A few weekends ago, I was tooling around the south side on a positively beautiful Saturday afternoon: sun, autumn chill, colorful leaves, and . . . hold it, are those gig posters wheat-pasted to that wall?
Public Works, a Wicker Park art and design gallery run by Chicago-based creative agency Someoddpilot, has made my sweater-weather season even sweeter by creating “The Fan Club,” an outdoor exhibit of posters by eight local artists and graphic designers. The gallery asked each participant to create an original piece of art in honor of a Chicago music venue, and the resulting prints have been pasted up in ten spots around the north and south sides. The posters include homages to the likes of the Hideout, the Hungry Brain, and the Promontory, and they’ll be on display until December 22. You can find a map of all the locations at the Public Works website. The exhibit is intended to raise awareness of (and funds for) the Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL). The city’s music venues face an existential crisis due to mandated COVID closures and paltry government aid—none can operate normally, and many can’t operate at all.
Those of you who like to post walking selfies to Instagram and Facebook should be on notice: for every photo of the exhibit posted to social media with the hashtag #thefanclubchicago (whether you’re in it or not), Someoddpilot and Public Works will donate $1 to CIVL. Shirts and limited-run posters are for sale at Someoddpilot’s website; proceeds from both directly benefit the venues and CIVL. The exhibit features art from Bill Connors (who created a poster for the Empty Bottle), Whitney Colley (the Whistler), Nathan Hanley (the Promontory), Julio Ruiz-Santana (Subterranean), Ashley King (the Hungry Brain), Alexa Viscius (the Hideout), Charlotte Croy Hudson (Thalia Hall), and Joi Fulton (Sleeping Village).
The Reader continues to accept suggestions for posters to feature in this space each week—and given the precariousness of in-person concerts these days, fantasy gig posters remain fair game. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information and submission. Even though a few music venues are back in business in a limited way, staffers who’ve lost work and tips in recent months or who can’t yet return to their jobs still need your support—here’s our list of fundraisers. And don’t forget record stores! The Reader published a list of local stores that will let you shop remotely.
ARTISTS: Whitney Colley, Bill Connors, Joi Fulton, Nathan Hanley, Charlotte Croy Hudson, Ashley King, Julio Ruiz-Santana, and Alexa Viscius
GIG: “The Fan Club” exhibition, on display now through Tue 12/22 at ten outdoor locations in Chicago
EXHIBITION INFO: publicworksgallery.com
NPO TO KNOW: Chicago Independent Venue League