Monday, February 22, 2010

University Exhibition Development and the Gallery as Studio

Guest Blogger:
Abdul Goler
Assistant Curator,
DePaul University Museum

Exhibition design and production and all that is entailed in the development of successful shows--from the first inklings of ideas to the writing of didactic text and hanging of work to the public programming--takes on a distinct nature at the DePaul Museum.  We are a small staff within the university community consisting of three persons that share responsibilities yet also play particular roles, often overlapping duties in the process of maintaining the museum facilities and caring for the works of art in our collection.  As a result of operating parameters, we actively engage the larger university community’s expertise and areas of interest.  This allows for a kind of collaborative experience to mounting exhibitions and the curatorial process that is unique to university museums and to DePaul.  Because of this nature, in a sense, our galleries here at the museum become the working space by and in which we forge together the concepts that are initially rendered on paper.  The exhibitions are the three-dimensional fleshing out of concepts and concerns that serve to educate and often titillate our general public and the university community at large.  The DePaul University Museum galleries are laboratories that give voice to ideas.  Working with the artist Mark Curran during the installation of his exhibition The Breathing Factory provided great insight into this collaborative process that I’d like to share.

Site as production studio / production site as studio:
The Breathing Factory: A Project by Mark Curran as engaged ethnography and the implication of the subject as object 
I’d like to start by comparing Curran’s work in The Breathing Factory as currently exhibited at the DePaul University Museum to that of Greta Pratt in her series Liberty from 2009 currently on exhibit at The Mattress Factory in Pittsburg.  There is a tacit understanding in both of an underpinning collective effort, which is in fact necessary for both projects to work as multi-layered anthropological studies.  Both are tailored to specific sites and I might argue performative in nature.  Curran captures the hauntingly hollow syncopated ballet of robotic arms—along with the eerie whoosh and hum created by the machines’ programmed movement—within a high tech Hewlett Packard plant in Leixlip, Ireland.   Leixlip was Europe’s largest IT production and research and development center, modeling itself on California’s Silicon Valley.  Rather than form the backdrop to the exhibition, the large digital prints of these machines vie for prominence with the human population of workers that inhabit the plant, growing and shrinking with the needs of the global economy.  These workers present themselves and are presented within this framework as disposable as the paper “clean room” suits they must don to protect the machines from human contamination.

Greta Pratt’s series is also concerned with the flux of global markets, but deals with a more downtrodden collection of workers who have turned to performing in and of itself in order to make ends meet.  Pratt photographically documents individuals who wave at passersby and dance on street corners wearing full-length Statue of Liberty costumes.  These “wavers” work for Liberty Tax service.  Most were formerly unemployed, some were homeless, and all according to the artist, who conducted first hand interviews, happy to have a job even if it entailed dancing on a street corner.   Thankfully, the artist redeems these individuals through the use of portraiture situating them within the American urban landscape in a composed dignified manner, turning them into the iconic symbol of Liberty itself.

 Artist: Greta Pratt; Title: Liberty, 2009; from the Likeness exhibition at Mattress Factory. Image courtesy of Mattress Factory; Photo by Tom Little

Both sets of images share similarities in their use of portraiture captured through digital photography, and both situate the production of their work in site-specific ways, as well as the use of the interview process in revealing the inner workings of the subjects.   Both groups of work also rely on the space in which it will be shown and is tailored not simply to fit each venue, but to meet the intellectual needs and framework of each site.  

Curran’s exhibition however is different in its tone of almost stoic resignation in the face of seemingly unstoppable capitalist interest.  Needless to say, this gives a very wry twist to the work.  The initial ethnography was initiated and completed in 2006 when Ireland was still riding the high crest of the wave of its economic boon.  The work is prescient really; looking at the images of the workers and reading their collected interviews following the aftermath of the global economic meltdown one can’t help but wonder where they are now and what has happened to them.

The workers he portrays stand stone-faced to meet you eye to eye within the factory that is their source of income, but also their undoing. This is the unsettling environment that one enters when walking into the galleries at the DePaul University Museum. One enters the factory and through the use of various tools becomes a part of the factory; the museum apparatus the artist uses subjugates the viewer to the role of object because they act as the means by which the viewer projects his or her self into the machinations of the global economy. We are forced to consider the wide sweeping impact of the financial downturn and whether or not its full effects have been felt or are still yet to come.


