Saturday, December 19, 2009

50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS: A Group Show


How many Chicagoans know what their alderman looks like? How many Chicagoans can tell you who their alderman is, and what he or she has been doing lately? We’re not pollsters, so we don’t have any hard data to provide answers to these questions — but we are artists, and we’re interested in using art as a vehicle in depicting and learning more about the aldermen who represent us at City Hall. To this end, we invite other Chicago artists to join us in producing 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS: A group exhibition of portraits that will enable people to learn more about the 50 aldermen who make up the Chicago City Council, and raise awareness of local government. On Friday, March 19, 2010 from 7-11pm, Old Style proudly presents 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS at the Johalla Projects Gallery, 1561 N. Milwaukee.

For the exhibit, 50 artists from across Chicago will be invited to choose one alderman to feature in a 16″x22″ portrait, using their media of choice. Participating artists will be required to interview or attempt to interview the alderman they are depicting. All 50 aldermen will be invited to the opening, which will include biographical information and a voter registration table. In addition to the show, we hope to feature the 50 alderman portraits — as well as portraits of Richard M. Daley and Cook County Board President Todd H. Stroger — in an "alternative voting guide."

Aldermen serve four-year terms, during which they vote on regulations and rules that affect all of us. And sometimes they participate in the notorious Chicago political machine: Since 1974, 30 aldermen have been convicted of federal crimes ranging from tax evasion to bribery. (A couple of others died before going to trial.) Whether ethical or corrupt, aldermen make our city what it is, and make Chicago’s history. 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS hopes to acknowledge this fact, as well as celebrate the richness of our local political culture.

The kickoff event for 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS will be Friday, Feb. 5 from 7-9 PM at Debonair Social Club, 1575 N. Milwaukee. This event will be a meet-and-greet for all artists involved, and will be where artists are matched up with aldermen. This will also be an opportunity to answer any questions artists may have.

In keeping with the spirit of 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS, the League of Women Voters of Chicago will register voters at both the Feb. 5 and March 19 events. We are asking artists who participate in the show to donate 25% of the sale of their work to the LWV.

March 12: Deadline for art delivery
$20 entry fee, with 10% of sales going to cover costs of the event.
25% of sales for the League of Women Voters of Chicago (suggested)