Chicago is filled with female entrepreneurs of all sorts living their dream and there is no shortage of those dedicating their life to art and artists. Here is a list of 4 inspiring women and their galleries that everyone should visit.
Lynn Basa, Corner Gallery
As a successfully commissioned artist with her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Lynn Basa knows a thing or two about art and bringing talented artists to the forefront. Corner Galleryis still fairly new—having opened in February 2015—and is situated in a corridor of Avondale rich with history. Corner showcases multi-disciplinary works and installations inspired by the space itself and takes pride in exhibiting work that audiences can submerge themselves into. But she doesn’t do it alone, Basa explains. Corner’s gallery director, Grace Needleman, is a big part of it. “We decide jointly about which artists ultimately get to do a residency and installation, but she is increasingly taking the lead in finding and working with the artists. People gave me opportunities like that to prove myself when I was younger and I'm glad to have the chance to pay it forward.”
2912 North Milwaukee Avenue
Mikelle Kruger, Kruger Gallery
Mikelle Kruger not only owns Kruger Gallery here and in Marfa, Texas but she recently had twins and is now the mother of five. The Chicago-based gallery focuses primarily on representing emerging artists working in various mediums. As an artist as well, Kruger speaks to managing her art and gallery and how they blend seamlessly. “My favorite thing about being an artist and running my own gallery is having a comprehensive view of the whole process. As an artist, I have a deep empathy for art making; and as a gallerist, a deep respect for the patronage needed to bring strong work to an audience.” For now, Kruger is concentrating on raising her growing family but hopes to have an artist in residency program at Marfa and eventually open a third gallery in Berlin.
3709 North Southport Avenue
Sydney Stoudmire, Woman Made Gallery
Woman Made Gallery (WMG) has been around for quite some time—having been founded in 1992 by Beate Minkovski—the noncommercial, not-for-profit organization is dedicated to supporting female-identified artists which is likely why the organization has been running for over two decades, explains Sydney Stoudmire, executive director at WMG. “WMG is the only gallery space whose mission is specifically feminist and this makes the gallery an indispensable part of Chicago's creative landscape. I think people realize this and connect with the work we are doing whether they are an artist or not. There is no doubt we would not be here without the hard work, love, and support of Chicago women.” WMG continues to display relevant work with their latest exhibition “code/switch,” which features work inspired by technology while exploring the factors that contribute to the disparaging gender gap and digital divide in STEM fields.
685 North Milwaukee Avenue
Monique Meloche, Monique Meloche Gallery
Monique Meloche has an extensive background working in the art world. Trained as an art historian, Meloche worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Rhona Hoffman Gallery and Kavi Gupta Gallery (then known as Vedanta) before she opened Monique Meloche Gallery (MMG) in her own home in 2000. When 350 people appeared for the opening night, she knew she needed a real gallery space and opened it shortly after in 2001. Now, she is celebrating 15 years at her third gallery in Bucktown/Wicker Park and she is still going strong. MMG is dedicated to fostering young emerging artists and its nurturing philosophy doesn’t stop at just providing them with exposure. Meloche also travels all over the world to support their exhibitions, she explains. “The best part of my job is the personal interaction with the artists and helping to grow their careers from unknown artists to global players in museum collections worldwide. I travel constantly to visit my artists in their studios, support their exhibitions outside the gallery in museums and biennials around the world. “They inspire me by their creativity and unstoppable drive to have a voice through their art."
2154 West Division Street