In the summer of 2004, the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative (CPC) stepped out of its somewhat discreet location below the train tracks on Western Avenue to speak loudly (and visually) to Chicago and beyond. The "Facade Project" brought the 16-year-old collective into the realms of public art: Each window on three of the building's floors shows nine faces of U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq. Intended to be an ongoing installation until all troops returned to the U.S., the commemorative work reached capacity when the building ran out of window space after the number of troops reached 648 last year. Those images continue to look out over cars, trains and pedestrians, at once a familiar and distant reminder of the past and present, drawing inquisitive Chicagoans to the collective's front doors.
Originally housed in Ukranian Village, CPC later moved to Lincoln Square, where director Deborah Lader expanded classes for printers at all skill levels, studio spaces for resident artists and display areas for group shows and print sales. Encouraged to tour the gallery and printing and studio spaces, drop-ins are welcome as are their questions and feedback. Lader's enthusiastic commitment to the collective and its impact on the community inspires. CPC's strong neighborhood and citywide presence includes a Special Retrospective Exhibition at nearby Cafe Selmarie, which will continue in the fall at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Centerstage Reviewer: Heather Blaha