Thursday, January 31, 2013

[messhall] Mess Hall Closing: Final Months

"Art is Business" Reposted for the Mess Hall

This is the announcement list for Mess Hall, an experimental cultural center
 in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Mess Hall hosts a printed matter
archive, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, public projects, actions, events,
meals, and more.

Reading Area

Mess Hall
6932 N Glenwood, Chicago
just across from the Morse stop on the Red Line

Don't Mourn. Organize.”[messhall] Mess Hall Closing: Final Months
Joe Hill

Dear Mess Hall friends,
Mess Hall was founded in 2003 through the efforts of a wide community of artists who were given the free use of a storefront space at 6932 N. Glenwood Ave in Rogers Park. “Surfing on surplus,” we sought to develop a generosity economy in the cultural life of the neighborhood and city. We wanted cultural spaces run by the people who use them, and to explode the myth of scarcity by
redistributing surplus at every level of production and consumption. Ten years later, private property, following the inevitable trajectories of its calculus, reasserts itself. As of March 31st, Mess Hall will no longer exist.

International Art Group of Rogers Park,
Sunday Dinner and Artist Talk 2011 at MessHall

Over the last decade, Mess Hall has hosted thousands of exhibits, lectures, workshops, free stores and other events that don't fit easily into the norms of culture prescribed by neoliberal capitalist society. The space has seen several generations of “key holders” and has evolved to meet the needs of the neighborhood and the challenges of organizing freedom during the Great Recession. Now, in our final months in this incarnation, we invite you to participate in a series of public events that address our beloved experimental center in the past and future tenses. What was this? What might it become?

Some events are directed to the past, in order to consolidate the knowledge the space has helped to create and mourn its passing. Others turn away from closure, in order to extend the spirit of Mess Hall into the future. Now more than ever we need to create practices, spaces and counter-institutions that resist the reification of our daily lives, relations and aspirations.
We welcome your participation in these events:

 *Saturday 16 February – Friday 23 March*

Mess Hall 2003-13 / Our Collective Future

This on-going exhibit will display selections from the Mess Hall archives alongside your own memories of the space and community responses to a questionnaire about what Mess Hall was to residents of Rogers Park and what paces will take its place once its gone. The exhibit will be on display  during all Mess Hall events, and questionnaires will be available in the distribution box by our door. Please send us your memories of Mess Hall, or stop by to fill out a questionnaire.

Chicago Calling Arts Festival- 2007
Saturday, 23 February, 2:00 – 5:00 pm*

The Material Production of Cultural Space I.
The first of two workshops exploring practical models for building counter- institutions that are non-commercial, consensual and community driven. Two guest speakers will offer concise presentations on the labor, tactics, skills and monetary investments required to forge/forage alternative cultural spaces in Chicago. The focus of our discussion to follow will be on concrete models or building worker-owned co-operatives, liberated houses, and counter-economies. As Mess Hall closes its doors, we wish to think in practical terms about how to establish and maintain spaces reclaimed from the dictates of private ownership.

Saturday, 2 March, 2:00 – 5:00 pm*

The Material Production of Cultural Space II.
See previous event; different featured groups will present on the production of alternative spaces and economies.

*Saturday, 16 March, 12:00 – 7:00 pm*

First Drafts for an Uncertain Future that May Kick Ass if We Work Together

A day-long conference for everyone interested in the future of alternative cultural spaces in Chicago. We will mix practicality with dreams, fantasies and hallucinations in order to brainstorm about future shapes the spirit of Mess Hall might assume. We will ask a multitude of participants with practical knowledge about the development of anti-commerical, community oriented counter-institutions to diagram their wildest dreams for spaces/sites/programs that defy the logic of marketplace. A brunch-luck will be served from 12:00 –1:00, followed by several round-table discussions designed to explore the realities of the present by reflecting upon our dreams for the future. All participants are invited to bring diagrams of their dreams for free cultural spaces and the freaky communities that might inhabit them.
*Sunday, 24 March, 10:00 – 4:00 pm*

The Really, Really, Really, Really Free Store Mess Hall's Free Store is closing its doors, so we're having a Free Store Final Blowout Super Giveaway. Everything must go! It was free to begin with so just imagine the discounts you'll find at our going-out-of-business anti-sale! This final free store at Mess Hall brought to you by the generosity of the White Rose Catholic Workers.

 *Friday, 29 March, 7:00 pm – Midnight*

 Farewell to Mess Hall: Closing Ceremonies and Celebration
Join us for our final gathering in the space. We will say our farewells with a
parade, a key-tossing ceremony and a night-long party. The current key-holders
 do not wish to leave the space alone. We will leave it as we found: together.
 That about wraps it up, folks. Mark your calendars, and check our website
( and e-mail announcements in the coming months for these and
many other events. In the meantime, we invite you to send us letters to/for/
about Mess Hall—we are seeking memories, rants, photographs—anything you can
offer us as we say farewell to this haphazard, beloved institution. Please
send any memories or materials you may have to with the

subject line “Mess Hall Memories.”
International Art Group of Rogers Park,
Sunday Dinner and Artist Talk 2011 at Mess Hall

It has been a pleasure & honor to sustain this on-going experiment with all of
 you. We will miss seeing you in this space, and hope to rediscover each other
in the context of new experiments with generosity-driven culture. Our thanks
 to Al Goldberg, who has given us use of the space these ten years, and who
 intends to re-open 6932 N. Glenwood Ave. as a center for spiritual practices.
 Yours in the on-going struggle to Free Culture,
The current Mess Hall key-holders

 (Diana, Lora, Lara, Justin, Rozalinda, Amy, Matthias)

 This is the announcement list for Mess Hall, an experimental cultural center
in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Mess Hall hosts a printed matter
archive, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, public projects, actions, events,
 meals, and more.

