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9 art gallery exhibitions to check out in August

Written by
Jenny Lam

It’s summer’s last hurrah. Here are some art shows to help you make the most of it.

The Great Western

British graffiti and street artists EINE, Sickboy and Word To Mother have emerged as leading figures in the contemporary art world and are exhibiting for the first time in Chicago. EINE will also paint a 240-foot wall on S Wabash Avenue, and Sickboy will create all of his art in Chicago, including a customized pinball machine to play in the gallery. (Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave, Aug 1, 6–10pm. Free)

Field Study

Cosponsored with Openlands to advance a culture of conservation in urban and regional settings, the work in this Filter Photo Festival juried exhibition studies our larger ecological reality. (David Weinberg Photography, 300 W Superior St, Suite 203, Aug 7, 5:30–8pm. Free)

Ask the Oracle 

The artists in this group exhibition construct paintings, sculptures and performances that address belief in non-conforming spirituality and a creative process through epiphanies. (Heaven Gallery, 1550 N Milwaukee Ave, Aug 7, 7–11pm. Free)

The Vernacular Photography Festival  

The first of its kind in Chicago, this festival is a celebration of the art and collecting of vernacular photography, curated by Ron Slattery, one of the original collectors of Vivian Maier’s work. (Comfort Station, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave, Aug 7, 7–10pm. Free)


Bring your appetite, creative energy, and dancing shoes to this indoor and outdoor festival benefiting Changing Worlds’ arts and cultural awareness programs. (Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W 35 St, Aug 9, 10am–5pm. $20)


Society of Hungry Artists copresents this indoor/outdoor fundraiser for Art Therapy Connection. Expect an afternoon of art markets, DJ sets, live performances, live art, mixology stands, food trucks, a skate ramp exhibition, yoga sessions, raffles, art demos and even more. (Genesis Art Supply, 2525 N Elston Ave, Aug 9, noon–6pm. Free)

Corner Stores

Amara Betty Martin curates this #HoodToHoodSolidarity exhibition honoring Chicago communities of color and the small businesses that sustain and symbolize them. The show features works from local artists depicting corner stores and neighborhood markets through visual art, installations, soundscapes and spoken word. There will also be a food drive—bring your canned goods, dry goods and fresh produce the day of the event. (Carlos & Dominguez Gallery, 1538 W Cullerton St, Aug 22, 6–11pm. Free.


Don your pinstripes, pocket watches, goggles and gadgets for a steampunk journey through time and space. Independent curators Missy Perkins, Stuart Hall and Keith Brownlee are teaming up with C-Haus Creative Collective for this month’s ACTIVATE, part of the Chicago Loop Alliance series that transforms iconic downtown alleys into urban art experiences. Enjoy fire installations and spinners, aerial acrobatics, live body painting and model styling with 3D paint, tarot card readings and more. (Haddock Place at State St, Aug 27, 5–10pm. Free with RSVP)

Pancakes & Booze Art Show 

The Pancakes & Booze Art Show is back in Chicago, this time with two nights of 75-plus emerging artists, a live art battle, live audio and visual performances and, of course, an all-you-can-eat pancake bar. (Reggies, 2109 S State St, Aug 28 & 29, 8pm–2am. $5. 21+)

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