Fun weekend art fair with a twist


Photo courtesy of artists participating in a virtual art fair.
Photo courtesy of artists participating in a virtual art fair.


A small group of award-winning artists who show internationally, are in galleries and exhibit at some of the United States’ major art fairs, have cobbled together a virtual art fair that airs Oct.23-25.

The fun weekend begins with joining them for a drink on Friday similarly to the opening of a gallery show. Then,  they continue with visits to their studios on Saturday and Sunday.

As an example, meet California wildlife artist Anne London and see the works of Chicago artist Darren Jones. They are just two of the artists you get to know at  Youtube/watch/artfair.



In the galleries


Work of Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People at Wrightwood 659. (Photo courtesy of the architect, Vitra Design Museum and Wrightwood 659)
Work of Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People at Wrightwood 659. (Photo courtesy of the architect, Vitra Design Museum and Wrightwood 659)

New Art Dealers Alliance

NASA is holding Chicago Gallery Open, a new, hybrid, online-offline event Sept 30-Oct. 4, 2020 of in-person and virtual visits to Chicago galleries, artist spaces and nonprofit art organizations.



Check out the works of Jake Trovli online or at MMG on North Paulia Street. The exhibit is Jake Troyli: Don’t Forget to Pack a Lunch!

MoniqueMeloche is at 451 N Paulina Street Chicago, IL (312) 243-2129.


Weinberg/Newton Gallery

Weinberg/Newton Gallery is working with the American Civil Liberties Union on the panel discussion “Art and Social Progress: Creating a Better World, Oct. 14, 7-8 p.m. CT.

The event complements the gallery’s current exhibition, “Anthem” which can be viewed online and at the gallery’s storefront windows, 688 N. Milwaukee Ave., through Dec. 10, 2020.

The event will contain Chicago area visual and performing artists  who use art to address social justice issues. The second of a three-part virtual event series called Vote Like Your Rights Depend On It: 2020 Election Series, the program is free but requires registration.  Visit Action/webformartand socialjustice.


Wrightwood 659

The fairly new, upscale gallery, Wrightwood 659, is featuring Balkrishna-Doshi: Architecture for the People,  through Dec. 12, 2020. The exhibition is in partnership with Vitra Design Museum of Germany.

A Pritzker Prize laureate, the renowned architect and urban planner has pioneered modern architecture in his home country of India.  The exhibit is a retrospective showcasing how his projects reflect local culture,  while adapted to  nature and resources. Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People is sold out this week but tWrightwood tickets are available Oct. 8-10 and for future dates.

The gallery is at 659 W. Wrightwood Chicago, IL  For questions call (773) 437-6601 or visit Info/wrightwood.




Two in person and one virtual art now in Chicago

Visit Monet exhibit and maybe one you don't know at the Art Institute of Chicago. (J Jacobs photo)
Visit Monet exhibit and maybe one you don’t know at the Art Institute of Chicago. (J Jacobs photo)


Expo Chicago

Normally, and we all are wondering if life will return to the old normal, art collectors would be elbow to elbow down at Navy Pier as they perused choice works shown by upscale galleries at the International exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art.

Known as Expo Chicago, the popular art gathering is now scheduled to return in person April 8-11, 2021. But for 2020, the show and its educational programs are virtual and are called Exhibition Weekend Alternative. Plus ,the event will showcase Chicago.

Set for Sept. 25-27, it will feature Chicago-based exhibits, artist programs and curatorial projects through virtual tours and discussions. There will also be opportunities for custom viewing and sales. The platform is provided by HOOK which connects collectors and galleries.

The platform is provided by HOOK which connects collectors and galleries.

For more information visit ExpoChicago/ExhibitgionWeekend/Alternative.


Art Institute of Chicago

After delaying the highly anticipated Monet exhibit until good protocols could be in place, the Art Institute opened “Monet and Chicago” Sept 5. It will be up through Jan. 19, 2021.

Members have access the first hour of any museum day, everyone must wear a mask and social distancing is in place with arrows and the revised spaces set for each picture.

Museum goers know that Art Institute is internationally recognized for its French Impressionist collection. However, they may not know that Claude Monet was well received in Chicago when he first showed outside France and that influential Chicagoans started collecting his works early in the 1890s.Thus the title of the current show.

Among his patrons were Bertha and Potter Palmer (yes, the Palmer House) who amassed 90 of his works including many of the “Stacks of Wheat” paintings by 1901.

The Art Institute which became the first American museum to purchase a Monet (1903) had also been the first US museum to hold the artist’s first solo show in the Us. “20 Works by Claude Monet (March 1895).

