Chicago Green Jobs

Apartment Galleries: When Art, Booze, and Personal Sustainability Collide
May 24, 2009, 6:50 pm
Filed under: Chicago Green Businesses

Art or party? For dozens of Chicagoans hosting art galleries in their personal living spaces, there is no distinction. I lucked into a stellar bike tour of west side apartment galleries this weekend and got a window into a way of living I had no idea even existed.

Bill Gross, who hosts 65 Grand, told us that he decided to open a gallery in his apartment because “a lot of the work I liked wouldn’t find a home most places, so I decided to bring it to my home.”  Bill first began hosting art and artists in one of the four rooms in his apartment. About a year later, he decided to expand his gallery to half his living space — at the same time that his girlfriend moved in. As an artist and collector herself, she too feels lucky to have the chance to live with incredible work.

Of course, running a gallery means hosting people, not just art. One host described her gallery as an excuse for a bunch of people to get together to look at art and drink. It’s a tight-knit community with the same crew of folks supporting each other in their endeavors. Selling happens sometimes, but drinking happens more.

Corporations, utilities, and professional firms hire my company to build a culture of sustainability. We talk to folks about personal sustainability, which is about aligning your every-day actions with your values. For example, if a healthy planet is important to you, then choose to switch to green cleaners or recycled paper products year-round instead of confining your environmentalism to doing a park clean-up once a year on Earth Day.

Rather than confining their passion to occasional visits to a museum, these gallery owners are opening their homes and lives to art and artists. Their values and their actions are beautifully aligned, and they are living their lives with intention. I am in the beginning of launching PSP with a new client, and I am grateful to have a reminder of how deep personal sustainability can go.

Lucia Fabio, proprietor of Mini-Dutch, is on the verge of moving to LA and closing down her space. Just before she served up a slammin’ good bbq for the hungry crew of cyclists, she talked a bit about what she’s learned from running a gallery in her apartment. “I’ve learned that you have to be passionate about art if you’re going to live with it. I’ve learned about discipline – how to open my space when I didn’t feel like it because I decided to take on the responsibility. And I’ve learned how to open my home to others.” Will she be opening an apartment gallery in LA?