Conveniently located across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago, this American craft gallery is the homey art experience compared to the serious art museum. From wall art to hand-carved furniture to fine art jewelry to wood works to ceramics: The list of coveted treasures for the home and body runs deep and long here.
Though focusing on the one-of-a-kind and handmade, President Amy Hoffman's goal to keep art accessible is also unexpectedly easy on the wallet. Objects run from $20 up to a few pieces costing in the thousands. The wide selection of new creative works from artists throughout the country features blown glass, jewelry, ceramics, wood turnings and boxes, sculpture, stained glass, stemware, lamps, kaleidoscopes, men and women's accessories and wall art.
With no monthly exhibitions, special events or bare white walls, the place is as much shop as gallery, and thankfully refuses to adhere to the more pretentious display tactics of fine art galleries. Watch where you walk though; the treasures are plentiful! Wall art, including paintings, mixed media works and sculpted metal works abound; display set-ups for ceramics, wood wares, and glass plates, dishes, and objects are throughout; cases of jewelry and racks for handmade purses and fiber works, such as scarves and pillows, are placed all around too.
The friendly staff with a deep knowledge of each artist's biography and technique makes you feel welcome, even if you're just there to look. Indeed, after you visit, you'll see how "Niche" magazine regularly distinguishes this spot as a "Top 100" retailer of original art objects.
The 108 S. Michigan Ave. location is the flagship store, but there are three other Arts & Artisans locations in Chicago (hich only goes further to prove the major success of the store). While the flagship store features the work of mixed media artist, Juno Sky, whose handmade paper collages are a delightfully colorful sight, as well as the unique pieces of various other artists, the other stores similarly highlight the work of other artists. But overall, you can expect the same friendly feel and unique American craft gallery style in each of the stores.
To find out more about the three other Arts and Artisans locations in Chicago, check out these listings:
Arts & Artisans (132 N. LaSalle)
Arts & Artisans (321 N. Michigan)
Arts & Artisans (720 S. Michigan)
Centerstage Reviewer: Joanne Hinkel