2009 – The arts are alive and well in West Chicago, Illinois! A ten person Cultural Arts Commission was established by the City of West Chicago in January 1993 with the mission of enriching the lives of all West Chicago residents through the active support of cultural arts activities in the City. The Commission sponsors public art programs, workshops, art exhibits, community art projects, and other special events. It also supports an increasingly popular downtown art destination ~ Gallery 200.
There is always something new at West Chicago’s Gallery 200, located at 200 Main Street in the heart of the city’s historic district. Fast becoming a haven for art lovers as a quality destination for buying and browsing great local art and for enjoying art related events such as featured artist opening receptions, art talks and workshops, it fits well in a community that is building its niche in the arts.
Gallery 200 opened in December of 2005 and has had countless local artists exhibit their work. Currently it has a membership of more than 30 artists. New members are always welcome.
Over the past winter, the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission invited artists with a West Chicago connection to submit original flower-themed artwork for consideration for the new Community Art Banner Project. The sixty plus entries were anonymous when judged by Jesse Felix, Superintendent of Parks at the West Chicago Park District; Anni Holm, West Chicago based, internationally exhibited artist and Director at Orleans Street Gallery; and former West Chicago Museum Registrar Brian Reis, now Assistant Curator at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Ten unique pieces were selected and reproduced and are being exhibited on the lampposts on Main Street in downtown West Chicago through September 2008. Featured artists include: Carrie Auwaerter of St. Charles, Catie Barron of West Chicago, Grant Clifford of Wheaton, Nino Despota of West Chicago, John Rakow of West Chicago, Mandy Rakow of West Chicago, James A. Schnaitman of West Chicago, Kathy Steere of West Chicago, Samantha Weibler of West Chicago and Joe Weibler of West Chicago.
So successful was the project’s first year, the Cultural Arts Commission has already announced plans for next year’s Faces themed Community Art Banner Project. Applications will be available at Gallery 200 and the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street, West Chicago, Illinois 60185; by telephone at (630) 231-3376; or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.