In this week’s guest post, Rosalind of Farsighted Fly Girl takes us to an off-the-beaten-trail art tour of Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Enjoy the great read!
ART TOUR OF BRONZEVILLE, CHICAGO
Chicago supplies the stuff of dreams for visual art fans. From the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art to famed public art sculptures from the likes of Picasso and a thriving gallery scene, there’s something for everyone. Most visitors head toward the River North gallery district or the art tours downtown but for an art experience off the beaten path, head south to Bronzeville.
Roughly bordering Cermak Road to 47th Street, from the Dan Ryan to Lake Michigan, Bronzeville comprises just 31/2 miles. But the area once known as the Black Metropolis carries an influence well beyond its location. Blues, jazz and gospel developed and flourished in Bronzeville. Literary classics such as Native Son, A Raisin In The Sun and A Street In Bronzeville were all based on experiences in the neighborhood. After a long period of decline, the neighborhood is again enjoying a renaissance as a hip nucleus for culture and art. The last five years have brought a rush of new businesses and tourism initiatives but none stand out more than the strong art gallery scene.
One of my favorite galleries is Gallery Guichard, a jaw-dropping, three-floor structure with almond-colored brick and elegant picture windows that stream color and light. Gallery Guichard exists as a work of art itself. If you can get past 2,400 square feet of textured walls, cherry hardwood floors, floating wall panels and hand-crafted light fixtures, you’ll witness one of the most extensive collections of multicultural art in the city. Notable Chicago artists such as Makeba Kedem DuBose, Dayo Laoye and owner Andre Guichard hang their work in this space.
If it’s history you want, visit the Southside Community Art Center. Housed in a stately brownstone, this venerable center was dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1940 and stands as the country’s oldest African American art center. You can catch exhibits, auctions and art classes at the center regularly.
For a more global perspective, check out Faie African Art. Browse through sculpture, artifacts and masks representing Eastern, Western, Central and Southern regions of the African continent. Although all the galleries are close by each other, the free Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour offers shuttles between the galleries from 6PM-10PM every third Friday of the month.