Illuminations Art Experience Lights Up Edgewater Storefronts

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By: Alyssa Armanino (Loyola sophomore), Oliver Connelly (Loyola senior), Ehmed Nauman (Loyola junior), Adrian Cabral (Loyola senior)

Edgewater is home to an endless supply of community art galleries and events that make it one of Chicago’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

Throughout the month of October, numerous local artists worked together to create the project Illuminations: An Edgewater Art Experience, featuring exhibits in storefronts along Broadway, Bryn Mawr, and Granville that brought new, free, and accessible art to the community. 

A yearly project, Illuminations allows artists to showcase their work while also fueling new inspiration to the surrounding community following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event featured works from artists working with a variety of media and subject matter. Melina Scotte, a Chicago artist who also has created murals in Elgin, Lemont, and Oak Park was asked to have her work displayed for Illuminations.

Scotte said, “I have always enjoyed painting with blacklight

Art by Melina Scotte

paint and wanted the opportunity to display it in Edgewater for the community there.”

Her eye-catching, vibrant pieces are free to view right next to the CTA redline Granville stop and have been well received by the community as her energetic pieces create bright and lively surroundings for locals. 

She said, “I received really nice comments and kind words with respect to my artwork. People seem to enjoy the variety of artists and have given me a great experience.” 

Art by Natasha Wheat

Another artist, Natasha Wheat, a keyholder of Mess Hall, a Rogers Park cultural center, has work featured on the corner of Broadway and Ardmore. She often collaborates with local businesses and artists to bring communities closer and expose people to different aspects of Chicago neighborhoods. 

Wheat said, “This work was originally made for an exhibition I had called Self Contained at the MCA Chicago. I collaborated with chefs who ran underground restaurants, food activists, activists and artists, farmers.”

The piece that was featured was a noticeable portrayal of the challenges that these workers face in their everyday lives which during the COVID-19 pandemic, is especially pertinent to today. 

She said, “We looked at the history of Museology and

Art by Natasha Wheat

Uprising. This neon sat quietly on the wall amidst this installation, waiting to light the night in some dark corner of the earth when everyone simultaneously stops being polite about subjugation.”

Edgewater continues to feature local artists throughout the year in various community projects that keep the neighborhood alive with creativity. 

Wheat said, “I believe that art has the capacity to immediately shift our experience, and to collapse the terms around us. And this might be our purist experience of freedom, even if it’s only for a moment.” 

For more information on Edgewater community projects, visit https://www.edgewater.org/

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