WBEZ | the arts http://www.wbez.org/tags/arts-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Something out of nothing: creativity and the Chicago fashion scene http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-02/something-out-nothing-creativity-and-chicago-fashion-scene-105395 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Remi.jpg" style="height: 477px; width: 620px;" title="" /></p><p>Creativity is not a matter of place. And yet, when we talk about creative scenes in Chicago, we often talk about the ways in which the city lacks rather than what the city can provide. It is a common argument, one that is framed around the pursuit of music, of visual art, of writing. But this argument fails to acknowledge the ways in which limitations can govern our decisions. For the Chicago creator, it is a matter less about opportunities and more about the self. What can one create out of nothing? How far can one push one&rsquo;s self without the support, the resources, or the market to color their frame of knowledge?</p><p>For young fashion designers in the city, this creates perhaps an even tougher challenge than one struggling in the art or music worlds. Chicago lacks the media resources, fabric sources, production factories, retail stores, and history that exists in a city like New York. But as in any creative pursuit, the disadvantages also provide a chance to experiment with one&rsquo;s work and develop without set rules or paths in line.</p><p>&ldquo;In New York, the industry is there, the track is in place,&rdquo; said Liz Patelski, one of two designers behind the new Chicago-based label <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Remi-Canarie/281772398559953">Remi Canarie</a>. &ldquo;To be able to be out of the NY scene, yet still be a part of it &hellip; it allows us to be in this creative bubble.&rdquo; This creative bubble has proven successful in the development of the line which mixes the high construction of menswear with softer, more traditionally feminine fabrics and cuts.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rack.jpg" title="" /></div><p>Remi Canarie is more than just a passion project from two young and creative local designers. It is also a coastal challenge, one that asks whether or not the high-design of New York, London, or Paris, can be accomplished in a city that &ldquo;works.&rdquo; Although young at ages 24 and 25 respectively, Patelski and co-designer Lisa Panza create wares that are smart, sophisticated, and beautifully-constructed. The two met at the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) and credit the school for providing a support system that emphasizes the importance of design and gives students the freedom to pursue conceptual work. It is only in a city like Chicago where two young designers can eschew the typical path of a young designer (internships, assistant design positions) and instead make something of their own.</p><p>&ldquo;In my mind, my end goal was to have my own line, so why not work toward that for the next two years?&rdquo; asked Panza. Panza and Patelski did not create in a vacuum. Both are skilled designers with a background rich in awards and experience. During her time at SAIC, Panza won the Gladys V. Pick Scholarship, Nick Cave Award, The Walk Scholarship, and The Menswear Award for her talents.Patelski worked in New York City under CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, Cushnie et Ochs, as a patterning and production intern. A Park Ridge-native, she transferred to SAIC and upon graduation in May 2011, she won the Eunice W. Johnson fellowship from the president of Johnsons Publishing Company, Linda Johnson Rice. The $25,000 fellowship, the source of funding for the duo&#39;s label, was created in 2010 in honor of Rice&#39;s mother and Ebony Fashion Fair founder Eunice W. Johnson.</p><p>The fellowship, while providing a strong leg up in their production process, does not draw away from the work put into the overall process. The two hit the ground running with their designs in October of 2012 and spent the prior year learning the business of owning and operating their own company. This involved everything from creating their own on-the-fly logo and attending Chicago Fashion Week panels for guidance on how to succeed in a city that does not cater to their field.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_6871.JPG" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">In many ways, Remi Canarie is a Chicago brand. This is not just a statement of location. It is also one of history and inspiration. Patelski and Panza&rsquo;s influences, although seemingly disconnected, are rooted similarly in ideas of the past, Americana, and the perception of place.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;American roots is who we are,&quot; Panza began. &quot;We&rsquo;re asking what does it mean to be an American designer?&rdquo; Patelski agreed. &ldquo;What is it about Chicago? It&rsquo;s the city of big shoulders, and so we moved towards menswear, workwear, uniforms. That is Chicago.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div>A major influence for the duo is the birth of American football. Long hours were spent in the Chicago History Museum researching football players from suburban Oak Park. Found images were used as part of their lookbook to help construct the identity of the line and also as a direct aesthetic influence on the finished pieces. A long-sleeved off-white and gray sweater and a loose silk blouse both feature thick strips of fabric that run down the front, a replica of the leather strips used on early uniforms for traction.</div><p>In addition to the traditional imagery of football, the two also found inspiration in the costumes of the Rolling Stones. Besides sporting recreations of American football uniforms, the two found inspiration in the creation of the band&rsquo;s sound as a whole. The Rolling Stones were, in many ways, a reflection of the music they discovered from America. They created songs that were in response to and challenge of what they had heard. In a similar vein, Remi Canarie is a reflection of the difficulties, history, and ethic of Chicago. This is design as a reflection of the city in which they live and work.