Thursday, December 11, 2008

Power of Five Challenge #5: A Public Private Place

Much as Placemaking Chicago likes to stress accessibility being important to making a place, I think lots of us who like to ramble around Chicago want to know the cool hideaways, the spots somewhat off the beaten track.

The photo above is from one such hideaway. The Art House Studio in Pilsen is closer to the historic Heart of Italy strip at 24th and Oakley than it is to the bustling gallery scene along 18th east and west of Ashland. Outside it looks like just another pretty Chicago two-flat, but then you look in the garden apartment and see colors everywhere, like this:

The Art House is a space shared by Brazilian women artists living and working in Pilsen. Artist Patricia Peixoto says in addition to being part of events like Pilsen Open Studios, they have had their neighbors over for informal parties in the summertime. In this way, the Art House becomes both a hub for the immediate area and a bridge in and out of the neighborhood.

In October, Peixoto and longtime friend and colleague Magda Dejose showed off The White Garden, a set of peephole installations exploring femininity, and a set of paintings commemorating the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil. Like Colibri Gallery, the Art House hosts an event every fourth Saturday of the month. Theirs is an afternoon opening from 1 to 4 p.m. If you wanted to make a day of it, you could stitch a visit to their gallery together with a couple more great places, like stops at Tianguis and Golden Age, followed by a break at Cafe Mestizo and a leisurely dinner at Mundial Cocina Mestiza to keep you occupied until the fandango.

And that, my friends, is placemaking at its finest.

P.S. Since I cheated and gave you the same place twice earlier, I'm going to add a 5b with another space so you do get to see five cool Pilsen locales in this series. Stay tuned.

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