WICKER PARK — An empty storefront on a stretch of sidewalk that gets plenty of foot traffic has been transformed into an eclectic gallery featuring handmade works by 17 local and national artisans.
Artist Matteo Billitteri creates intricate wooden sculptures and glass mosaics out of a private studio in the back of a storefront at 1941 W. Division St. and decided to open the unused front portion of the building to the public last week.
"I know so many talented people," Billitteri said. "There's a great deal of time that goes into making a fine piece of craft and I wanted to share these works and promote American craftsmanship."
So far, Billitteri said the response from neighbors and shoppers has been good and that "people are definitely curious and looking into the windows."
The small shop displays fine art that could be given as gifts, such as blown glass ornaments, hand painted silk scarves, satchels that fit electronic tablets, pottery and jewelry made out of paper fibers. Prices range from $12 on the low-end for stocking stuffers such as a stone-shaped bar infused with oils that keeps hands from getting dry to a $1,200 framed painting of a forest.
Gallery 41 hours are 2-6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday to Sunday. The phone number is 773-712-8489.