Pilsen is one of Chicago’s main art districts, and the neighborhood is home to more than thirty celebrated galleries. The Chicago Arts District sponsors Gallery Nights bimonthly events, where local galleries open their doors all evening and welcome patrons for wine, snacks, and art. The National Museum of Mexican Art is also located in Pilsen.
National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W. 19th street, Chicago, Illinois.
From the past to the present, the history of Mexico and its people is complex and multi-faceted. This is why the Museum is committed to creating a wide range of exhibitions that present a vibrant and diverse picture of Mexico and its history, as well as of Mexican communities in the United States.
From ancient Mesoamerican civilizations to contemporary artistic expression, the National Museum of Mexican Art has a long-standing history of producing unique exhibitions with first-voice scholarship. In fact, 20 exhibitions organized by the Museum have traveled across the United States and Mexico to other museums. By interpreting Mexican history and culture and sharing it with these audiences, we are working to preserve the knowledge and expand people’s appreciation of the Mexican culture.
Pilsen is the most casual of Chicago’s three main art districts (River North and West Loop are the other two). Works are largely by Chicago locals, and there’s a good deal of folk art. A great time to come here is on Second Fridays, when the 20 or so Pilsen galleries –known collectively as the Chicago Arts District– all stay open late on the second Friday of each month to welcome throngs of wandering art patrons with wine, snacks, and freshly hung paintings, ceramics and photos. It’s free, and takes place between 6pm and 10pm.
Regular gallery hours are erratic, though most are closed Sunday and Monday. For the part of Pilsen where the galleries are located, the number 8 Halsted St bus beats the Pink Line train.
The following are some of the best bets in Pilsen: 4Art Inc, which specializes in large-scale group shows; Artpentry, urban art, with items like vintage luggage fashioned into speakers, usually only open during the art hop; and South Halsted Gallery, a husband and wife who display their cartoon-y paintings and drawings.
Chicago Art District
Chicago Arts District 1945 S.Halsted St. Chicago, Illinois.
Overview: Through three generations of property assembly and private investment, the Chicago Arts District now encompasses a number of contiguous blocks of creative space. Live and work spaces, gallery, loft, studio, office, industrial, and exhibition space are all offered by Podmajersky, Inc. The company is more than a property owner. It is a steward of the neighborhood, voluntarily assuming responsibilities that are typically the province of local government. During the last ten years, the Chicago Arts District staff, working closely with the team at Podmajersky, Inc., has supported more than 100 creative entrepreneurs in starting, growing, and marketing their art businesses.
Supported by Podmajersky, Inc., the independent staff of CAD connects the public with the neighborhood and its artists through programs and outreach. A monthly newsletter and website showcase the work of its artists. Popular programs include the Pilsen East Artists Open House, now in its 42nd year; 2nd Fridays Gallery Night, a monthly collaborative opening of the thirty galleries of the Chicago Arts District; showPOD, a public art project based on an installation format, as well as numerous special events designed to connect people with an authentic art experience.
Vision: With a passion for infill development, urban planning, quality of life issues, and sensitive design, John Podmajersky III holds a vision for the neighborhood. He sees an outstanding pedestrian community, with the charm of the old world and the excitement made possible by a vibrant multi-cultural city like Chicago.