Springboard Arts Chicago - Zaira by Ed Hinkley
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Springboard Arts

Art and architecture will have a sublime fusion within the new Springboard Arts Chicago gallery in the city’s vibrant Wicker Park neighborhood this fall. The gallery, which is expected to be unveiled November 28, 2020, is a 4,500-square-foot space following the establishment of Springboard Arts Chicago’s online presence earlier in the year. It is envisioned as a place where inviting, design-forward architecture and interiors encourage the exploration of a diverse, upcoming program of exhibits in which visitors can discover invigorating works of art and meet their makers.

The Springboard Arts Chicago’s premier exhibition, “Illuminate,” will showcase the work of 15 artists such as mixed-media artist Paul Branton, photographer Gail Mancuso, and sculptor Peter Zelle. The themes set by “Illuminate” will aim to highlight the power of artistic expression during challenging times.

“Art has the power to uplift and inspire. ‘Illuminate’ embraces hope and the capability and resiliency we possess as humans, while our gallery seeks to set a new standard in the art-buying experience,” stated Donna Van Eekeren, chief executive officer and president of Springboard Arts Chicago, in a press release.

Springboard Arts Chicago is spearheaded by a dynamic team led by Van Eekeren, former Executive Chairman of Land O’Frost; Ann Foley, vice president of operations; Tara Jewell, marketing director; and Ashley Freeland Miller, visual director and owner and principal of Chicago-based architecture firm AFM Architect. Designed by Freeland Miller, the gallery will deliver a flexible, modern space that presents its own blank canvas for artists to display their works and encourages contemplation and visual exploration for everyone in it. Lounging areas throughout the space create a comfortable resting point for patrons to relax with a cup of coffee from one of the two in-house bars.

“Our mission for the design was to create a unique gallery space where everyone feels welcome, from first-time art buyers looking to explore the world of art, to seasoned collectors, to designers with a passionate vision for their clients,” stated Freeland Miller in a press release. “This concept drove the design, resulting in a gallery that embraces exploration, choice, connection and comfort—all while remaining a high-end experience for each visitor.”

Immersive experiences in-person and online are intended to make Springboard Arts Chicago and its featured artists accessible for art enthusiasts. Featured in “Illuminate” are works by the award-winning photographer Mancuso, who is known for capturing unique feminine silhouettes of the urban landscape; Zelle, the Minneapolis sculptor who has worked in large scale with glass, clay, and steel for more than 30 years; and Branton, whose gestural paintings explore interactions between people, their environment, and the urban lifestyle.

Other artists comprise Yvette Kaiser Smith, Judit Csotsits, and David Gista, among others, in the gallery’s overall artist roster. Kaiser Smith is an artist who was born in communist-occupied Prague, whose geometric abstractions are visualized numerical values built with grids and the mathematical constants pi and “e.” A deeply complex exploration of the subconscious occurs in Hungary-born Csotsits’ acrylic paintings and pencil prints; while an education at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris helps marry classical sensibilities with a keen eye for modernity in the mixed media and acrylic work of David Gista.

“Chicago is one of the top arts-vibrant cities in the country,” Van Eekeren said. “We welcome our neighbors, collectors, art enthusiasts, and Chicago’s active cultural community to our new gallery to see the works of the enormously talented artists we represent, some of whom are emerging or being represented for the first time.”

Springboard Arts Chicago will be hosting its public grand opening on Small Business Saturday, November 28th, with strict adherence to Chicago’s COVID-19 guidelines. Plans also call for a special sneak peek for Wicker Park residents on November 27th from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. CST. One-hour appointments can be made for those eager to visit the new space beginning November 16th. Upon opening on the 28th, “Illuminate” will run until January 17th, 2021.


Text: R. Collins | Senior Staff Writer

Renderings: Springboard Arts Chicago

Featured Image: “Zaira” by Ed Hinkley

Also Featured: “Blanche” by David Gista (left) | “Labyrinth LVIV” by JT Thompson (right)