The artist provides many methods for viewers to engage with the exhibition that manipulate and distort the nature of museum displays.  I found the hanging of the large format c-print photographs to be one of the subtlest manipulations of museum technology in the exhibition.  Rather than insist, as most artists probably would, upon the framing of the images to protect them from potential harm, the vivid images were hung with a combination of bull clamps and dry wall nails. In the repositioning of some of the photographs it became clear that the paper medium upon which the digital images were printed was indeed fragile, as the shifting of the bull clamps left corners and seams abraded. The result of the hanging, the artist confided, was that the images would convey a more tangible sense of vulnerability as they quite literally hang precariously by tooth and nail, trembling at the slightest vibration within the gallery. The labels for the photographs are also hung in the same manner, lending these objects a highly ephemeral quality, somewhat akin to tissue paper in the wind. 

While the large photographs seem to represent the “art” I would argue that the factory and the inner lives of the workers are truly illuminated through the presence of the documentary materials the artist developed for the exhibition which included digital displays of video of the factory and a power point presentation of office workers in their cubicles. One of the most interesting appropriations of museum technology is the stack of eight and a half by eleven-inch double-sided pamphlets printed in small type and folded into eighths. Displayed on a pedestal under a low hanging bare halogen light, most visitors assume it is an art object and don’t bother to pick one up and read it, let alone take one with them. While Curran’s stack directly references Felix Gonzales-Torres’ use of the ephemeral and the absurd, it is the real utility of the object that is most important here. This museum brochure like publication has such information as a map of the Dublin metropolitan area including Leixlip, a bar graph comparing the political, economic, social, and personal indicators among leading industrial nations, quotes from economic policy makers and theoreticians regarding globalization, and most importantly interviews with workers at the Hewlett Packard plant about their experience working in the “most globalized economy in the world.”

The presence of such materials disallows for a neat sense of distance or bifurcation of the experience into viewer and viewed, but instead works to entangle the viewer with what is being viewed. This further charges the site-specific nature of the exhibition as an interactive one and undermines its typical nature as a spectator event. Despite the sparse nature of the work and its display, one leaves the exhibition affected not so much by the “art” per se, but by the documentation of the effect of the global economy on people’s lives. The photographs work in tandem with the other aspects of the exhibition to create a sense of a lived shared experience, or a gestalt view, which is the art.   


Tools used in exhibition:
Projection of still images of office workers in cubicles at the plant (digital projector, white Mac Book, DVD)
Projection of digital video capture of machines shielded from view behind a curtain of plastic with sound (digital projector, DVD)
Projection of Power Point display of interviews of workers (digital projector, DVD)
Digital display of robotic arms in motion (white Mac Book, DVD)
Notebook of collected “hand written” notes of workers’ accounts (facsimile)
Series of ethnographic accounts professionally printed on architect’s paper for distribution stacked in gallery on table
Audio Sound track of ambient factory sounds (CD)

Working with the artist for the installation, the importance of the conceptual nature of the exhibition became apparent. The framework of the exhibition was to act as the means of telling and sharing stories, of which many were told over the course of four days of positioning work, hammering in nails, painting surfaces, and plugging in cables. Some of the stories told were ghost stories, which seemed apropos given the faded glory of the once mighty Celtic Tiger that loomed large over the project. The looped continuous projection of digital video of a plastic curtain presumably hiding a machine from view further highlights the haunting nature of the exhibition. The plastic curtain in the video is comprised of two pieces of material taped together in a pattern that our director Louise Lincoln commented as being almost suture like in appearance. Staring at the moving image, we watch hopelessly bewildered as this ghost in the machine rattles and hums, “breathing” ominously behind the curtain. 

It follows the pulse of the market and can change over to six or seven days of production overnight, uses market opportunities and risks optimally to create value. The break-even point in capacity usage remains low and market peaks can be taken as well. When the production process becomes flexible, then working hours and working conditions must also become flexible. Not only on the factory level. The new ‘breathing rhythm’ must also make headway at the social level: the time rhythm in society, the labour market, the educational system and the remaining institutions of the welfare state.

