Jobs Homes Autos For Sale

From hardware store to art gallery
Empty space becomes opportunity for artists
By Rupa Shenoy | Daily Herald Staff

"NetWorking," an interactive knitting art piece by West Chicago resident Anni Holm, will come to the city's artXposium today through Sunday at the former Grobe's True Value, 103 W. Washington St.


Courtesy of Anni Holm

 1 of 1 
print story
email story
Published: 9/21/2007 12:41 AM

Send To:





As a way to draw in the regional art community, West Chicago residents will transform a city institution into an international art gallery this weekend.

The event, being billed as artXposium, will fill the empty Grobe's True Value, 103 W. Washington St., which until recently was a longstanding city fixture. The artXposium will feature local and international traditional, conceptual and multimedia art beginning today through Sunday.

Brian Ries and Anni Holm, who organized the free event, hope to raise money through donations and a silent auction for West Chicago's first international artist residency. The program would bring an artist from abroad to West Chicago for six months to do work inspired by the community.

"If we could build something that's sustainable, I think it would make a really big difference," said Ries, who is registrar at the West Chicago City Museum.

Holm, who is Danish, is an artist who has lived in West Chicago for three years. She contacted Ries about an international art residency, and the two came up with ideas to fund such a program.

"We'd seen the former True Value sitting empty for a long period, and we started talking about how something should happen there," Holm said.

That was a month and a half ago. Since then the city, which now owns the hardware store, agreed to lend it to Holm and Ries, and the pair have worked furiously to prepare.

Holm and Ries e-mailed photographs of the gutted store to artist friends, who sent them to others. The e-mail chains led to 65 artists signing up to participate -- much more than the 50 Holm and Ries were aiming for.

"It's getting a little out of hand, but it's still under control," Holm said.

Some of the artists are preparing pieces specifically for the hardware store; others are bringing work that they have already made.

Holm will contribute an exhibit called "NetWorking," in which up to 15 people can knit the same large red piece at the same time. Ries, also an artist, will hang sheet metal embedded with images from the bed of a stream.

The sheet metal is an homage to the hardware store, he said.

"As we've been getting ready I keep thinking 'I just need to run down the street to Grobe's' for something -- and they're gone," he said. "I miss the place. But I think that even the Grobes are excited about the project."

The event begins at 6 p.m. Friday with a gallery opening, complete with food, wine and beer. Disc jockeys will play music and there will be live performances, including interpretive dance.

The exhibit reopens Saturday at noon. A mini film fest begins at 8 p.m., with animation, fiction, and documentary screenings by Danish, Brazilian and American filmmakers.

On Sunday, starting at 10 a.m., several artists will be on hand to do live performances that relate to installed exhibits.

Throughout the three-day event, Ries and Holm hope to encourage interaction between the local and regional art communities -- to create a niche and name for West Chicago. And they're already planning an "artXposium 2" for next year.

If you go

What: West Chicago's first artXposium, including food, drink, live performances, music, art, film screenings, and a silent auction.

Where: Former Grobe's True Value, 103 W. Washington St.

When: 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Cost: Free, with a $2 suggested donation

Details: (630) 231 3376 or visit