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Creativity Can Resurrect Englewood, Owner of New Art Gallery Says

 Nuri Madina (r.) is shown with an artist in Louisiana. Madina said an art center like his in Englewood kept him out of trouble in his youth.
Nuri Madina (r.) is shown with an artist in Louisiana. Madina said an art center like his in Englewood kept him out of trouble in his youth.
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Nuri Madina

ENGLEWOOD — Nuri Madina II thinks a little creativity could go a long way in Englewood.

Madina recently opened the Englewood Enterprise Gallery at 7039 S. Wentworth Ave. and is offering everything from hat-making classes to courses on how to make money selling art.

“I feel like at a time like now, with the violence and drugs in impoverished areas, especially Englewood, I think that creativity is one of the tools we can use to help resurrect the community,” Madina said.

Madina grew up in Back of the Yards, right on the border with Englewood, but says he always claimed Englewood as his neighborhood. He said he used to spend time at an art center in Englewood when he was 13, and it helped him stay on the right path growing up.

“I was getting into a little trouble, and what pushed me to put myself in a better place in life was a community art center in Englewood,” he said. “It really opened me up and allowed me to appreciate my creative talents and skills.”

His art gallery opened Oct. 3. He said he chose Englewood over places like Bronzeville and the South Loop because he wanted to make an impact on the neighborhood where he grew up. He said he hoped to help young people discover a talent they might not recognize they have.

His gallery offers room for artists to come in and do their own projects or work with other artists.

“When someone comes in, we can get them set up at a space, where it’s like a DIY project,” he said. “We give them the instructions, and we help facilitate.”

Madina is on the business side of things, but works closely with other artists. (His mother teaches the sewing classes.) One of his goals is to introduce artists, particularly teens, to the business side of art.

“I want to utilize the equipment to help inspire and empower others through creativity,” he said, “show them how they can take their creativity and work to create a sustainable lifestyle by turning it into a business.”

These types of creative classes will be offered weekly, by appointment only.

Other plans for the gallery include creating a network of artists. Madina is working on ways to rent the space to other local artists who need a place to work or hold an exhibit. Their work also would be included in the work his gallery sells and markets.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, he is offering hat- and T-shirt-making courses and painting classes. Registration is through eventbrite.  Cost is $11.54.  Small stations will be set up with facilitators giving instructions to class participants.

With the holiday approaching, Madina is offering an ornament-making class and a handmade Christmas gift-making class. The holiday special is $10 for a two-hour class.

“In line with the gift-giving season, I wanted to make sure we included some stuff that would interest people during the holiday season,” Madina said. “We encourage family projects. A parent and child can do a little creative project together.”

For more information or to sign up for a class, contact Madina at 773-719-9848 or email EnterpriseGallery@gmail.com. Work from the gallery can be viewed on Facebook at Englewood Enterprise Gallery.

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