The target is a breathing factory
(source: Peter Hartz, Chairman, VW (1996) The Company That Breathes: Every Job has a Customer)
cit. in Curran, 2010 


The fact that Curran generated the idea for The Breathing Factory through the course of working on his doctoral degree through the Centre for Transcultural Research and Media Practice at the Dublin Institute of Technology also positions the gallery as a space for critical inquiry into the nature of shared experience as it unfolds within a museum setting.  Over the course of the exhibition’s run I will digitally video the installation in order to capture the comings and goings of visitors within this mix of ambient, visual, and textual cues.  This will be done not just to archive the event, but also to learn how people interact with the exhibition and if the tools used provided visitors with the means to make sense out of the exhibition.   In this way, The Breathing Factory becomes a site by which new knowledge is both accumulated and generated.

A native of Detroit, MI, Abdul Goler is the assistant curator at the DePaul University Museum and a budding scholar of the work of Romare Bearden. His specialized areas of study and inquiry include critical race theory, museum education and interpretation. Abdul completed his M.A. degree at Seton Hall Univesity and was an Academic Year Intern in the department of Modern Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Image Credits (all excluding image from the Mattress Factory):
Photo by Dominick Fortunato

Monday, February 15, 2010

Creating a Sense of Place

Guest Blogger:
Rey Colón, Alderman
City of Chicago, 35th Ward

My memory of appreciation for the arts began as an 8 year-old.  I was a member of the Logan Square Boys and Girls Club at 3228 West Palmer in the late 60's-early 70's.  The Club made it a priority for us to experience drawing, oil & water color painting, outdoor mural projects, sculptures, gardens, ceramics, photography, singing and dancing just to name a few activities.  I personally don’t profess to be good at any of them today, but at the time I thought I was good at them all (dancing excluded). I sold my first and last painting at age 11 for 20 bucks.  At the time, my art instructor said; "You are now a professional artist."  I was happy to be a professional anything at the moment, but didn’t make much of it.  While I have always maintained an appreciation for arts throughout the years, my craft became the delivery of a variety of programs that served the needs of neighborhood children and their families.  Since then, I have had the honor of serving in organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, the Chicago Park District and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago prior to being elected Alderman in 2003.   It doesn’t sound very artistic, but I have always ensured that arts and culture were fundamental program offerings.  

In my role as Alderman, I’ve determined that the combination of delivering needed city services, taking a stand on issues, balancing the diverse interests of constituents and involving all interested parties in developing the neighborhood’s future is my art form.  Fortunately for me, my studio is the 35th Ward and I am an active partner with many other groups and individuals interested in expanding arts, culture and designating areas for that common purpose.  One example is the 6-story Morris B. Sachs Building located at 2800 N. Milwaukee Avenue.  The city purchased this historic building and put out a request for proposals to have it renovated.  Construction will begin this spring and soon it will be known as the Hairpin Lofts.  Retail will remain on the ground floor level; a community art center will occupy the second and affordable live-work rental space on the next 4-floors above could be an attraction for artists. 

From 2003 to 2007, I worked with local artists and organizations to produce the Palmer Square Arts Festival.  The idea for this event was not unique. I simply continued the concept of other artists before me. The original Palmer Square Arts Festivals occurred for over 15-years sponsored by a group called; Chicago Neighborhood Artists CNACNA was headquartered in the Logan Square Boys and Girls Club under the leadership of then Club Director Jose Zayas and Program Director Theresa Pacione.  It was through their commitment to the arts that I was greatly enriched with such diverse opportunities.  Once elected Alderman, I decided to revive the Arts Festival and continue this local tradition.   

2008 was a transition year. Palmer Square underwent construction for a boulevard renovation project as part of the Logan Square Open Space Plan.  The Palmer Square site plan included a public art installation to function as a sculptured children’s play area.  Under the direction of the Chicago Public Art Group, neighborhood children and their parents attended workshops and were involved with the design.  Today this play area is themed after the Velveteen Rabbit and surrounded by a new running track.  

While the Palmer Square Arts Festival was deferred, a new bicycle event came to Chicago called; "Tour de Fat." This bicycle extravaganza sponsored by the New Belgium Brewing Company was introduced to Palmer Square during the 2008 renovation and continues to attract thousands of people throughout Chicago.  Tour de Fat will return for its 3rd year June 2010.  

