The outlets below are good sources of art making or crafting materials in or around Chicago. Some of these organizations offer educators deep discounts or free educational materials for their classes. I will try to update this when new organizations start up and others close.
1. The WasteShed - "The Wasteshed is a nonprofit with creative reuse centers in Chicago and Evanston. We collect reusable art and school materials that would otherwise be thrown away... and make them available to teachers, artists, and anyone who needs them, at low or no cost.
2. Chicago Creative ReUse Exchange - At the Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx) we believe that "trash is just a failure of imagination."
"We are a 501c3 nonprofit that redistributes donated surplus materials, equipment, and supplies. We keep good things out of the landfill and get them into the hands of people who can use them. We focus on Chicago teachers and their students, non-profit organizations, and arts and community groups, but we're open to everyone. We promote creativity, a circular economy, and environmental stewardship through creative reuse programming, products, and partnerships.
Our goal is to educate and empower people to reduce waste, reimagine surplus and make creative reuse a fundamental part of our collective infrastructure."Location and Hours
Envision Unlimited Frick Center
2124 W. 82nd Place
Chicago, IL 60620
Open by Appointment
Wednesdays + Thursdays 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
3. SCARCE - "We help people discover how easy it can be to make a meaningful difference for our kids, for our environment, for our future…and often for all three at once."
4. Zero Landfill Chicago - "ZeroLandfill™ is an award winning upcycling program held seasonally that supports the supply needs of local artists and arts educators while reducing pressure on local landfill capacity. Since 2008, the ZeroLandfill™ Chicago team has partnered with the architectural and interior design community in identifying, diverting from local landfills and re-purposing back into the community over 500,000 pounds of expired specification samples that hold value for other audiences. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information."
5. ReUse Depot - "To keep reusable building materials from entering the landfill. We are able to do this by promoting environmentally friendly deconstruction over traditional demolition, thereby saving the embodied energy that went into the making of the original building materials. These materials are then harvested from our deconstruction sites, brought to our warehouse, and offered for sale to the general public at a fraction of their original cost. Together, Reuse Depot Inc. and Blue Earth Deconstruction work to provide you a tax-deductible donation method for any size donation of reusable building materials that we are able to accept. No donation is too large or too small for us to consider. From a kitchen or bathroom sink that is no longer needed to a full house deconstruction, we have the means and methods to assist you through your donation."
6. All American Reclaim - Reclaimed wood and salvaged material.
7. American Science and Surplus - This outlet is a mix of surplus and retail.
8. Ebay, Facebook MarketPlace. Warning! These can be good places to find what you need, however, some entrepreneurially-minded folks are grabbing listing photos from some of the sites above and posting the items at a high markup on these online marketplaces. Proceed with caution.
9. Thrift Stores.
10. Garage/rummage sales.
11. Flea Markets
This is the bead pattern ChatGPT gave me for an ice crystal. I am looking up diagrams of Ice I-h. ChatGPT neglected to inform me that I need to aim for tetrahedral bonding angles at 60-degrees. I think I will also need some short bugle beads- two per "oxygen". Hydrogens should be size 8 or smaller and oxygen-size 6 seed beads or a miracle bead.
- Clear beads (for hydrogen) ((size 8 seed beads))
- White beads (for oxygen) ((4mm white Miracle beads))
((-short clear bugle beads))
- Beading thread
1. Thread a needle with a long piece of beading thread and tie a knot at one end.
2. String one white bead onto the thread and slide it down to the knot. This will be the center bead of your ice crystal.
3. String three clear beads onto the thread and pass the needle through the white bead to create a triangle of beads.
4. String two clear beads onto the thread and pass the needle through the next clear bead in the triangle.
5. String one white bead and two clear beads onto the thread and pass the needle through the next clear bead in the triangle.
6. Repeat step 5 two more times to complete the first layer of the ice crystal. You should have a hexagon shape formed by the white beads.
7. To create the second layer, string one clear bead and two white beads onto the thread and pass the needle through the next clear bead in the first layer.
8. Repeat step 7 until you have completed the second layer. You should have a hexagon shape formed by the white beads, with a clear bead in the center of each white bead.
9. To create the third layer, repeat steps 3-8, alternating between clear and white beads in each layer.
10. Continue adding layers until your ice crystal is the desired size and shape.
11. Once you have completed the desired number of layers, tie off the thread and trim the excess.
12. Your beaded ice crystal, with its hexagonal crystal structure made of oxygen and hydrogen atoms, is complete!
Note: You can adjust the size and shape of the ice crystal by using different sizes of beads, and by varying the number of layers.
