PILSEN — Hoping to help launch the careers of emerging artists in Chicago, arts and music magazine AMFM will open a new gallery and artist incubator space in Pilsen this weekend.
Part art gallery, part co-working space for local creatives, AMFM will celebrate the space's grand opening with a party from 7 p.m.-Midnight Saturday at the art gallery, 2151 W. 21st St. in Pilsen. The party is open to the public.
AMFM founder Ciera Mckissick said she hopes the new homebase will create a platform for emerging artists, musicians and designers in Chicago — a place to share their work and passions on a larger scale.
“Ultimately, this is for the art community," Mckissick said. "The biggest thing I have found, being a young and emerging creative in Chicago, is the need for space. Space to work, to exhibit, to grow, and to believe, and I owe a large part of this grand opening to those spaces and people who allowed me to do just that throughout Chicago."
The space will not only be a headquarters for the brand, but will also serve as a community space offering co-working for venue rentals, artist residencies and drop-in creative classes where people can learn how to DJ, screen print and other skills from working artists.
A Milwaukee, Wis. native, McKissick launched AMFM as a magazine in 2009 during her senior year at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Aiming to grow the magazine into a lifestyle brand, McKissick moved to Chicago three years ago, and was embraced by Pilsen's thriving community of artists, she said.
McKissick currently holds a residency at the Chicago Art Department, where she was operating AMFM and hosting events, and is a partner of Cultura in Pilsen, where she hosted events before the cultural hub was forced to move out when their landlord doubled their rent this past summer. Cultura in Pilsen now operates under a residency at La Catrina Cafe.
When Cultura in Pilsen moved, Mckissick launched a GoFundMe to secure a permanent space for AMFM, and after a successful campaign, moved into the live/work space on 21st Street.
“This opening is a huge thank you to everyone who I have had the pleasure of working with and those who have believed in me all these years,” Mckissick said.
The opening party will highlight the work of local artists and musicians that the Chicago-based arts, music and fashion brand has worked with over the years, including Jeffrey Gibbs, Lester Rey, DRAMA, Calez, Sylvie Grace, Marco Miller, Rine Boyer, Ivan Vasquez, Imani Amos, Edo, Emma Mckee and others.
Merchandise from a number of local visual and music artists will be for sale, including Chicago Playground, Sam Kirk's Provoke Culture, Michelle Janayea, Hella Vintage Chi, Must Be Nice, ONLi, Amara Black, Oh & Also, Calid B's Afrobang, Drea Smith The Vibe Dealer, Create The New World Brand, Calez and Ivan Vazquez.
Via Rosa will be cooking for the opening party and PBR will also sponsor the event.
Launched in 2009 as an online magazine, AMFM focuses on highlighting emerging artists and hosts pop-up events across the city. Aimed at spreading positivity and community engagement, the brand is known for its large conceptual art shows including Indigo Nation at the Chicago Art Department and its monthly showcase The Jazz Series, which features bands and musicians playing alongside a solo exhibition from a visual artist.
AMFM will open its new art gallery and incubator 2151 W. 21st St. in Pilsen with a party Saturday. [AMFM]
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