The Palmer Square Arts Festival’s organizing committee consisted of local artists representing; "American Theater Company, Chicago Ballet, Elastic Arts Foundation, the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance and the Voice of the City.  In 2008, they encouraged me to take the next Palmer Square Art Festival to Milwaukee Avenue. That same year, this group of art organizations hosted the first Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival with limited time and resources, but the response was positive.  Last year, I reunited with this same group of local art organizations and expanded the planning group into a community-wide coalition of artists, businesses and community-based organizations to host the 2009 Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival.  I got involved by securing sponsors, organizing logistics for a 3.2-mile stretch of Milwaukee Avenue, identifying empty storefront owners for art space and all other unfulfilled duties.  The festival was a tremendous success, but more important was the process of involving so many leaders from different areas of interest and connecting them to a common mission.

Logan Square and its surrounding areas continue to show strong signs of vitality despite the weakened economy.  In 2009, we saw new business and restaurant openings, the Logan Farmer’s Market surpassed 1,000 people in attendance, other indigenous events surfaced like Open Streets, Summer Sessions on the Square and Art in the Park.  We also have new and existing businesses that continue to attract creative people from all walks of life.  Places like Lula’s Café, Café Con Leche, Longman and Eagle (a soon to be bed & breakfast), Revolution Brewing, Tumbao, New Wave Coffee, Real Tenochtitlan, the Whistler, Weegees’s Lounge, Logan’s Bar & Grill, Dunlay’s, Brand’s BBQ, and many more either here or on the way. As we continue to create a sense of place, people with high-morale are walking the streets.  Meanwhile the list for requested 2010 events keeps growing.  I recently commissioned the formation of a neighborhood council to provide comprehensive public relations for local activities and promoting the community in a positive light.  The “Independent Artists & Merchants of Logan Square” or “I AM Logan Square.” will advance economic development opportunities while maintaining a diverse coalition of artists, business leaders, chambers of commerce and community organizations. 

There are many exciting art projects taking place in my studio these days and I look forward to being part of many more in the future.  

Alderman Rey Colón is a lifelong resident of the 35th Ward serving the Avondale, Humboldt Park, Irving Park, and Logan Square communities on Chicago’s northwest-side. He attended Darwin Elementary School, Carl Schurz High School. He studied radio broadcasting at Columbia College and completed the Community Management Program in the Office of Public Administration at Roosevelt University.  Since the 1979 murder of his brother in a drive-by gang shooting, Alderman Colón has dedicated himself to giving children and families alternatives for improving their lives. Alderman Rey Colón has devoted his career to creating opportunities for residents in the 35th Ward. He has served the 35th Ward as:
  • Executive Director, McCormick Tribune YMCA, where he facilitated a $7.5 million fundraising effort and directed construction of the YMCA in Logan Square;
  • Executive Director, Logan Square Boys and Girls Club, where he launched a volunteer program to provide mentors for inner-city youth and received the National Honor Award for Program Excellence two years in a row for community outreach and a Satellite High School with a 90% graduation rate.
  • Area Manager of the Chicago Park District, where he directed the operations of 45 city parks and play-lots, beautified public green space, and piloted innovative programs throughout the Humboldt Park/West Town communities, which are now implemented city-wide.
  • Alderman Rey Colón was elected in February, 2003; he continues to serve his neighbors by improving the quality of life in the 35th Ward.
    For more information or to contact Rey Colón:  35th Ward Community Service Office  2710 N. Sawyer Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 Email:  Phone: 773-365-3535   Fax: 773-365-7391
Image Credit: All photos by Martha Ramos
Image Captions from top to bottom:
Alderman Rey Colón accepts an award
Boys and Girls Club booth
Palmer Square Boulevard Festival - Beverage Garden
Palmer Square Sculpture Playground
Tour de Fat
Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival - main stage
Milwaukee Avenue foot traffic

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Studio: A Sanctuary to Quiet Your Mind in These Busy Times

Guest Blogger:
Sarah Laing
Associate director of the
Open Studio Project, Inc.
Even though I’ve worked in our storefront studio for 10 years, every time I walk in the door, I am reminded about how much happens in our small, humble, and very special space.   Sure, I’ve felt that experience before when visiting other studios and places of production or had those “wow” moments of artistic inspiration.  But our studio is different.  We’ve set it up to be a welcoming space to make art, an emotionally safe place to create.  We never critique or comment on another’s work.  We are supportive simply by allowing each individual to work without interference.  At our studio, art is a p-r-o-c-e-s-s – not a product.  And in these stressful times, our studio/process provides a creative outlet to help reduce stress. It’s the place I go to stop, listen, and create. 

