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Lincoln Park Gallery Hopes to Jump Start Artists' Careers

By Paul Biasco | September 30, 2013 6:39am
 Robin B Gallery is set to open on Armitage Avenue Thursday.
Robin B Gallery
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LINCOLN PARK — A soon-to-open art gallery in Lincoln Park hopes to serve as a jumping-off point for emerging artists.

Robin B Gallery is set to open Thursday at 1123 W. Armitage Ave., and its initial exhibit, "Celebrate Chicago," features the work of 28 artists.

"I wanted to give some people a chance," said Robin Bartelman, namesake and owner of the gallery. "In established galleries, especially in major cities, you have to have a portfolio of work."

The pieces include paintings, illustrations, prints and jewelry, ranging in price from as low as $175 for an original piece up to $4,800.

"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to own a piece of fine art," Bartelman said.

The space also includes an area in the front with jewelry and gifts from independent artists.

There's even a wall of "guy stuff" such as a 6-foot-long Chicago Bears license plate made from reclaimed materials.

Bartelman spent 30 years working in commercial architecture and interior design before finally realizing her dream in opening the gallery.

During her architectural career, she continuously worked with young artists and realized that many of them never had a venue to show their pieces.

That led to the idea to create Robin B Gallery.

"How do you get a start if no one is willing to give you one?" she said. 

Bartelman's initial group of artists include a Chicago Public Schools teacher as well as a former truck driver who is now in his 80s and has never been in a gallery before.

Robin B is hosting a grand opening Thursday from 6-9 p.m., and many of the artists who are on display will be present.

Each month the gallery will rotate and exhibit a new space.

"A lot of these artists bust their ass, seriously they work so hard," Bartelman said. "This is your first chance at a go in making it in the art world."