The new Motor Row Gallery (MRG) has emerged on Chicago’s historic Near South Side in the heart of what is known as the Motor Row District. The fact that the gallery is sheltered in the unsuspecting venue of a U-Haul rental facility, well, that’s just the kind of inimitable type of beauty you’d expect to find in Chicago.
The gallery is cozily embedded inside of a Motor Row Lofts building owned by Suzanne Weaver, who has also been running a U-Haul business with her husband from there for the past two and a half years. Motor Row Gallery is an alternative gallery space curated by Weaver’s friend of thirteen years Pamela Staker with a special focus on pop-up art exhibitions and special events. For instance, Staker and Weaver have future plans to hold art expositions outdoors in the warmer months, making use of the extra U-Haul vans that aren’t rented out. Artists would rent a truck where they could display anything from paintings and sculptures to functional and installation work. Since the space would ultimately belong to the artists, they would have free reign on how they chose to present their work in their creative space.
The inaugural receptions were held on November 14 and 16, which, according to Weaver, was a splendid success. The opening exhibition is available for viewing till December 7, with gallery hours Monday through Saturday, 9am to 3pm. The gallery’s first exhibition showcases vivid mixed media work in glass, work on paper, painting, found object assemblage, sculpture, and furniture by both emerging and mid-career Chicago artists 3-Switch, Amy Donaldson, Andrew Kephart, Bryan Sperry, Christine Forni, Clarisse Perrette, and Mary Livoni. There are also paintings and mixed media collages on view by both Staker and Weaver.
Motor Row Gallery is a dream long in the making, says Weaver enthusiastically, “I wanted to start the gallery for a couple years now; it just took time for the two of us to get time together!” Apart from running the aforementioned U-Haul dealership, Weaver was an interior designer for many years, having graduated from Harrington College of Design. Staker, who received her BFA in painting from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has also been busy this past year by curating The Art of Healing exhibit earlier this October at The Loft on Lake.
The big plans Staker has for MRG correlate with her thoughts that there should be more interdisciplinary exhibitions in Chicago’s flourishing art scene saying, “One of the goals is to bring together several disciplines in one space. I’ve had a strong desire to get these artworks out of artist’s studios and see how they transform in a curated environment.” (Mahjabeen Syed)
Exhibition continues through December 7 at Motor Row Gallery, 2345 South Michigan.