The West Side's newest art gallery and performance space is currently raising funds ahead of a soft opening scheduled for October.
Art West Gallery, 750 S. California Ave., is an outgrowth of Art West LLC., a collective of West Side artists founded by West Side native and visual artist Alexie Young.
Young, the executive director of the MLK Exhibit Center, 1550 S. Hamlin Ave., said that her two year tenure at the center grew into her starting the arts collective.
"My experience at the MLK Exhibit Center allowed me the space to grow more as an artist," she said. "And after activating that space two years ago, it organically presented more of an opportunity to support other creatives and artists by forming a collective — which is an opportunity to support other artists and creatives — and now finding a space on the West Side."
Young, 34, said that she hopes the space sparks some interest in the growing number of cultural institutions on the West Side.
"People usually go to Bronzeville or Hyde Park, but people don't know that we have a number of fine art galleries and cultural spaces on the West Side, including the MLK Exhibit Center," she said.
Last summer, Young coordinated an art crawl for art enthusiasts interested in touring some of those West Side cultural spaces. The initiative happened as Art West was growing its presence in the community, she said.
"Last year was the first time I presented Art West as a brand and we've been growing like crazy ever since," Young said.
Young said that the new Art West gallery will be funded through a $50,000 fundraising campaign, but that collective members have also thought about other ways to make the space financially sustainable.
"The gallery will be a mixed use venue with a strategy to serve as a performance space, artists exhibition, and artist hub," Young explained in a letter to supporters.
The gallery will have a soft launch from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 1. Tickets are $250. The launch will feature a live performance by musician Mara Love and food by executive chef Bruce Jenkins. The event hosts will follow local, state and federal COVID-19 guidelines, Young said. All ticket proceeds will go toward the campaign to fund the space.
On Oct. 2 and Oct. 3, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. both days, the gallery will have a series of events, including live music and an art show featuring the work of Young and other members of the collective. Tickets for Oct. 2 event are $20 while tickets for the Oct. 3 event are $25. COVID-19 guidelines will be followed at those events, as well, Young said.
Anyone interested in purchasing tickets to the opening events can email email@example.com or purchase them directly at artwestexclusive.eventbrite.com. Anyone who just wants to donate to Art West can do so by clicking here.
For more info on Art West, call Young at (312) 678-4418 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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