Feature image by PBR street gang/Heart of Darkness

The love of art is what inspired the inception of Pilsen Open Studios nine years ago. That very same love of art, nurtured over time and passed down to younger generations is what will keep this event going strong as an integral part of our future here in Chicago as well as on the national art scene. Evolving to include new up and comers’ studio spaces with the fore folks who laid the foundation provides a brief history lesson on what this event is all about as well as a peek into what our future stands for in a new day and age of Chicago art. Revolving around this love of art is an organic community unification and an idea that art should be inclusive to anyone interested. This is what drives people to Pilsen. This is why Open Studios thrives every October. Involve the people, and they’ll reward you with enthusiastic participation. Where else can we go in the world of art to feel so welcome, so invited, so…pure.

And on the flip side, we have the participation of multiple generations of artists displaying their wide array of talents in just about every medium imaginable in every nook and cranny of beautiful Pilsen – from 16th to 23rd Street and Western Avenue to Halsted Street – no artistic stone went unturned over the awesome autumn weekend.On any given day, you can find awe inspiring art on the walls of Pilsen’s famous cafes, brick edifices and facades, back alleys, street corners and sidewalks. Getting to tour behind the scenes allows patrons a unique opportunity to delve into another dimension. Efebina’s Cafe on Blue Island Ave. featured Divergencias, an awe-inspiring collection from Mabel Vilner and Augusto Yanacopulos.

Prospectus Gallery on 18th Street (est. 1991), the first formal gallery to open in Pilsen featured the impressive installment Pilsen VI, and throughout the gallery they had works from Marcos Raya, Open Studios’ founding mother Montserrat Alsina, Erick Roho Garcia, Together by Eufemio Pulido and Monsanto by one of Gozamos’ favorites Carlos Barberana.

Cobalt Studios on 21st Street created an action figure based show, having artists interpret action in whatever form they saw fit, ranging from social activism to actual action figures. Tune in to Gozamos TV later this week for our full interview with their head honchos Adriana Baltazar and Antonio Martinez.

Original face of Pilsen art, Jeff Maldonado might be responsible for the large crowds and lines leaking out onto 18th Street at A.P.O, but Herman Aguirre, Victoria Martinez and Radio Arte at Yollocalli, Guillermo Delgado at Jumping Bean, the entire crew at Pilsen Vintage and Thrift could all be equally responsible.

With 41 galleries and studios opening their space over 4-5 days, it is a challenge to see absolutely everything. It’s important to keep in mind that so much art – so much good art is viewable for the other 360 days of the year in Pilsen.

Just open your eyes the way our gracious hosts have opened their doors. You’ll see…

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