Since 1975, Lillstreet Art Center has served Chicago communities with opportunities for personal and professional growth through the arts. In an expansive, three-level facility at 4401 North Ravenswood Avenue and the recently opened Lillstreet Loft steps away at 4437 North Ravenswood Avenue, Lillstreet offers arts education for all ages and skill levels, a gallery, an artist residency program, studio space, and a community outreach program.
Lillstreet Ignite, a program of Lillstreet Art Center, provides local and national businesses and professionals an opportunity to use art as a tool for inquiry. We believe bringing art and business together fosters collaboration, increases understanding among people, and creates a culture of creativity.
Each arts-based team building activity is designed for first-time artists and lead by a professional teaching artist who expertly guides participants through the creative process.
Samantha is an artist and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. She received a BFA from Santa Clara University in 2004 and Master’s in Education from DePaul University in 2007. Her artwork primarily consists of handthrown, functional objects in which she uses surface design to explore our continuous search for novelty and distinction within the structure of day-to-day life. When not covered in clay or surrounded by students, Samantha enjoys traveling abroad and investigating new and unfamiliar situations.
Nate Otto is versatile visual artist from Chicago. He has a BFA from Columbia College and also attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Kansas. In addition to several years of teaching experience, he has worked as a graphic facilitator. He is also a frequent artistic contributor and blogger at 37signals, a Chicago based software company. Nate has shown his art at several galleries and alternative spaces in Chicago. Nate’s first solo show is scheduled for spring of 2014 at Tony Fitzpatrick’s AdventureLand Gallery. Not only is Nate a dedicated artist, but he also has a passion for sharing his knowledge with others. He is a strong believer that art is something everyone can enjoy.
The expressive ink paintings of Allison Svoboda are both ethereal and ominous at the same time. Finding this edge of beauty in nature, she lets the hundreds of brush strokes speak for themselves. After several years of working in architecture and as an ethnographic art dealer, Allison has turned to painting to express her love of the geometry in nature. Her work can be found in corporate and private collections throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East including the Hyatt in Dubai. Her large-scale installations have been on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the lobby of Prudential Plaza in Chicago. Allison teaches at Lillstreet Art Center and specializes in workshops in Asian ink painting.
Gwendolyn Zabicki is a painter from Chicago. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005 and her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May 2012. She is the 2012-2013 painting and drawing artist- in-residence at the Lillstreet Art Center. Her work has shown at Robert Bills Contemporary, Spoke Gallery, Offwhite, and Gallery 400 in Chicago. Learn more about Gwendolyn and her project The South Logan Arts Coalition: www.southloganarts.org
Gwendolyn Terry is a Chicago-based installation artist. She received her BFA from the University of Colorado and worked professionally designing and installing theatrical sets, architectural facades, and retail window displays. In addition to creating commissioned objects and installations, she piloted an artistic internship program for a national company, and mentored and trained emerging display artists. Gwendolyn is also a Teaching Artist at Marwen, a nonprofit center in Chicago that educates underserved young people in the visual arts.
Shira Leon is a Chicago based ceramic artist. She earned her BFA in photography and painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004 and has worked in a variety of arts related businesses ever since. She started taking classes at Lillstreet in 2010 and currently enjoys being a monitor in the ceramics department. Shira loves connecting people with art and believes everyone has the ability to benefit from the creative process.
Joe Kraft is currently an artist that resides in Chicago. He received his BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2012. Originally from the Chicago land area, Joe moved here to take on the role of the 2013-2014 artist in residence at Lillstreet Art Center. His love of architecture, geometry and line and shape can be seen through his functional wares and sculptural scenarios. Composition and the placement of parts are of the upmost importance to his visual vocabulary. He teaches at Lillstreet Art Center where his studio is also located.
Solutionist, innovator, photographer, listener, Joe comes to the IGNITE program excited to help people combine creativity, communication and collaboration. After receiving two BA’s from Fordham University in philosophy and urban studies, Joe ran an environmental education center for inner city Newark youth where he learned to see everything with new eyes.
Positive with a keen attention to detail, Marie collaborates with clients to plan and coordinate custom events. She believes making art is an empowering way to channel creativity, even for self-proclaimed non-artists. She received a BA in art history and gender studies from Lawrence University.