If you're looking for artistic inspiration on this stretch of 47th street in Bronzeville, the Hidden Pearl Art Cafe may be the appropriate escape for you. The cafe, an L-shaped portion of the larger space known as The Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center, is a variable smattering of vibrant colors.
Four-top tiled mosaic tables offer freelance artists a space to work in while enjoying fair-trade teas. Adults and uniform-clad elementary school students enjoy the space equally, benefitting from free wi-fi as they talk to each other or tend to a business partner via cell phone.
Every conceivable inch of this space is covered in some form of art, whether it's for decoration or sale. Shelving units hold hand-sculpted torsos crafted by Black Pearl's art students. Other wall fixtures feature watercolor note cards, acrylic paintings and marble mosaic mirrors by Chicago artists such as Vickie Howard and Minnie Watkins.
For those moved to create—whether by caffeine or the ominous painted faces hanging from above that double as light fixtures—a red cart stands in the middle of the cafe, a kiosk of sorts holding paint kits, pencil sets, Little Black Pearl T-shirts and $5 natural soaps made by Chicago's own Enterprising Kitchen.
Anyone interested in exploring new local artists can take a stroll through the side extension of the cafe, which doubles as a gallery.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Nola Akiwowo