(I asked it to provide me with a diagram in clear and white beads):
Layer 1: Layer 2: Layer 3:
W C W C W
C C W C C W C C
C C C W W C C C C
C C W C C W C C
W C W C W
The Evanston Biennial is up and open. Go see it! There are so many great pieces each by an outstanding artist. I saw artists that I've worked and exhibited with for decades and met wonderful up-and-coming talent.
The EAC space is great for showing art, but the acoustics made it very difficult for conversation. I wanted to talk to everyone, so I was losing my voice by the time we left.
The Art Institute of Chicago has .pdf's of most of the catalogues from the Chicago & Vicinity shows that started in 1897. These were prestigious exhibitions for local artists. The museum stopped doing them in 1985, but they still have a glorious reputation among the local artists. Evanston Art Center hosts a biennial now that refers back to these shows. I have a piece in the current one.
I'm a nerd and I downloaded every catalogue they had from here: https://www.artic.edu/search/exhibitions?q=Chicago%20and%20Vicinity
This is a trove of Chicago history and art history. On a more personal level, the last show in 1985 featured artists that I have met, are famous, or that taught me in art school. Michiko Itatani, Martyl, Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, Lee Grantham are standouts. Itatani, Spiess-Ferris, and Grantham are still active today.
Some of the organizers and trustees of the earliest shows have names like Palmer, Potter, Burnham, Ryerson, Field and Wicker. The name, "Marshall Field," was continuous through the years.
In year two, I saw Laredo Taft and Ivan Albright's father, A. E. One of the coolest trivia from the second catalogue is that the artists' addresses were listed! One lady had a studio in the tower of the Auditorium Theater! So. Jealous.
Next, I'm going to dip into a postwar show during one of the golden ages of the arts in Chicago. Mies van der Rohe was developing the International Style in Chicago. Maholy Nagy immigrated with his designs influenced by the Bauhaus...1952...
The catalogue doesn't have that many images. Vera Berdich is the only person I can recall hearing about.
Now, I'm going to jump ahead a generation to 1971 and see who's showing. Oh my god! "Sam Gilliam, Artist" is listed as one of the jurors! Wow. Roger Brown, William Conger, and lots of interesting sculptors with Rauschenberg-type assemblages and a pop minimalist. Neato.
Next, let's go back to the WWII era and see what's happening. 1944...Ha! The cover features a painting of happy servicemen returning to their friends and family at a port or something. Wait. There is one lady isolated in the middle of the painting holding two small children she looks very unhappy.
Featured artists include Gertrude Abercrombie! Ivan Albright! Martyl. Oh, shit! Joan Mitchell showed a piece called Accordian Player. If that is The Joan Mitchell she was only 19 years old. Louise Dunn Yochim was in this show. She was one of the grand dames of Chicago art. I have one of her books. A very good year.
I'll continue exploring these catalogues in my off time and learning more about Chicago art and artists.
I am very grateful to the curators for the opportunity to exhibit with so many artists that I've admired for years and to get to know the work of artists that are new to me. I saw their excellent exhibit space prior to installation when I dropped off Arctic Ice Sheet this morning. I am really excited to see the show! Come check it out. If you are planning to attend the opening, RSVP at the link below.
On view: August 26 – October 1, 2023
Opening Reception Sunday, August 27, 1-4 pm RSVP
Our Biennial is one of the Midwest’s largest and most prestigious juried exhibitions, offering artists an opportunity to have their work viewed by three talented curators:
Chantal Healey, Executive Director, Chicago Public Art Group
Denny Mwaura, Assistant Director, Gallery 400, UIC
Erica Warren, PhD, Art Historian, Curator, Editor, Craft Quarterly
The following artists were selected by the jurors to exhibit their work in EAC’s Biennial: Alice Rebechini, Ann Blaas, Audrey Barcio, Beth Herman Adler, Brian Petrone, Carolyn Cronin Hughes, CoCo Ree, Delaina Doshi, Emma Rose Gudewicz, Erika Mulvenna, Gretchen Jankowski, Indira Johnson, Italav Langmar, Jacqueline Kott-Wolle, Jeanne Reilly, Jennifer Bock Nelson, Jerry Bleem, Jihyun Ra, Juliann Wang, Julie Mars, June Ahleman, Karen Perl, Katheran Lampert, Kevin Lyle, Kim Laurel, Liang He, Lorraine Peltz, Malika Jackson, Marco Bendin, Mariko Ventura, Mary Fedorowski, Mia Capodilupo, Michael Gallagher, Nelson Armour, Nikki Anderson, Peter Mudd, Ramin Takloo-Bighash, Raul Ortiz, Riva Lehrer, Robert Frankel, Robert Tanner, Ruth Lantz, Ruth Poor, Sarah Kaiser , Shelley Brucar, Steven Turner, Susan Bennett, Susan Marx, Tim Lowly, Vanessa Filley, Vivian Visser, William Weidner, Yiwei Wang, and Yvette Kaiser Smith.
