I love to visit the Fine Arts Building on Michigan at Congress on the second Friday of the month. Lots of artists, lesson givers and other business people selling all kinds of things open their doors, serve refreshments and give visitors a chance to experience the halls of a building that has never changed with the passage of time. The building still boasts elevator operators, old bathrooms, dim lighting and the smell of rich wood, punctuated by a whiff of old linoleum, not to mention a 4th floor hidden private garden/terrace that makes you feel as though you are in Venice.
I swear that the dust particles may very well be those that touched the drafting table of Frank Lloyd Wright, who had a small studio there and in which he met up with his paramour Mamah Cheney
more than 100 years ago; and I can still hear my former acting teacher saying "Yes! Yes! Yes! You've got it!"--and who was killed by a lunatic in his studio in the building several decades ago.
During a visit many a moon back, I met artist Anita Miller, owner of a small gallery
on the eighth floor that showcases her work and the work of other artists who cross her path. We clicked. There was something about Miller--and I'm sure she felt the same--that made me feel I knew her all my life. We bonded. Emailed. Became Facebook friends. But then, we discovered at some point why the sympatico: We both had autistic kids--who had become autistic adults. We had travelled the same path. It was clear why we bonded.
Tomorrow night Miller's gallery will be open and she will be showcasing something special--an "Amazing Art Quilt" made by 30 autistic people. Miller says the piece is a "really cool contemporary artwork, beautiful and energy charged" which is the result of a collaborative effort that taps into what the autistic participants loved: color, design and energy. "They sat down, selected colors and decided how long to spin a picture," she explains.
The gallery in room 827 at 410 S. Michigan will be open tomorrow and Tuesday from 5 to 9 PM in honor of Chicago Artists Month
. Miller's regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday from 2 to 5 PM. I guarantee a living history experience when you enter the building: yesterday's lifestyle today.
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