Lillstreet Art Center

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Lillstreet Art Center
Lillstreet's 2013 Summer Class Catalogue Cover
Established1975 (1975)
LocationChicago, Illinois, US
TypeArt Center
DirectorJessica Mott Wickstrom
Public transit accessMontrose and Ravenswood stop, Chicago Transit Authority

Lillstreet Art Center is an arts center in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is one of the oldest and most successful co-ops in Chicago[1] and its facilities include classrooms for arts education, a gallery, an artist residency program, studio spaces, and a community outreach program.


The center began as a ceramics studio in a renovated horse barn on Lillstreet in 1975, by clay salesman, Bruce Robbins.[2] It quickly outgrew its space and, in 2003, Lillstreet relocated to a former gear factory on Ravenswood Avenue, increasing its space from 12,000 sq ft (1,100 m2) to 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2).[3] The new facility has added metalsmithing & jewelry, painting & drawing, printmaking, textiles, glass, and digital arts & photography.

Lillstreet also houses First Slice Pie Café whose proceeds help fund First Slice which provides more than 300 lunches to people in need.[3] First Slice also benefits from the annual Empty Bowls event which is hosted at Lillstreet and supported by Lillstreet potters who contribute bowls to the event.[2]

In 2012, a 400-square-foot (37 m2) green roof was installed at the center. It was designed as a gravel path with plants on either side.[4] In 2015, Lillstreet celebrated its 40th year in business.[3]

Gallery exhibitions[edit]

Exhibitions at the Lillstreet Art Center include,

  • Reformat: Digital Fabrication in Clay combined traditional ceramic techniques with digital fabrication such as 3D printing and computer-controlled routers.[5]
  • Neat: The Art of the Whiskey Vesselwas an exhibit of ceramic bottles, cups, flasks, jugs, and whiskey buckets.[6][7]
  • 100 Acts of Sewing, an exhibit of the fiber artist, Sonya Phillip.[8]
  • Graphic Noise: Gig Posters from the Chicago Printers Guild, an exhibit of Chicago-based printmakers.[9]
  • Cairn & Cloud: A Collective Expression of Trauma and Hope was created by Corinne Peterson, and composed of clay and porcelain objects made by workshops members dealing with trauma and grief.[10]
  • Before I Die…, was an outdoor, chalkboard-based, art exhibit that encouraged passers-by to fill in the open-ended sentence. Originally conceived by artist Candy Chang.[11]
  • In the Penal Colony was Philip Glass' adaptation of Kafka's short story, staged by the Chicago Fringe Opera. The chamber opera was performed in the painting and drawing studio.[12]


  1. ^ Hawkins, Margaret. "Hangs-On Chicago". American Craft Council. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Whitney Stoepel (March 20, 2010). "Empty Bowls At Lillstreet Art Center: A Tour". Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Frank EnYart (November 2, 2015). "Lillstreet Art Center celebrates 40 years". Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  4. ^ " Projects - Lillstreet Art Center Green Roof Project". Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  5. ^ "Chicago art exhibit features School of Visual Arts' Lauerman". June 8, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  6. ^ Thiel, Julia. "Whiskey, art, and art that holds whiskey at Lillstreet Art Center". Chicago Reader. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  7. ^ Cavanaugh, Amy. "Neat: The Art Of The Whiskey Vessel Opens Friday". The Chicagoist. Archived from the original on November 6, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  8. ^ Pierson - Cox, Haley. "Crafty Events: 100 Acts of Sewing at the Lillstreet Gallery in Chicago". MAKE Magazine.
  9. ^ Cristiana Troli (December 2014). "A talk with Tracey Morrison". Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  10. ^ S. Nicole Lane (December 11, 2015). "An Interview with Corinne Peterson: Healing the Split". Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  11. ^ Patty Wetli (May 3, 2012). "Before I Die…, the Ultimate To-Do List". Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  12. ^ John von Rhein (May 16, 2016). "Chicago Fringe Opera plunges into 'Penal Colony,' Kafka's dystopian nightmare". Retrieved August 8, 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°57′42.4″N 87°40′24.8″W / 41.961778°N 87.673556°W / 41.961778; -87.673556