It was clearly important to all of them that self-reflection w¬as actually happening in a very safe space. That space allowed for connection making: many of the women, bonded as a result of the conversations, seeing that they had a lot in common, or discussing the impact of memories in constructing who they are now and what they want for themselves, their families, and their futures. – Teaching Artist Silvia Gonzalez
Woman Made Gallery is pleased to announce the 20 Neighborhoods exhibition opening with a reception on October 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. and on display through October 31 at 685 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago.
What began as a conversation about building the Woman Made Gallery community and the challenge of the seeming exclusivity of the art world has manifested into a truly special project within the city of Chicago. In celebration of Woman Made Gallery’s 20th Anniversary, the gallery has taken on the unique task of working within 20 different and vibrant neighborhoods throughout Chicago, many of them lacking in access to arts programming. To make this a reality, Woman Made Gallery partnered with twenty Chicago community-based, arts-based, and housing organizations to create 20 Neighborhoods: a workshop series and art exhibition based on Chicago women’s individual and collective experiences and aspirations for their homes, families, neighborhoods, communities, and city.
With the help of teaching artists, teaching assistants, partner organizations, interns, and many volunteers, 20 Neighborhoods has successfully introduced a diverse group of individuals to an array of artistic skills and abilities, as well as created space for new conversations on self, home, community, and city. Since June, Woman Made Gallery has hosted found-object assemblage sculpture workshops for participating women, and in some cases youth, at each organization’s location, which will culminate in an exhibition of all the participants’ art pieces, writing, additional project documentation, and a group-created site-specific installation at Woman Made Gallery during Chicago Artists Month in October 2012.
The overarching goal of the 20 Neighborhoods Project has been to use the space and resources of Woman Made Gallery to build an artistic community among women and youth from different neighborhoods throughout Chicago, with a specific focus on self and community empowerment. By offering a safe space for participating artists to explore themselves and the community they live in, many involved in the project have developed new insights into how they would like to see themselves, their families, and their communities grow stronger and healthier.
The 20 Neighborhood Project is supported by grants from the Efroymson Family Foundation and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and by individual donations.