Chicago Calling Arts Festival- 2007

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Korea WEST Cultural Vistas - Sponsoring Interns for Chicago

Phantom Gallery Chicago Network has been contacted my Alyssa Myers to sponsor one of their Korea WEST participants.

 Cultural Vistas is a non-profit organization that sponsors J-1 visas for international students and professionals participating in short-term training in the U.S through U.S. Department of State-mandated programs-- Korea WEST-- as a host employer for one or more of their participants.

Here is a bit more information about the Korea West program:

The U.S. Department of State and the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs have come to an agreement to deepen mutual understanding between the U.S. and South Korea by increasing the number of Korean university students admitted to internship and study programs in the U.S. Cultural Vistas has been selected to administer Korea WEST, a work and study program for highly-qualified students from the most prestigious universities in South Korea.

 Korea WEST participants are now available to interview for internships of up to 12 months in length. Participants are currently undergoing a 4-month program of intensive English study in the U.S. and will be available for training starting in January or February 2013.

Internships may be paid or unpaid, and there are no host employer fees whatsoever.
Cultural Vistas also takes care of: visa processing and visa sponsorship, all program fees, orientation, insurance, * assisting interns with moving to the internship site and finding housing.

Interested in hosting an intern please contact: Alyssa Myers;

Employers interview and hire WEST participants at their own discretion and shall not be compelled to alter their usual interviewing processes; Cultural Vista's role in the hiring process is to facilitate connecting Korea WEST participants with U.S. employers.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


"Art is Business" by Alpha Bruton

 Logan Square, N Milwaukee Ave- Window Projections Curator Jayve Montgomery 2012

"Curatorial Practice" explores the impact of the urban environment on artist and their work, and the contributions that artist make to the vitality of a city. The place where art is imagined and made, whether in a physical or virtual space, affects the idea, the process and the final product. And the art, once created, leaves a mark on the place it occupies.

N8Chicago 2010, Paduca KY, Chicago Artists Month

Phantom Gallery Chicago looks at how the city influences art and artists, and how artists transform the city by contributing to civic dialogue and quality of life.
Colorboration Project: Logan Square 2011; PopUp in the Loop March 2012
The Phantom Gallery Chicago seeks to provide a model situation for emerging curators to gain practical curating experience, and to critically reflect on the issues involved. The aim of the Phantom is to examine changes in current curatorial production and to develop innovative displays in relation to these physical storefronts or virtual spaces.

BRIEF description of the proposed program:
Curator Carole Frances Lung, KO Enterprise at Labor Union Hall 07, SAIC
Curating means the creation of innovative structures for the presentation of cultural artifacts through interdisciplinary collaboration. In this field, art, digital media, and design relate in new ways to one another. The last few years have seen curators working in increasingly close collaboration with artists, designers, and educationalists on the development of exhibitions, projects in the public sphere, the design of museum spaces, and the presentation of collections. Contemporary exhibitions are changing, with new interpretative strategies complementing the integration into exhibitions of innovative display structures, lounge areas, archives, reading rooms, and new media interfaces.
Installation, Madison/Western Sponsored by New Communities LISC, 2007
Selection Process

All interested artists must first submit a complete application (  These proposals are then reviewed by the Phantom Gallery Chicago curatorial committee made up of local art professionals, members of the art community, and artist.    If selected, artists are then matched with a space that meets their needs/requirements as it becomes available. 

2007 Curator Cathy Sorich, Canito Studios, Board Director PGCN 2012

Artists' Responsibilities
• Accepted artists will be required to sign a contract outlining the terms of the individual agreement
• Design, install, maintain, and dismantle the installation (this includes any necessary build out, temporary walls, painting, electrical, et al.)
•Provide all installation materials

Edmond Dante Hamiliton, Chicago International Blog Awards Gallery Layout 2012

Staffing the gallery and/or developing a staffing plan

•Actively promote your participation acknowledging the Phantom as a sponsor, and all other sponsors, in-kind support, logo or web links.

Mailings, e-blasts, twitter, facebook, blogs, press releases, interviews with press, and agree to participate in larger Phantom Gallery events.   All marketing/PR efforts must be reviewed and approved by Phantom Gallery Chicago Network board of directors.

•Upon notification by property owner or Phantom return vacant space to original condition within the time period requested.

