Woman Made Gallery and the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival

Neighborhood Gift Chain

On the weekend of July 29 through the 31st Woman Made Gallery (WMG) participated in the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival in Logan Square with our Neighborhood Gift Chain! Woman Made Gallery hosted the project in an activity tent where festival-visitors used art supplies to create their own personal art piece. After completion, each person came into the second tent where they exchanged their artwork for one made by someone else. Before leaving, each person posed for a photograph in front of our “From me to you – From you to me” backdrop holding the work they made to leave for someone else and the work they selected to take. The photos were printed out on the spot, and displayed on the outside wall of WMG’s amazing festival tent. 

WMG festival tent

The event was a monumental success and over 200 people participated in the Neighborhood Gift Chain! As a WMG intern and festival volunteer, I was astounded by the amount of creativity emanating from the WMG tent. People of all ages were eager to create works that ranged from small scale sculpture, paintings, drawings, and collages to everything in-between. We had an assortment of donated supplies, thanks to many contributors, and people found the most interesting ways to use objects such as sea-shells, doll heads, fabric, wire, and glitter.  As someone who makes art regularly, I found the most rewarding element of the event was hearing people say that this was the first time they have made art in years- and that they loved it. For those who were at the event, you all made such original work in such a short time- Don’t Stop, Keep Making Art!

Woman Made Gallery was blessed to have the support of Markus Giolas and WMG board member, Tammi Franke who donated the use of camera equipment, and a super-fast printer. Because of their donation we were able to print out photos in the tent right after we took them. As the weekend carried on our wall of photographs grew larger and larger, creating a visualization to our title “Neighborhood Gift Chain.” People had great fun re-visiting the tent and trying to find who took their artwork. We have since uploaded all the photos onto our facebook page and encourage you to tag-yourself and leave a comment on the photograph of whoever selected the artwork you made.

For me, the photographs demonstrate the importance of art events such as the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival by displaying the diverse group of people who participated. This free festival allowed for the larger Chicago community to collect and intermingle in Logan Square, support a range of arts organizations and individuals, and celebrate art inChicago! On a small scale, I felt like WMG’s gift chain reflected the larger tone of the weekend, which for me was about uniting over art.

festival-visitor making art piece

WMG was also blessed with the support of some incredible volunteers, who donated their weekend time to the gallery. We thank Ruby Thorkelson, WMG Gallery Coordinator, and tireless leader of the “Neighborhood Gift Chain” who worked the entire weekend all the way to the end of Sunday night with breaking down the walls of our tent.   It was a hot sunny weekend and we greatly appreciate the support of Nicole Weydert, Andrea Piekarczyk, Lyla Conrad, Kim Gust, Christen Calloway, Alex Lee, Meredith Lancaster and Monica Padilla. Thank you to everyone who came out to support us and we hope to see you at Woman Made Gallery soon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   -Kate Pollasch, Gallery Intern

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