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Rogers Park Art Collective Would Help Lonely Artists, Organizers Say

 Chicago artists Jennifer Sowinski (l.), Lauren La Rose (m.) and Salome Chasnoff plan to start an art collective in Rogers Park.
Chicago artists Jennifer Sowinski (l.), Lauren La Rose (m.) and Salome Chasnoff plan to start an art collective in Rogers Park.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

ROGERS PARK — A group of art lovers, therapists and activists hope to draw reclusive neighborhood artists out of their lonely studios or apartments and into a shared art collective somewhere in Rogers Park.

"Being an artist has become an increasingly isolating experience — most artists are really struggling," said Salome Chasnoff, of Edgewater, who's uniting area artists to open the new collective this summer. "It can be a place where you can feel that you're part of a community."

Chasnoff, founder of arts nonprofit Beyondmedia Education, said the collective would instill in artists "a feeling of belonging that counteracts the isolation that plagues so many artists."

Chasnoff and more than two dozen other artists, therapists and yoga instructors have met to organize a fundraising effort to get the collective off the ground.

Next up would be to get community support and then find a storefront to open shop.

Artist Lauren La Rose, 28, said the space could include studios for not only artists but also room for film screenings, workshops, yoga classes and counseling sessions — all open to the public.

"It's a way of bringing all these different practices together and offering a wide range of services, not only to the community but also to other artists," she said.

La Rose said after she graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010 she felt "a lot of isolation in my practice."

Now she craves more artistic interactions.

"I'm so inspired and motivated when I'm in a space where that spirit and energy is present," she said. "You learn so much from your peers and other artists, and it opens possibilities that you may have never thought of before."

La Rose said the collaborative could operate similarly to the Mess Hall, a gallery and community space on Glenwood Avenue that closed last year.

Artist Jennifer Sowinski, who has been working out of her Jarvis Avenue storefront studio for six years, said she "enjoys the peace and productivity" found while working alone.

"But I am on my own," she said. "It recently dawned on me I don't have to do it that way."

Chasnoff said it's not only the artists who are missing out when their work never makes it out of the studio or apartment closet.

"The community is lacking because they are not being exposed to her work. The rest of us are missing something," she said. "It's really important for us to be involved with a lot of different ideas and points of view — and it can't happen when we're home alone."

Artists who are interested in joining the collaborative are encouraged to contact Chasnoff for more details.

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