Phantom Gallery Chicago Network Role:

Curator Zero, Installation at Garfield Market, 2008
             Find and secure appropriate locations at no charge to the artists

             Act as point of contact for artists

             Schedule and coordinate artists load-in

             Review all artists’ marketing/PR materials in a timely manner

             Provide publicity and marketing support for galleries (media alerts, Web site presence, links to artist sites, press release, signage, etc.)



 Creative Currency Words to Live By- Mobile Installations and Workshops
Curator Caryl Henry: Girl Artist with a purpose.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Visual Arts Gallery- Art Gathering: The Collector- About the Exhibit

Published on Jan 16, 2013
Starting January 15, 2013 at the Visual Arts Gallery of Governors State University.

Come and enjoy artwork made by and about African Americans from Patric McCoy's own collection.

The exhibition will conclude with a Closing reception on February 6 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The reception will include a short discussion from 6 to 7 p.m.

Featured artists include:
Dalton Brown
Susan Clinard
Luis De La Torre
Stephen Flemister
Theaster Gates
Skip Hill
Barbara Jones-Hogu
Marva Pitchford Jolly
Tim Lemming
Joyce Owens
Max Sansing
Julian Williams

This event is sponsored in part by:
The Intellectual Life Committee
College of Arts and Sciences
Communication, Visual and Performing Arts Division

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nathaniel McLin was a Chicago-based Art Critic

At Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center 2008
This blog post is in remembrance to a supporter of the Phantom Gallery Chicago, and was my advisor. He was fixture at gallery openings, exhibits and art lectures, Mr. McLin, 55, died Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010.
Nathaniel McLin, who grew up in a family of respected musicians, promoted local African-American artists who didn't get the attention he felt they deserved and hosted a radio program for 25 years devoted to art.

Nathaniel was a support of the Phantom Gallery Chicago Network, he shared so much of his intellectual property with myself and fellow artists. He was the curator for the Phantom Gallery Chicago 2009 PostProduction Exhibit, hosted at the Murphy Hill Gallery, featuring artists Fredrick Owens and Everett Williams. The curatorial discussion was carried on amongst curators: Owens, Williams, Patti, Hill, Bruton, and Daniel Godston was moderator.

Nathaniel McLin was a Chicago-based art critic whose been published in numerous publications and frequently wrote for Paint magazine.

He also hosted a radio show called “The Art Museum of Chicago” on WHPK 88.5 FM in Chicago. Nathaniel also contributed an essay for Kerry James Marshall’s catalogue One True Thing: Meditations on Black Aesthetics. Nathaniel McLin made a comment on Joyce Owens: Artist on Art concerning art critics and getting reviews published:

“I would say as an art critic it is very difficult to get editors to publish a review of an artist/home studio show. Editors prefer to publish reviews of artist in third party venues. Also, most of the major organizations that promote artist on their web sites and lists refuse to deal with artist cooperatives. I found I will hurt my career by pushing artists that are not in the gallery system. Every time I try to write about a local artist that is not a recent MFA grad following a trendy movement I risk being cut off from that publication permanently.”

Reference Links:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Arts Alliance Illinois Culture Counts Campaign

"Art is Business" ---a message from Ra Joy, Executive Director, Arts Alliance Illinois

Hi Alpha,
  Ra Joy

The reason I'm writing today is to catch up on the Culture Counts campaign. As you know, last year Phantom Gallery Chicago joined Arts Alliance Illinois, the League of Chicago Theatres, the Chicago Cultural Alliance, and 80 other organizations in the Culture Counts coalition. We set out to promote public participation in the cultural planning process and guarantee the final cultural plan included meaningful wins for the arts and arts education.

Together, here is what we accomplished:
  • 85 organizations, including service groups, associations, unions, major cultural institutions, and universities, joined the Culture Counts coalition
  • More than 5,500 arts advocates signed the Culture Counts petition
  • More than 250 arts advocates contacted the City of Chicago in support of the Culture Counts recommendations for the final plan
  • The final Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 included all 21 of the recommendations drafted and endorsed by the Culture Counts coalition
  • The Chicago City Council committed $1 million to help implement the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 and the CPS Arts Education Plan
While our work on the Chicago Cultural Plan isn't done, our focus is shifting from the Culture Counts campaign to specific policy goals, such as boosting cultural grant funds, updating the Percent-for-Arts Ordinance, improving zoning, permitting, and licensing rules that affect artists and cultural enterprises, and other priorities from the Cul
ture Counts recommendations.

I hope Phantom Gallery Chicago will continue to support and participate in these efforts as well as other Arts Alliance Illinois initiatives, including the creation of a Creative Economy Council to expand opportunities for the arts in agencies like economic development and transportation, the launch of arts advocacy coalitions in each of Illinois' newly-drawn 18 congressional districts, and the 2013 One State Together in the Arts conference to be held June 24 & 25 in the Quad Cities.

As always, should you have any questions about any aspect of our work, you can contact me at anytime at or 312.855.3105 x14.

Thanks again and take care,

Ra Joy's Signature
Ra Joy, Executive Director, Arts Alliance Illinois
tel 312.855.3105 x14 | fax 312.855.1565 | |

Nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences contribute $2.2 billion a year to Chicago's economy
Learn more in our recently released report, Arts & Economic Prosperity
Support Arts Alliance Illinois