The exhibit is by timed ticket. So plan in advance to see it. The Art Institute is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information visit


Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Several exhibits opened at the MCA in July including the very appropriate “Just Connect” which closes Nov. 8 and “Alien vs. Citizen” which includes a Kerry James Marshall work and closes Feb. 21, 2021..The museum is closed Monday-Thursday. Tickets are timed so plan in advance. For more information visit MCAChicago.


Some art fairs still happening

Port Clinton Art Festival downtown Highland Park. (J Jacobs photo)
Port Clinton Art Festival downtown Highland Park. (J Jacobs photo)

Browsing tents and tables of jewelry, pottery, art glass, paintings and photos is still going on in some towns with a slightly different format. It’s also happening virtually.

The Port Clinton Art Festival, the mega fair that usually takes over at least four blocks of downtown Highland Park, will be back the last weekend of August. But in the 2020 year of the pandemic, look for it at about a quarter of its size with about 50 artists lining one block of St. Johns Avenue on the east side of the train station.

Taking a protocol page from Chicago’s popular destinations, the Port Clinton fair will have timed tickets. They can be obtained through Evanbrite/PortClintonArtWalk.

Port Clinton is among several fairs operated by Amy Amdur as the more than 30-year-old company of Amdur Productions.

To see what other art fairs  will be on the docket visit AmdurProductions/Festivals. To see art for sale from these and other artists visit Art Zipper/Festivals.


Riverwalk as a recreation and art destination


Radiance of Being mural by Kate Lynn Lewis. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago))
Radiance of Being mural by Kate Lynn Lewis. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)


If looking for an outdoor destination, consider Chicago’s Riverwalk, a 1.25 mile-long path along the Chicago River from Lake Street on the west down to Lake Michigan’s lake front on the east.

There you will find plenty of artwork to photo and put on Facebook, the Community Marketplace area open on weekends with the Shop Small Chicago place carrying local products and some café’s and other vendors to visit by appointment.

Be sure to see and photo  “Radiance of Being” and “The People In Your Neighborhood” organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) in collaboration with the Department of Assets, Information and Services (AIS).

“Radiance of Being”

Located at the Community Marketplace area between Michigan Avenue and Wabash Street,  look for artist Kate Lynn Lewis’ The Radiance of Being” mural series that celebrates the city’s Art Deco architectural style.

Among the structures saluted are the Palmer House, Palmolive Building, Chicago Motor Club, Adler Planetarium and the St. Jane.

“The People In Your Neighborhood”

Further west at the Confluence area near Lake and Franklin Streets, look for street artist Dont Fret’s “The People in Your Neighborhood.” It consists of 55 paintings that include such folks as Gino Gambarota who is the chef at Manny’s Deli.

Riverwalk information: serous recreational use by runners, walkers and cyclists tends to be 6 to 10 a.m. followed by what is called the passive recreation of sightseers and business visitors. Face coverings are required.


Jodie Jacobs


More Chicago museums ready to reopen


Art Institute of Chicago (Photo by J. Jacobs)
Art Institute of Chicago
(Photo by J. Jacobs)

The Field and Museum of Contemporary Art are re-opening July 24 (See Around Chicago visits the Museum Scene). Now the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry will be ready to welcome back visitors a week later.

Art Institute of Chicago

To celebrate, the museum is offering free admission to Illinois residents July 30-Aug 3, 2020. The public will need to get tickets in advance, however the first hour will be reserved to members each day.

What’s there

The El Greco: Ambition and Defiance will be up through Sept. 7 and won’t need special tickets.

Bauhaus Chicago: Design in the City stays through Sept. 21.

Malangatana: Mozambique Modern  opens July 30 and continues through Nov. 15, 2020.

Toulouse-Lautrec and the Celebrity Culture of Paris that opened just before the pandemic closed the museum, will stay through Jan. 31, 2021.

Coming: Monet and Chicago will open Sept 5 and go to Jan. 18, 2021.


Museum of Science and Industry

Opening Aug. 1, MSI will have free admission thru Aug 14. Most exhibits will be open. Among those that will still be closed because of social distancing protocols are U 505 Submarine and the Coal Mine.


Around Chicago visits the museum scene


Putting together Maximo the Titanosaurin the Field Museum. (J Jacobs photo)
Putting together Maximo the Titanosaur in the Field Museum. (J Jacobs photo)

Put field trips of the in-person kind back on the calendar. Now that the city has moved to Phase 4, Chicago’s great museums and tourist destinations are opening their doors after about four months of living in virtual YouTube segments.

Note their new hours and days. Some will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Most have timed tickets. Some have shortened hours. All will be following protocols of social distancing, wearing masks and staying within 25 % capacity. Many will have hand sanitizing stations and one-way walkway arrows.

Here is just a sampling of what to visit now and the week of July 24.


