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'I Paint My Mind' Arts Group Finds Home in Logan Square's Green Exchange

By Victoria Johnson | October 16, 2013 6:50am
 The I Paint My Mind gallery will open Thursday at the Green Exchange, 2545 W. Diversey Ave.
I Paint My Mind Gallery Opening
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LOGAN SQUARE — The previously nomadic I Paint My Mind nonprofit arts group has found a permanent home in Logan Square's sustainable office and retail development, Green Exchange.

The group, which offers a variety of support services to Chicago artists, will celebrate the gallery's grand opening Thursday with a reception and exhibit.

"Our mission is really to publish art coverage and connect the public with emerging art and music in a meaningful way," I Paint My Mind founder Evan La Ruffa said. "We try to rethink the way nonprofits work in using market-based revenue streams to fund what we do."

For instance, instead of out and out giving money for an artist to complete a work, the group might do something like pay for a printmaker's prints and then share in the revenue from selling them.

The opening exhibit, titled "Chicago Is" will feature the work of six artists who all receive help from the organization in one form or another.

A major component of the group's work is also publishing. Its website, IPaintMyMind.org, features articles, videos and audio clips that showcase the works of various local artists and musicians.

"Artists need exposure," said painter Joyce Owens, one of the artists whose work will be on display in the "Chicago Is" exhibit.

Though the 66-year-old painter and teacher is more established than some of the emerging artists at I Paint My Mind, she finds that even artists who have been at it for a while can be helped by its services.

"For an artist like me, you know, the art scene has changed dramatically over the years," she said. "A lot of the galleries that were here are gone, or they've had to transform themselves into other sorts of entities."

With fewer places to display and sell their work, artists are left on their own to try to make a living off their work.

A website is a must-have for all artists, Owens said, but a centralized one like I Paint My Mind's may be able to do even more to display their pieces.

"It seems like it would work with current trends," she said. "I'm thrilled to see someone like Evan doing this. It's going to be very meaningful, I think."

La Ruffa said he's thrilled to have a permanent place for the group to do its work. In the year since it was established, the group has had to set up exhibits wherever it could, such as a recent one at Willye B. White Park in Rogers Park.

"We're excited about opening our first permanent gallery," he said. "A big part of what we want to do is that gallery initiative, and it's definitely a big step for our organization, just as far as a place we can headquarter all our editorial and publishing as well as our support services."

Those who wish to attend the free gallery opening are asked to RSVP here.