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Fueling the artistic muse

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Before I was the sparkly Events Coordinator for one of Chicago’s finest media institutions, I was a seventh and eighth grade teacher for the CPS.

I loved teaching - working with kids filled with hopes and fears, trying my best to inspire and open minds, staying after school to work with the Band and Choir - it was all the plus side of dealing with the bureaucracy of the profession. I did NOT, however, have much use for the required Arts and Crafts sensibility employed in creating bulletin boards and banners for holidays. I’m not a tactile arts type.

One of the wonderful things about Chicago is (and was in my seven year tenure) the wealth of Community Art Centers throughout the area. I didn’t have to be talented at the art of block printing or stone carving or cut & paste collage. I could just go to any one of a dozen places and “get my art on.” Art is not simply a thing to do for those special, talented individuals who can go on to sell paintings for thousands of dollars. Even Picasso started out as a green kid. Art is a unifier and a binder. Art is fun. And everyone can play.

So it gives me no small amount of pleasure to reprise one of Off-Air’s most inclusive events of last season, What’s Your Art? Celebrating the Art Centers of Chicago, this Saturday from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center. With direction from Sixty Inches from Center, we have assembled twelve of Chicago’s scrappy art centers and put them in a room to demonstrate their craft AND get our WBEZ audience in on the fun.

Into photography? We have that. Like cards and tiny works of art? Yup. Wanna do a self portrait? On site this Saturday.

And, perhaps my favorite for the day, guests will be able to select heads, torsos, legs, etc. from a bank of linoleum blocks and print out a unique creature (like Build a Barbie meets Frankenstein).

Intelligentsia Coffee will be there to make you free coffee; a number of the art centers will be selling affordable holiday gifts in our Marketplace; and Executive Producer Breeze Richardson has put together a DIY Artistic Gift Wrapping Station because she, unlike me, IS craftsy.

There’s quite a bit going on and we’ll all be waiting for you - it’s free, it’s all afternoon, and I might be inspired to make a bulletin board for the WBEZ Navy Pier Community Room.

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