You can feel the energy in our studio.  It is very much alive.  The walls have something to do with it.  They reflect the outlines of paintings and pieces by many artists who have shared that space, inviting others to give it a try.  It provides a visual framework for going beyond, for coloring outside the lines. We set out materials such as oil pastels, tempera paints, and plaster with a purpose in mind – in order to help artists to play, explore and experiment.  In addition, to promote sustainability, our artists also use many natural, found objects, and recycled materials.

As an artist/facilitator, I help others honor and embrace the creative space. We model how to use and respect materials and how we, as artists, take our own creative risks.   But there is no judging.  No evaluating. We set up the studio space in a way that individuals have a sense of openness, encouraging them to find within themselves that element that asks to be expressed visually. We talk about drawing, for example, as making marks on paper, which is easier to do when the studio space is designed to encourage it.  And we talk about following your creative impulse – and how the studio space can nurture and support that spirit of spontaneity. 

We teach about boundaries by arranging a space appropriate for groups. In listening and creating without commenting on each other, we learn to respect and value each other exactly where we are in the creative process, and in our lives.  We learn that it is possible to explore at whatever level we feel comfortable, what we think and feel in a social setting, without trying to anticipate the thoughts and reactions of others.  In short, we learn to let everyone be, but be together.  And after a while of practice, we learn how to trust ourselves and each other in a way we can generalize to our lives.  

Along with making art, the Open Studio process offers a writing component that gives each individual the opportunity to clarify their own intentions for creating.  After making art, participants/artists/individuals “witness” their work -- as a way to reflect and make a deeper connection with what they created that day.   

The following questions were directed to three Panelists who are Artist/Facilitators at Open Studio Project.  This panel was held in conjunction with the Facilitators Exhibition opening on Friday, February 5th.  

1. How does the studio no commenting/critique emphasis effect your work?
      I wouldn’t be an artist if it weren’t for open studio.  I can make whatever I want and it means a lot to have this rule in place. No one tells me what to do and what not to do.
     Janet Beals Orejudos

      I was a glass artist focused on technical work. When I came to the studio I thought there was more for me in the art making process.  The no comment rule allowed me to be with my thoughts and myself in relation to art making.  My process came from inside rather than outside sources.  
     Cal Calvird

      I feel a profound sense of support from the groups in the studio.  I don’t have to verbally or conceptually express that. It’s about connecting with myself and the universe.  There’s a quiet support from everyone.  It’s revolutionary.  I’m amazed for having been able to do this for so long.
      Ted Harris

2. How does the studio’s community element make this art making setting different from other art classes?
      This community and its sense of intimacy create a deep connection to people who you don’t know very well but are sharing an experience with them.
      Janet Beals Orejudos

      I really think about the connective process when thinking of community.  It’s so empowering.  All I have to do is show up and see how it unfolds.  There’s no consensus in the room but there is equal support.  It all unfolds in a great way.
      Cal Calvird

      Referencing creates a nonverbal intimacy that you can look at others work and do what they’re doing and it doesn’t matter.  We don’t often sell our work made here, so our relationship with the art world is complicated in regards to that.  Making a living as an artist is kind of off the table when I’m here.  This is completely different. It’s better.
       Ted Harris  

3. How does this studio environment impact your choice of materials?
      I don’t make art outside the studio. I use the materials here.  So it depends on what is here.  I love the materials, I use them, but I don’t bring anything from outside.
      Janet Beals Orejudos

      They’re inexpensive.  There are a lot of found objects.  As adults, we don’t want to waste the materials, but here we have to use it, there’s constant encouragement to use and then reuse the materials.  It’s very freeing and very liberating.  
       Cal Calvird

      Every single time I come to make art, what I need seems to be here.  There isn’t so much effort.  Whatever is here is going to work for me.  I also observe what other people use and I find myself gathering those found objects.
       Ted Harris 

Sarah Laing is the Associate Director of the Open Studio Project, Inc. She has a Masters in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelors in Studio Art.  She has directed numerous programs and exhibitions for a range of populations which celebrate the affirmative impact of the creative process to make social change.  She is a strong advocate of community youth, the arts, and mental health awareness.  

