Shopping for Original Artworks in Chicago
Your purse strings might not stretch to a Georgia O'Keeffe, but Chicago abounds with affordable creations by local talents. Here are our favourite Windy City galleries and stores for buying original artworks.
Want to make that white wall pop? Logan Square’s Galerie F is the hipster go-to for bold, statement-making street art, gig posters, silkscreen prints and urban collectibles. Founded in 2012 by graffiti-obsessed artist, Billy Craven, the gallery serves as a springboard for Chicago’s emerging creatives (notable names include Sentrock, Mosher, Penny Pinch and JC Rivera) with monthly exhibitions and public/private mural projects across the city.
Behind a deceptively small shop front in Lakeview sits The Leigh Gallery’s expansive stash of fabulous, one-off canvasses. With its eclectic but crowd-pleasing selection, spanning almost every style, there’s a strong chance you’ll find a winner, but it’s the lovely owner, pen-and-ink ace Jean Leigh, that makes the gallery a must-visit. Jean not only knows every single one of her 80+ artists, but can provide a backstory for each artwork if prompted, or, she will happily let you browse in peace.
You could lose a whole day at The Art Institute of Chicago, browsing some of the 20th and 21st centuries greatest visionaries (don’t miss the Renzo Piano-designed Modern Wing for its stellar Euro stash), and you’ll easily lose a few dollars in the two museum shops too. The main store is a vast, elegant, monochrome space, lined with silkscreen-print scarves, natty stationery, coffee-table tomes, statement jewellery, colourful Murano glassware, and – if the original Renoir is slightly out of your price range – framed reproductions and vintage prints. The newer Modern Wing store is particularly good for arty books, items relating to current blockbuster exhibs, and exclusive creations from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Indie gifting go-to Sacred Art, located in the mooch-worthy Lincoln Square, champions over 100 artists, movers n’ makers living in Chicago. A dangerously shoppable array of souvenirs and gifts range from ties to tees, original canvasses to limited-run prints, leather-bound notepads to one-off greetings cards, and chunky gems to quirksome homewares you never knew you needed until now. Baggage allowance be damned!
And finally… Art-ficionados will want to return to the Windy City at the end of September for Expo Chicago (27-30 Sep), a whopping contemporary art show at Navy Pier showcasing galleries from 27 countries plus a day symposium of discussions and talks.
Galerie F / 2415 N Milwaukee Ave / Logan Square / +1 872 817 7067 / 11am-6pm Mon & Thu-Sun / galeriefchicago.com
The Leigh Gallery / 3306 N Halsted St / Lakeview / +1 773 472 1865 / 11am-6pm / Mon & Wed-Sun / theleighgallery.com
The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shops / 111 S Michigan Ave / The Loop / +1 800 518 4214 / 10.30am-5.30pm daily, until 8pm Thu / artic.edu
Sacred Art / 4619 N Lincoln Ave / Lincoln Square / +1 773 728 2803 / noon-7pm Tue-Fri, noon-9pm Thu, 11am-6pm, Sat, 11am-5pm Sun / sacredartchicago.com
Expo Chicago / 27-30 Sep, 2018 / expochicago.com