photo: courtesy of 32nd & Urban gallery & space.
While many galleries in Chicago have occasionally featured "street art" on their pristine white-walled worlds, this bastion for creativity puts it front-and-center.
Lauren Pacheco, Monika Lee, and Pedro Soto grew up on the south and west sides of Chicago, surrounded by urban art and artists. Despite holding down full-time jobs, this group of twentysomethings opened a space devoted to the street art they love in December of 2006.
With graffiti artist, Peter Kepher as the gallery curator, the programming promises to always feature "urban art." "It's about growing up in the city," says Kepha, explaining that most of the artists in the field have backgrounds in graffiti, street art, urban expressionism, and public art. The work featured ranges from wall paintings to illustration to sculptures made of found objects. Previous exhibitions include a solo show of wall illustrations by local muralist Juan Angel Chavez and "Showroom," a display of studio work by Mike Genovese, a former graffiti artist who is best known for his hand-lettering and signage.
The gallery's commitment to fostering a sense of community plays out in its events. Once a month the owners invite budding artists to present their work during the open house "Yo! Open Portfolio Review." And if you think gallery openings are uptight, 32nd and Urban will prove you wrong: the wine flows, music blares, DJs spin records, and an impromptu break-dancing session can often be expected.
Centerstage Reviewer: Joanne Hinkel