, Kathe Kollwitz, James Ensor, and others, up through 6/13.