</p><p>Their name extends this idea to a literal end. Although &ldquo;Remi&rdquo; derives from a Kerouac character, &ldquo;Canarie&rdquo; is born out of Canaryville, one of Chicago&rsquo;s oldest and most identifiable (if not insular) neighborhoods. But its insularity is also a reflection of a city &ndash; this city &ndash; of neighborhoods. It is about identity, roots, and the way place can define the things we want and do.&nbsp;To make it in Chicago is to make it everywhere. It is not so much about the successes that the city provides as it is the way the city alters the perception of what one can possibly do. &ldquo;Being in Chicago, there&rsquo;s not as much pressure to follow the same pursuits,&rdquo; Patelski said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re taking the opportunity here to define ourselves.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Follow Britt on twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms">@britticisms.</a></em></p></p> Thu, 07 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-02/something-out-nothing-creativity-and-chicago-fashion-scene-105395 NEA sends $2 million-plus to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-28/nea-sends-2-million-plus-chicago-88480 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-20/56592092.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-20/56592092.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 277px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="A National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Induction (Getty/Paul Hawthorne)">Even as Congress and the White House tussle over a Fiscal 2012 budget, the National Endowment for the Arts has spent the last of its Fiscal 2011 cash in a series of grants announced last month in which a number of Chicago organizations picked up federal bucks.</p><p>Chicago theater industry recipients are (in alphabetical order): Barrel of Monkeys Productions ($8,000), Chicago Children's Theatre ($20,000), Chicago Shakespeare Theater ($75,000), Child's Play Touring Theatre ($20,000), Goodman Theatre ($100,000), Emerald City Theatre Company ($10,000), League of Chicago Theatres Foundation ($10,000), Light Opera Works ($20,000), Redmoon Theatre ($50,000), Storycatchers Theatre ($7,000) and Trap Door Productions ($5,000).</p><p>In addition, another 33 NEA grants went to institutions supporting music, dance, traditional arts, presenting and arts education ranging from the American Library Association ($20,000) to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra ($20,000) to the Jazz Institute of Chicago ($20,000) to the River North Dance Company ($10,000) and Sones de Mexico Ensemble ($35,000). Even the City of Chicago got some NEA cash, with a grant of $75,000 to the Chicago Cultural Center Foundation, a last legacy of the old Department of Cultural Affairs and its former Commissioner, Lois Weisberg.</p><p>In all, Illinois organizations received 43 grants totaling $2,280,400.</p><p>Meanwhile, the annual battle over the Federal budget is just heating up with the Federal government staying in business on a continuing resolution as Congress and the Prez go down to the wire on a budget deal that will raise the debt ceiling and cut spending. Already, however, Arts in Education has been axed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. On May 26, the House Education and Workforce Committee approved a resolution to cut 43 programs from the Department of Education, with Arts in Education among them. Collectively, these programs were part of the so-called "No Child Left Behind" Act, and funding for them could be restored--and that's a big "could"--when the full House and Senate take up re-authorizing "No Child Left Behind."</p><p>In better news, the House rejected Republican-sponsored resolutions to zero-fund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and heard prepared testimony May DATE from Rocco Landesman, chairman of the NEA, in support of President Obama's request for $146.25 million for the NEA in Fiscal 2012 (which officially begins July 1). That figure represents a 13% cut in the 2011 budget, or the same funding as in 2008. The NEA is prepared to live with that and tighten its belt, in part by consolidating administrative functions with the NEH wherever possible.</p><p>The proposed 2012 Obama budget wasn't all bad news for arts and culture: the request for the National Gallery of Art was $119 million, up from $111 million, and the request for the Smithsonian Institution was $636 million for operations plus $225 million for capital projects, some of which will flow to art museums such as the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City.</p><p>In its May round of grants, the NEA announced $914,400 for the Illinois Arts Council, the highest-ever level of NEA support. As mandated by Congress, the NEA must pass along a substantial part of its annual budget in the form of direct support for state arts agencies.</p><p>The Fiscal 2012 proposal for the Illinois Arts Council (IAC) itself is $11.4 million, up from $9.3 million last year. Of course, given the ocean of red ink the State faces, it's anyone's guess if that level of support will hold up in the final Illinois budget.</p><p>Alas, the arts always make an attractive and easy target for budget-cutters who fail to comprehend the economic impact of the arts collectively as an industry. Just days ago, Kansas Republican governor Sam Brownback vetoed funding for the Kansas Arts Council, killing the 45-year old agency. The cash savings to Kansas tax payers? $689,000 representing .005% of the state's budget. The cash loss to Kansas tax payers? The NEA pass-through which would have been $778,200 plus another $437,800 in matching funds from the Mid-America Arts Alliance. That $1.2 million now will go to other states.</p></p> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 22:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-28/nea-sends-2-million-plus-chicago-88480