Image credit and captions top to bottom:
Store front of Open Studio Project. Photo by Jill Brazel Photography 
A sample of a wall at Open Studio Project
Found object art work by Open Studio Project Artist/Facilitator Karla Rindal
A drawing workshop at Open Studio Project
A sampling of materials arranged on shelves at Open Studio Project
Storefront. Photo by Jill Brazel Photography

Monday, February 1, 2010

Home as Studio and Canvas - A Defense of Martha

Guest Blogger: 
Katie Hawkey Swindler
Organizer of Swap-O-Rama-Rama Chicago

October 15-17 the American Craft Council welcomed the growing community of "indie-crafters" and "DIYers" to their workshop: Creating a New Craft Culture. As an avid DIY-girl and organizer of the annual, indie-craft inspired Swap-O-Rama-Rama Chicago, I immediately planned to attend this event.

Rounding out a program of fairly academic presentations on modern American crafts, were a few brave speakers who delved into the emerging indie-craft movement and quickly sparked heated discourse about standards of quality, new online market places, and generational divides. The combination of “old-school” and “new wave” crafters was a veritable powder keg.

Throughout the conference there were two words that – once uttered – turned a room of hippies, hipsters, artists and scholars into two packs of snarling wolves – “Martha Stewart”. 

Martha Stewart - Inspiring DIY or Evil CEO?

Some attendees vocally despised Martha – they saw her as relegating "craft" to low-brow, homemaker-hobbies. Many of these craftsmen had spent their lives making "Craft" synonymous with "Art".  As one woman put it,

    “She has no place in a legitimate discussion of Craft. End of story.” 

But the indie-crafters defended Martha, citing her as an empowering "maker" who started them on the path to their own home-based craft businesses. I overheard a woman mutter behind me,

    “Martha Stewart is a gate-way drug." 

I tried to hear both sides of the argument, but I must admit, my personal love for Martha Stewart Living, Trading Spaces and This Old House made me biased. I've long been inspired by these TV shows because they treat the home as both studio and blank canvas. They tell their viewers that they deserve to be surrounded by art, beauty and handmade items to which they can share an emotional and physical connection.  One might even argue (and I certainly have) these programs teach their audience to view their home and their belongings through a craftsman’s eyes:  seeing the hidden potential in the materials that surround them. 

The programs educate and encourage viewers to do-it-yourself. Take risks, and “make” – in their living spaces, using found objects and everyday materials. Every room of the home becomes a studio and every thing in the home; a potential craft.

A Door as a Headboard

From Trading Spaces I learned to see that a door taken off it’s hinges could be a headboard. From Martha Stewart Living I learned that an unused vase could be smashed and grouted to create a mosaic table top and enjoyed every day. From This Old House I learned to appreciate the handcrafted furniture in my home, and how to repair these heirlooms instead of replacing them with something cheap and mass-produced. 

All of these programs (at least before they started their own line of products), taught us to be “creators not consumers.”  This inspiring phrase, taken from Swap-O-Rama-Rama, is a central tenant of the DIY ethos.

When you learn to see like a craftsman, then every screw, spork and sofa in your studio has the potential to become the medium for your art. How many of us, while deep in the creative process have glanced up for inspiration and seen before us ”the perfect thing“?  That piece or item immediately snatched off the shelf (or off the floor, or out the garbage) – and incorporated as the pièce de résistance. Then your home has become your studio and, at the same time, your home becomes a work of art.

I’m not saying that someone’s artistic education should begin and end on HGTV, but I would say that these shows have given permission to the craft-curious to try their hand at “making”.  They have helped expand the idea of where and when “making” can take place and thereby have made the studio accessible. 

Removing our judgments – and definitions – opens our minds to be creators. If we say “This is a vase” - than it can never be a mosaic table top. And if we limit “what is a studio?” then we might miss a world of art.

Katie Hawkey Swindler is a maker, marketer and craft-enabler.   Her life-long loveafair with Chicago has made her an evangelist of audience development for Chicago theatre, dance, art and the emerging indie-craft movement.  She is inspired everyday by the oh-so-Midwestern practicality of the indie-crafting community who not only tells everyone to “Do It Yourself” but empowers them with shared knowledge, tools, encouragement and marketplaces. 

Images from top to bottom
Swap-O-Rama-Rama Promotes the DIY Ethos, design by Kevin Reed, Vin designs
Martha Stewart - Inspiring DIY or Evil CEO?, design by Kevin Reed, Vin designs
A Door as a headboard, photo from Apartment Therapy