All sorts of interesting creatures of different colors, patterns and movements are at the Shedd. (Photo courtesy of Shedd Aquarium.
All sorts of interesting creatures of different colors, patterns and movements are at the Shedd. (Photo courtesy of Shedd Aquarium.)

What’s open

Chicago Architecture Center

CAC, 111 E Wacker Drive, has been welcoming visitors to its skyscraper gallery upstairs and its vast panorama model of Chicago buildings in its main-floor gallery since July 3, It had already started with Chicago neighborhood tours where guests met their docents on location on June 20. Now CAC has added several tours that start from its building including the popular Architecture River Cruise, Chicago Architecture: A Walk Through Time, and Must See Chicago.

Because the tours are following strict Chicago and state guidelines, they are limited in size. “They fill fast,” said CAC Communications Director Zachary Whittenburg.

CAC is worth a stop just to see how it handles the Chicago Fire and what new buildings are in its panorama and upstairs.

“The Center’s being closed meant we were able to completely update and improve the exhibits. Walk ins are OK. It’s not a problem. We’re not at capacity. We have 10,000 square feet and there are not as many tourists this summer,” said Whittenburg.

Shedd Aquarium

Sitting in the middle of the Chicago Museum Campus at 1200 S. Lake shore Drive, the Shedd Aquarium reopened July 3. Timed tickets needed so plan ahead.. For info and map of routes and exhibits visit Shedd /plan visit.



Apsáalooke Women and Warriors exhibit (Field Museum photo by John Weinstein)
Apsáalooke Women and Warriors exhibit (Field Museum photo by John Weinstein)

What’s coming

Field Museum

The first building on the Museum campus at 1400 S. Lake shore Drive, the Field opens to members July 17 and to the public on July 24. Get tickets ahead for the date and time you want. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday, hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Use the East entrance to enter but you can leave through the East, North and south exits. (Illinois healthcare workers, teachers, and first responders have free admission and their families receive Chicago admission prices, July 24–August 9).

Visit dinosaurs upstairs in the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet and do Ancient Egypt by going through a three-story tomb (available with general admission). But save time for the extraordinary new  Apsáalooke Women and Warriors exhibit in the main level’s special show space (requires an All-pass ticket).

Curated by Nina Sanders, an Apsáalooke  (Ahp-SAH-luh-guh)  scholar, and Alaka Wali, Field Curator of North American Anthropology, the exhibit had its opening ceremony March 13, then closed until this week due to the pandemic.

“Now we’re ready to welcome visitors to this really vibrant exhibit,” said Janet Hong, Apsáalooke Field Project Manager. “At this time in the U.S. we need cultural awareness more than ever,” she said.

Although the Field has had several Apsáalooke, (also known as the Crow Nation) cultural materials that have been studied and researched by scholars, it wasn’t until recently that the Nation’s elders and leaders gave permission for them to be displayed, according to Hong.

“Most of the material has rarely been on display,” said Hong.

She noted that Sanders was an instrumental link to the Crow Nation and worked with cultural advisers in addition to bringing in current voices and material.

“I really think people will enjoy this,” said Hong. (Apsáalooke Women and Warriors closes April 4, 2021 then travels to other museums)


Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Located at 220 E. Chicago Ave., MCA visitors are welcomed back July 24 with a free admission policy through August but tickets are needed so make online reservations. Just note that hours and days have been changed to Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the first hour limited to seniors and people at increased risk.

What to expect: Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago has been extended to September 27, 2020, Chicago filmmaker Deborah Stratman’s has an exhibition on her film The Illinois Parables, that includes a re-creation of the WFMT radio studio of Studs Terkel with a selection of his celebrated interviews. There is also Just Connect, an exhibition on how the pandemic has made us more aware of our desire to connect, and how we depend on our communities and families for a sense of belonging.

Jodie Jacobs


Two interesting COVID directed experiences


Art Institute's popular painting by Georges Seurat . (J Jacobs photgo)
Art Institute’s popular painting by Georges Seurat . (J Jacobs photgo)


Chicago’s theater companies have been inviting audiences to watch productions on line as a way to raise needed funds to stay in business while COVID-19 has shuttered stages and in-person experiences. Citadel Theatre has found a different, fun way (sort of like a movie drive in) to enjoy a program.

Museums and other Chicago destinations have also suffered financial losses from closed doors. Youngsters and their families have also been deprived of popular places to visit. To help with the latter issue, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is journeying out to some of the city’s museums in virtual field trips geared to the whole family. They have been fun and enlightening. So go on, take a virtual field trip with her.

Outdoor Cabaret

Citadel Theatre, a Lake Forest-based equity production company, has found a new way to put on a theater experience in line with Sate and national guidelines. Audiences are invited to watch and hear one-hour matinee performances at the suburb’s Gorton Community Center Parking lot while sitting comfortably and safely in their cars.