GALLERY HOURS & VISITOR INFORMATION
This exhibition will be held in the First Floor Gallery of the Evanston Art Center (EAC). Masks are optional but strongly recommended for students, visitors and staff.
HOW TO PURCHASE ARTWORK
Artwork sale proceeds benefit both the artist and the Evanston Art Center. If you are interested in purchasing artwork on display, please contact Emma Rose Gudewicz, Director of Development and Exhibition Manager, at email@example.com or (847) 475-5300 x 102.
Elemental ImpactChicago Sculpture International Juried Exhibition at the Epiphany Center for the Arts
November 17, 2023 to January 13, 2024Entry deadline: September 9, 2023
Sculptors are invited to enter up to three works in the Chicago Sculpture International Juried Exhibition at the Epiphany Center for Arts Chicago, IL.
Call for sculpture submissions for Elemental Impact at Epiphany Center for the Arts in Chicago.
This exhibition takes interest in the parts that make up the whole, and how a single element can impact the world at large. Much like a single choice in material or form can change an entire piece, each work in a collective can change and impact the whole by proximity.
The works chosen for this exhibition will have a strong sense of material choice and presence that is both able to stand on its own while also engaging with its environment and the works around it in a way that fundamentally changes the experience of the space.
The exhibit is being curated by Kaylee Fowler.
If selected for the exhibition, artists must be a current CSI member or sign-up for membership. www.chicagosculpture.org/become-a-member
An artist statement will be required for the accepted piece.
About the gallery:
Epiphany Center for the Arts
201 S. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60607
All entries will be submitted as digital images; jpeg for still sculpture, MP4 for kinetic works.
Applications must include a sculpture information in the following form:
.docx version | PDF version
Contact information: artist’s name, email, website, and cell
Example: FirstNameLastName_SublimeSculpture_3 materials, H x W x D inches and year completed.
Please also include value of the piece for insurance purposes.
Each entry must be saved as a jpeg with the file name in the following format:
Artist’s name, title of work, and number of the entry, separated by underscore. Example: FirstNameLastName_SublimeSculpture_3
Please format jpegs to 300 dpi at 4”x 5” or 72 dpi at 1024 pixels in longest dimension. Limit length of MP4 files to 60 seconds max.
Place application form along with images into a .zip compressed folder and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Works must be under 7 feet tall to fit into the space. Any works over 60 pounds the artist must provide assistance/arrangements for moving works in and out of the space.
Works can be suspended from the ceiling if under 40 pounds and provided that the hanging specifications are included in the proposal, so that the install team can advise if there needs to be any changes to the layout of the works.
If the artist would like the work to be listed for sale for the duration of the exhibition, please include a retail price; Epiphany will take a 30% off of this price for any sales.
Exhibition dates: November 17, 2023 to January 13, 2024
Opening Reception: Friday, November, 17th, 2023, 6-9pm
Entry deadline: September 9, 2023, by 6 pm
Email notification of acceptance: October 15, 2023
Delivery of Accepted Work: Saturday, November 11, 2023, 12-5pm and Tuesday, November 14, 2023, 12-5pm
Pick-up of work: January 16 - 18, 11AM - 3PM Shipping address:
Artists who choose to ship their work are responsible for shipping costs to and from the gallery on the given dates. Email email@example.com to coordinate shipping information and arrangements.
