It’s not that The Leigh Gallery wouldn’t work in another neighborhood, but it really fits the bill in Boys Town. In an area that welcomes cultural diversity, in the form of sex shops, multi-culti dining, bar dives, thrift shops, coffee hangs, and nightclubs, an art gallery that celebrates diversity makes sense. And it makes cents: most of the oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings sell for less than $2,000; the ceramic works, jewelry, fiber works, and sculptures on display are mostly priced below $300. Walking in to the space feels more like a small town experience than a big city one. Owner/director Jean Leigh welcomes visitors with a hello, and will chat about any artist without providing pressure that can be felt at downtown art galleries.
Though there is a wide range of types of art on display, the emphasis is on painting. A masterful ability to fuse colors makes Ann Powell's countryside landscapes enchanting. Another sight to see are the watercolors of Chicago landmarks and hot spots by Kathryn Trumbull Fimreite, who has designed maps for the Chicago marathon. The Leigh Gallery does not go the route of the curated or solo exhibition, so you can visit any time to catch the work of all 40 artists that the gallery represents. The work of these painters, sculptors, watercolorists, ceramicists, photographers, and jewelry makers are always on display. To sync with the Lakeview neighborhood’s summertime Pride festivities, rainbow flags are placed on the artworks of gay artists. How nice is that? The Leigh Gallery is proud of Lakeview; and surely Lakeview residents are proud of very lovable The Leigh Gallery.
Centerstage Reviewer: Joanne Hinkel