Cabaret dates are June 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 1 and 3 p.m. at 400 E. Illinois Rd., Lake Forest.

Tickets are considered donations and must be bought in advance because of limited parking space. Entrance is on Illinois Road, exit is at McKinley Road. Community Center facilities (washrooms) will not be available.

For tickets and more information visit Citadeltheatre/cabaret.


Hit Play Chicago goes to the Art Institute

The world renown museum is the next stop on the city field trip series that visited the Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art and the DuSable Museum of African American History.

It’s a chance to visit (or revisit) a famous painting, hear about an upcoming block-buster exhibition and see works that might become favorites.

Visit HitPlayChicago to see the video that went live on Wednesday and will be replayed on WTTW on Friday and Monday. Scroll down to visit past field trip destinations.

Jodie Jacobs

Three experiences to try while waiting for Chicago to reopen

Lyric Opera House on North Wacker Drive (J Jphoto)
Lyric Opera House on North Wacker Drive (J Jphoto)

Some of us miss seeing a stage performance in person. Some miss going to the Lyric for a grand opera. Other folks miss visiting Chicago’s world class museums. The following opportunities hit these three targets while sitting at home.


Citadel Theatre has a unique experience scheduled for 6 p.m. May 21. Viewers register for what is called “The Defamation Experience.” It begins with a 70 minute film that is a one-act courtroom drama. Then there is the Deliberation. You and your fellow jury members deliberate the case on Zoom to decide the outcome.

After the deliberation and verdict, expert facilitators lead a brief post-show discussion.

Registration is free. A zoom meeting link is provided upon registration.


Hear and watch an opera segment, lecture or tour the Lyric Opera of Chicago building. The Lyric has a weekly newsletter available on its blog. Here is one aria, many audiences will find familiar.

“La donna è mobile” (“Woman is fickle”) is from the fall of 2017 performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto featuring Matthew Polenzani as The Duke. It comes in the third act where Maddalena (Zanda Švēde) flirts with the Duke.

For more Lyric gems visit LyricOpera/lately.


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been taking field trips to the city’s exceptional institutions so that the rest of us staying home can visit these places virtually.

Each field trip shows up on line on Wednesdays and then on PBS’ WTTW on Friday and replayed the following Monday.

This week she visits the National Museum of Mexican Art. To join her go to hitplayChicago. Founded in 1987, the museum is a very special cultural destination in the Pilsen neighborhood.

To see the last two field trips scroll down to the Shedd and the Field Museum.

Jodie Jacobs

Related: Dazzling voices seduced lyric audiences



Visit three famed Art Institute paintings on a guided tour


Visit favorite works and maybe one you don't know at the Art Institute of Chicago. (J Jacobs photo)
Visit favorite works and maybe one you don’t know at the Art Institute of Chicago. (J Jacobs photo)

If you visit the Art Institute of Chicago do you go to a favorite artist’s gallery or a favorite painting? For lots of visitors it is Georges Seurat’s 1884″A Sunday On La Grande Jatte.” Stephen Sondheim even wrote a musical about it called “Sunday in the Park With George.”

Since the Art Institute has temporarily shut its doors to physical visits it has started the Essentials Tour Series so you can visit some of its works online in videos with the museum’s curators. Seurat’s famous painting is among them.

When looking at each of the three examples mentioned here consider the use of movement or its lack, colors and what stories are told. Archibold John Motley, Jr. whose “Nightlife” is in the series has said that a painting should tell a story. So what stories do you see?

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

Delve into the painting and Seurat’s pointillism style with Gloria Groom, curator and chair of European Painting and Sculpture. Close up, you see dots of color. Further back the dots form figures. The painting broke new ground in the use of complementary colors. The work has also generated stories about the figures depicted.


Move from the camera-shot style poses of Seurat’s painting to the action-packed, jazzy movements in Archibald John Motley Jr.’s 1943 “Nightlife.” It depicts a Bronzeville jazz club on Chicago’s South Side. So much is going on that it would be easy to miss the liquid spilling from a harried waiter’s tray. As with Seurat’s paintings you would likely recognize Motley’s style if you saw his other works without being told the artist’s name. In this video, former AIC Curator of American Art Judith Barter goes talks about the subject and the colors used.


When seeing the “Nightlife” video you learn from Barter that Motley may have been inspired to do a night scene after viewing Edward Hopper’s intriguing “Nighthawks.” However, Hopper’s late night scenario appears miles apart from Motley’s Chicago jazz scene unless it is considered as what might be going on in diners somewhere in the country. In this case, it’s possibly in Philadelphia give the Phillie cigar sign above the diner.  Here, the viewer is outside the scene looking in. Barter discusses the color choices and the lack of a noticeable entryway.

Jodie Jacobs