Despite the many cold and gloomy Chicago days on the horizon, a gallery in River West is looking on the bright side with a winter-themed exhibition. Organizers said they hope to give the community a reason to celebrate the season through interactive art and reflective storytelling.
Among the 30 artists on display in “Winter Dreams” are five students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).
“I’m about building community,” SAIC student Jackie Patino said. “And this space has done that, especially during the coldest times when people are traveling and disoriented.”
For her first official art show, Patino created a reflective piece that celebrates both her ethnicity and winter dreams.
“I had an idea for the painting about posadas, which are these Latin American festivities that happen around Christmas and fit perfectly with ‘Winter Dreams,’” Patino said.
“This story is about me in the present looking at past memories and influencing them with new memories,” Patino continued. “… I hope this piece shows how muddy things are. Nothing is black and white with trauma and healing.”
Beyond the walls stands an interior environment, created by designer Pamela Maurer.
“I’m approaching it like an artist might approach a portrait,” Maurer said, “but I'm working within a three-dimensional space … creating environments that evoke emotion and take people on a journey like a painting on canvas might.”
There’s also some fun to enhance the interactive experience and make it approachable. Maurer said the exhibit is “giving someone a destination and reason and an experience that has nothing to do with the art necessarily, but also uplifts and supports the art.”
Frigid temperatures aren’t dissuading visitors.
“It was really great to see the opening,” Patino said. “Just how many people who love art and are willing to go through the cold to see the art says a lot about the future of art to me.”
“Winter Dreams” runs through Feb. 18 at A Very Serious Gallery, 673 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.