Additional arrangements can be made for drop-off and pick-up. Contact the gallery at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For general information about the exhibit: email@example.com
In case I have to restock some of these beads, I am posting this bead order here so I don't lose it. Order #HAR-34222
Seed Bead #2100 6/0 69019 Aqua Transparent Copper Lined Iris (1/2 Kilo) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 6/0 59439 Peridot Transparent Copper Lined Iris (1/2 Kilo) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 6/0 39039 Light Sapphire Transparent Copper Lined Iris (1/2 Kilo) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 11/0 02090 Alabaster Opal (1/2 Kilo) (LOOSE) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 11/0 05051 White Satin (1/2 Kilo) (LOOSE) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 10/0 02090 Alabaster Opal Transparent (1/2 Kilo) (LOOSE) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 9/0 38649 Crystal Transparent Black Lined (1/2 Kilo) (LOOSE) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 12/0 58205 Crystal Transparent Iris (1/2 Kilo) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 11/0 58205M Crystal Transparent Matt Iris (1/2 Kilo) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 10/0 58205 Crystal Transparent Iris (1/2 Kilo) (LOOSE) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 8/0 02090 Alabaster Opal Transparent (1/2 Kilo)
Seed Bead #2100 7/0 02090 Alabaster Opal (1/2 Kilo) - CLEARANCE
Seed Bead #2100 8/0 32010 Blue Opal Transparent (1/2 Kilo) - CLEARANCE
401 South Spring Street, 3rd Floor
Springfield, IL 62706
July 13, 2023
Subject: Letter of Intent for Request for Qualifications - Project 250-000-022
Dear Art-in-Architecture Program Administrators,
I am writing to ask that you review my RFQ application materials on file for Project 250-000-022, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Springfield, IL. I am eager to contribute my skills, expertise, and artistic vision to this initiative, specifically for either of the following sites:
Throughout my career, I have dedicated myself to refining upcycled items into thoughtful artworks. My commitment to environmental awareness and sustainability aligns perfectly with the goals of Project 250-000-022.
By integrating environmentally conscious themes and recycled materials into my artworks, I aim to create visually stunning pieces that convey a powerful message about protecting our natural resources.
I am confident in my ability to collaborate effectively with professionals involved in this project to ensure a harmonious integration of art and architecture.
I appreciate the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's commitment to fostering a vibrant and sustainable public art landscape. I believe that my artistic vision, combined with my dedication to environmental stewardship, make me an ideal candidate for Project 250-000-022.
Thank you for considering my application.
We’d like to congratulate you on your acceptance into the 2023 Evanston + Vicinity Biennial!
The following piece has been accepted: Arctic Ice Sheet
We encourage you to help us promote this event. We will email you an announcement card including the exhibition website link. Spread the word to family, friends, and acquaintances, or add an announcement to local bulletin boards throughout your community.
Please note the following dates:
August 16 – 20: Artwork delivered to Evanston Art Center (Mon-Thu 9am-6pm, Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm)
August 21 – 25: Installation
Sunday, August 27, 1 – 4pm: Opening Reception
October 1: Biennial Exhibition closes
October 2 – 3: De-Install and Artwork Pick Up
Evanston Art Center reserves the right to refuse any work that differs from the submitted images. All accepted entries will be considered temporary loans to the EAC. The EAC will assume insurance responsibility for the exhibited object upon receipt and inspection and during the exhibition. The EAC loan form is attached.
The following materials are due by Friday, July 27. Please email all materials to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Completed Loan Agreement Form (form attached below)
- Artist Bio
- Artist Statement
- High resolution image of artwork (300 dpi, 2000 pixels on the longest edge)
I had to submit an artist statement for this show. I wrestled with chatgpt to temper the florid beast it spit out. It's still pretty over the top. With chatgpt you have to take a machete to the grandiose adjectives and adverbs.
Arctic Ice Sheet, Julie Mars
Arctic Ice Sheet, a glass and acrylic bead mosaic, integrates my recent artistic exploration and environmental concern. Motivated by the urgent necessity to safeguard our planet’s vital climate, this piece captures the ethereal and diminishing ice cycles of the Arctic.
The use of glass and reflective acrylic beads in Arctic Ice Sheet allows me to convey a dynamic interplay of light and texture, evoking the shimmering translucency of ice formations and the optical effects found in nature.
Through the design of this artwork, I invite viewers to contemplate the delicate balance between human actions and the environment. Arctic Ice Sheet serves as a metaphorical mirror, reflecting our individual and collective responsibility to protect and preserve our planet's fragile ecosystems.
As viewers engage with this mosaic, I hope to evoke a sense of awe and reverence for the natural world. The lustrous tones and intricate patterns invite contemplation, encouraging viewers to reflect on our species’ dependence on a temperate environment.
Arctic Ice Sheet is a testament to the belief that art can serve as a catalyst for change. It is my hope that through this artwork, I can inspire others to embrace a more mindful and eco-conscious approach to both art and consumption.
Together, let us recognize the profound beauty of our planet and take meaningful action to preserve it for generations to come.
Julie Mars' current events, projects, & inspirations.