Owner Robin Rios keeps her own artwork, two chessboards and a series of digitally altered CAT scans hidden away in the back corner of her two-story gallery. "Kids come first," she says of the 19 artists under her roof. The gallery runs a revolving show with featured artists bringing in new work every month for six consecutive months. This enables her patrons to see the artists "continually working on their craft...how they're creating personal relationships."
Typical showings include Vincent Chiaramonte's portraits of heads of imaginary states, Dennis O'Malley's aqua tint cityscapes, Agnieszka Kulon's photos of a child eating cake, and Irina Dinkevich's noir oils. All are Chicago artists and not of the sort of commercial grade variety you might find on Printer's Row or Michigan Avenue. A few you might be able to hang in your dining room, like Lawrence Colburn's cherry blossoms and Judith Barath's vibrant landscapes. But for the most part, this eclectic mix of up and comers suits the local neighborhood, which is a patchwork of grit and ethnic identity.
When Rios first moved in, only two other galleries laid claim to South Halsted. Now more than a dozen call it home. She's happy for the change: Her artists need to eat. For now, Rios tends to her flock and offers custom framing, art classes and graphic design. Classes include three-hour art sessions (on Saturdays for eight weeks) and a 10-hour digital art class. Past sessions include Landscapes in Acrylic and Charcoal Rendering.
Centerstage Reviewer: David Rosenstock