Tonight Ravenswood ArtWalk launches the first in a monthly art salons and educational seminars for artists, RAWednesdays, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the RAW offices located at 4147 North Ravenswood Avenue. Tonight’s event will be a salon and critique where artists can bring examples of their works for critique by their peers in an open forum. While the critique is for artists and their works, the event is free and open to the general public.
RAWednesdays, scheduled for the first Wednesday of every month, will alternate between a critique on odd months such as January, and an educational seminar on even months, starting February. The February seminar will feature an income tax how-to for artists at the Jane Addams Resource Corporation, 4432 N. Ravenswood.
“[Ravenswood ArtWalk] decided as a board that we did not want to be a one-hit wonder,” says RAW President Laura Engel. “And the artist feedback we got was that they wanted to meet other artists.”
Ravenswood ArtWalk first started in 2001 when founder Judith Roth asked local artists if they wanted to connect with local artists during October’s Chicago Artists Month through a neighborhood event. The event began to pick up steam when a printing company offered to produce a map of artists in the ArtWalk for free. Then, in 2006 Ravenswood ArtWalk applied for 501(c)3 status, “and things just took off,” says Engel.
The ArtWalk is held every year on the first weekend of October — on October 2 and 3, 2010 — and show art for close to 200 artists in 50-60 venues every year.
“The area used to have [many more] real, working artists’ studios through the Ravenswood Corridor,” says Engel. “Byron and Ravenswood had a big building. Cuyler and Ravenswood had about 50 artists and Grace and Ravenswood had twenty to thirty more. But now the buildings have been bought and sold as part of the great gentrification.”
The most recent casualty of Ravenswood’s uptrend is the sale of the Degan Building on Berteau and Ravenswood. The dozen or so artists in that building must vacate by September 30, 2010 so the new owners can take possession, says Engel. Only days before the 2010 ArtWalk.
“Now we ask local businesses to host three or four artists during the ArtWalk,” says Engel. Judging by the number of venues listed in 2009, local businesses seem to be getting on board with that plan.
Update: The article was corrected in two ways since first publishing: The events are called “RAWednesdays” with only one “w” and it was the “Degan” building, not the “Deacon” building that was recently sold.