A familiar face for many in the West Chicago community, Ryan Hammer, co-owner of Kindred Coffee, has been announced as the art juror for the 2020 Art Banner Exhibit, Home.
All media are welcome, with no limitation to technique or subject matter, as long as it relates to the theme. Each selected design will be reproduced, at the City’s expense, on (h) 60 x (w) 30″vinyl street banners. Artists selected will receive credit on both the banner and in printed materials related to the exhibit. Additionally, they may submit a brief statement about their inspiration for inclusion in publicity materials. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2020. More information and a link to the online submission form may be found at www.westchicago.org by searching art banner exhibit.
The Cultural Arts Commission, which sponsors the annual public art exhibit, is delighted for Ryan’s involvement on multiple levels. His deeply rooted connection to West Chicago, his artistic abilities as evidenced by those who follow Kindred Coffee on social media, and his passionate desire to connect and promote the art community with residents and visitors on a regular basis at his welcoming gathering space at 148 W. Washington Street in historic downtown West Chicago, made the Commission’s choice an easy one this year.
“I’ve been living in or regularly visiting West Chicago since starting first-grade at Indian Knoll. That works out to roughly 32 of my 38 years living on this planet,” said Ryan. “The arts have been essential to my life here, and ever since the comic book characters I’d draw in grade school, I’ve been attempting to create works of art in one way or another, whether through the creation of songs, the crafting of poems and short stories in college, or the quirky social media work I do for Kindred Coffee.”
He admits it can be challenging to maintain the level of creative quirkiness folks have come to expect from Kindred Coffee’s online presence, which he describes as “creative and playful and funny and weird”, but he enjoys discovering new ways to creatively delight himself and others.
“Ryan and his business partners, his sister Sarah and brother-in-law Patrick Harms, have created an environment at Kindred Coffee where art flourishes,” said Rosemary Mackey speaking on behalf of the Commission. “His belief in the importance of the arts in building a healthy community cannot be overstated, which aligns also with the City’s vision.”
Last year the success of First Friday’s art events at Kindred Coffee proved the art niche runs deep in the community, with many local artists hosting receptions and sharing their work on the walls of Kindred’s Community Room. This collaboration with local artists from Gallery 200, People Made Visible, Gallery Theater, and the West Chicago City Museum has brought renewed energy and vibrancy to venues throughout the downtown through the monthly art offerings. The Commission hopes that these artist groups will encourage their membership to tap their sources of inspiration for the universal theme, Home, and submit work for consideration of the upcoming exhibit.
The theme is certainly one which resonates with Ryan. “Home can mean so many things to so many folks. For me, Home brings to mind the uniqueness and particularity of the places in which we make space for ourselves. Space that allows us freedom to move and think and feel and breathe and express and unfold. I’m excited to judge the submissions this year, and I look forward to seeing the many interpretations of Home that West Chicago and surrounding area artists will bring to this year’s art banner project,” he said.