Artists in Conversation:

Cheryl Holz

Consider Commissions

I have inadvertently found a niche for myself doing commissions—creating custom, original works for a variety of people, organizations, and situations. Being a mixed media artist, I revel in finding new materials and potential fodder for collage. Commissions have provided unexpected outlets for new materials, concepts, and much-needed revenue!

Abigail Satinsky, Community-Supported Art Chicago

Making Contemporary Art Available to a Wider Public

What is the mission of Community Supported Art Chicago and how exactly does the program work?


Community-Supported Art Chicago is a yearly art subscription service of locally produced art. Borrowing the model of Community-Supported Agriculture, where consumers invest in a local farm and get a monthly payout of fruits and vegetables, threewalls is asking people to invest directly in the arts community

Joshua Ginsberg, Chicago Art Leasing

How I ended up taking the path of "leased" resistance.

Maybe it's a local networking event, a friend of a friend's birthday party, or just a conversation with a cab driver, but the question always comes up: “Chicago Art Leasing? How did you get into that?”

The short answer is that I needed to figure out a Plan B to pay rent once I learned that the company I was working for was going to be closing its doors.

Dmitry Samarov

Why Paint From Life?

It has always been about looking out the window. For more than 20 years now, much of my painting and drawing time has been occupied with watching what goes on outside myself. My day job is driving a cab, which provides ever-changing views. I’ve done dozens of drawings while waiting for passengers.

Nina Weiss

Going with (or Creating!) the Flow

I have been making art continuously since earning my last art degree in 1984. Although I've had a steady career path as a fine artist, I have also embraced opportunities along the way that have enhanced my career.

I have always sought gallery representation and exhibited in galleries since my arrival in Chicago in 1986, including 12 years in

Gigi Rosenberg, The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing

How Artists Can Find Funds

In your book, you write that "A proposal is a creative act like any other." Can you expand upon this comment?

Proposal writing takes time away from all the other things you should be doing like making art, marketing, and grocery shopping. For this reason, I encourage my students to ensure they will benefit from the process of writing a proposal or grant application, even if they don’t win.

Jeff Abbey Maldonado

The Hardest Piece I've Ever Had to Produce

My latest installation, recently on view at the National Museum of Mexican Art, is the most difficult piece I've ever had to produce. It remembers my only child, Jeff Abbey Maldonado, Jr., who was murdered at age 19, just 16 months ago.

The installation is a contemporary ofrenda, or altar, meant to celebrate sprits who have passed into the next realm and return for a night to be with their loved ones. This is celebrated in Mexico on November 1 at midnight.

A Sustainable Model for Arts Partnerships

Joanne Vena, Director of School Partnerships, CCAP

How can an artist combine his or her art practice with giving back to the community and, at the same time, make a living? It’s a question many artists face, and it's one answered by few organizations.

Audrey Niffenegger

Her Fearless Symmetry: Combining Creative Disciplines

Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist who helped establish the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College. She's also a writer and the author of the internationally acclaimed novels The Time Traveler's Wife (2003) and Her Fearful Symmetry (2009). I sat down with Audrey to ask her about working across disciplines, book arts, and the experience of attending art colonies and writers' retreats.

Thea Liberty Nichols, The Robert A. Roth Study Center

A One-of-a-Kind Resource

Intuit’s Robert A. Roth Study Center was established in 1995 on the occasion of the organization’s fifth anniversary. It was named in honor of Bob Roth, who published the Chicago Reader from 1971–1994, and who served as Intuit’s Board President for those first five years, from 1990–1995. Roth made the acquaintance of Princeton-trained art historian Dr. John MacGregor when he was in Chicago over the summers researching artist Henry Darger.

Margaret Wright

Wright Explores What It's Like to Be Alone Together in an Urban Environment

How do you describe your artwork?

The central object in my multimedia installations, which include sound and found objects, is large-scale recombined archival photography that compresses time and allows me to reinterpret events and interactions between groups of people.

What inspires your art?

I am inspired by light, interactions between people, and physical gesture.

Bernard Williams

The Artist Discusses His Relationship with Chicago

UPDATED NOVEMBER 23rd: Bernard Williams receives the 7th annual Achievement Award from The Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Charitable Foundation for the Arts.

Melissa Weber

Reorganizing the World Around Me

How do you describe your artwork?


The display and reframing of objects and materials is central to my art practice. I am intrigued by the mutability of things, the shifting vocabulary of materials, and the creation of unexpected juxtapositions between the mundane and precious. By creating abstract compositions and materialized drawings from porcelain and basic materials I imbue the everyday with newfound value and reveal a reorganization of the world around me.

Luftwerk: Sean Gallero and Petra Bachmaier

This Is Creative Collaboration

How do you describe your artwork?

Luftwerk [looft-work] creates experiential designs through the use of video projections, light, sound, material, and elemental surfaces. Large- and medium-scale installations and environments immerse the viewer in a space/event of imagery, theme, motion, shadow, and light. It's a process of projecting an idea as visual poetry, capturing the realm where the origin of light and its image travel towards its destination.

Nick Bastis

Nick Bastis Discusses Land Use, Vacancy and the Built Environment

How do you describe your artwork?

My work depends on the materials and environments I'm surrounded by and on solving a particular problem.

Rahmaan Statik

Art for the Neighborhoods

How do you describe your artwork?

My artwork represents the human experience and survival in an urban environment. The mediums I use are spray paint, acrylic paint, oil paint, and digital media. I've created projects of various scales—8x11 inches, 200 feet wide, and 40 feet tall.

Nikki Jarecki

An Awareness of the Natural World

How do you describe your artwork?

I work by stitching over drawings on small pieces of linen, cotton canvas, or animal hides. The drawings are based on inspiration from observations and nonfiction concerning the natural world. I want the narrative to be immediately obvious to the viewer.

Sam Kirk

Capturing the Vibrancy of Local Culture

As an artist, why have you chosen to work in Chicago?  

I was born and raised in Chicago. If I were born to a wealthy family, maybe I'd be an artist painting somewhere else, but I'd eventually come back home to Chicago. I adore this city. It's impossible to stop learning or finding inspiration here.

Cheryl Williams - Artist/Activist

Giving Back: Coordinating Community Art Projects with Kids

I have been involved in creating art opportunities in underserved communities using available public spaces. My goal in developing these art projects is to engage children and encourage parents to interact with their children.

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