I’ve learned so much about art event organizing from the all-female collective known as Las Artelitas. As an observer – and full disclosure, also as a participant – I’ve been witness to some of the challenges faced when bringing art exhibits to the Little Village neighborhood and I’ve also been witness to the empowerment felt throughout a crowd as music, art and culture come together as one, to highlight parts of who we are and how important our presence is.
If it wasn’t for Las Artelitas I wouldn’t have challenged myself to create a piece in one of their exhibits. It was so tough, y’all! Seriously! It made me question so many things… mostly about myself. It made me take a closer look at who I was, what I wanted to represent and/or already represented and it drove me crazy until I was able to acknowledge that anything I created, no matter how much it got criticized – yes, yes it did and that’s okay – was still a work of art because I took the time to create it. It came from me and its value comes from knowing I used my creativity – no matter how little or big – to make a statement. The only acknowledgement I needed after that was that it be part of the exhibit.
At the last event, the Methods of Education exhibit, I was in awe of a little girl running in with her friend and rushing to a small table of work. “I did this!” she exclaimed. “I did all this,” she repeated and proceeded to tell her friend about each piece of art she had created. That moment gave me so much hope. It acknowledged, without saying it, that exhibitions in general need to be more inclusive. That moment also cemented the fact that these events need to continue.
As winter sets in, Las Artelitas will be taking a break with their events but will be back in full swing for Spring. They are celebrating with a closing season exhibition this Friday and I hope you’ll join them/us and all the artists who’ve taken the time to showcase a little piece of themselves. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a little piece of my poetry in one of my potluck empanadas.
A note from the organizers:
“We want to thank you all for the immeasurable ways you have helped us grow this year. Without your support we would not have been able to host 6 events that discussed social issues, the power and meaning of womanhood and the ways in which our society approaches education. These shows have been multigenerational, diverse, and outlets for building and discussing culturally and politically relevant themes.
This year we also had the opportunity to begin a project to collect school supplies for La Villitas youth. Education is important to all of Las Artelitas and this is a project we will carry on when we return for the 2017 season.
This Friday we will be celebrating all of the people who walked through our doors, showed work and brought life to our space.
We will be celebrating Dia de Los Muertos and our hibernation for winter and we would love for you to join us for the last get together of the year.
Friday, October 28th, 2015
2320 S. Kedzie
Feel free as always to bring a dish for the potluck or an item for the community altar.
Las Artelitas <3
All ages. Free. Donations welcome.
Music. Art. Community. Laughter.