There are plenty of delicious dishes and drinks to try at Time Out Market Chicago, where we’ve gathered some of the city’s best chefs under one roof, but food isn’t necessarily the only reason to visit. From musical shows to art installations, like a mural paying tribute to Virgil Abloh, the Market also stands as a cultural hub. And starting next week, you’ll be able to head up to the second floor and check out an exhibit by local photographer Waybon “CoachWay” McConnell.
Titled “For the Streets Uptown,” it will feature candid images that capture the essence of the North Side neighborhood. As a lifelong Chicagoan who was born and raised in Uptown, McConnell is excited to give people a glimpse of his life through photos.
“This exhibit is kind of like a representation of me and my journey into street photography … so it’s definitely extra special for it to be displayed at Time Out Market,” McConnell said.
McConnell is a professional educator and coaches high school basketball as well, which is how he got the nickname “CoachWay.” He began playing around with a camera about seven years ago as a hobby but when the pandemic hit, he decided to fully dive into it and studied photography at least an hour every day for an entire year. After learning more about equipment and best practices, McConnell set off to shoot whatever caught his eye while wandering the city.
“I think everyone has a story but with street photography, you can miss it in a matter of seconds so if I’m able to capture it, I’ve definitely tried to do so within that moment,” McConnell explained, adding “I’ve always been a storyteller and I’m just naturally interested in being able to tell people’s stories if they let me. It’s just something that really, really inspires me.”
Some of the pieces bring back childhood memories for McConnell, such as one taken inside a convenience store located across from where he grew up. He recalls his mother sending him into the shop with a note to give the owner so that he could purchase cigarettes for her.
“The diverse people that were in the community who helped me and my friends … the great architecture, the great stores and just everything about Uptown as a whole has been so instrumental to who I am today,” McConnell said.
While the exhibit at Time Out Market Chicago will focus solely on Uptown, the “For the Streets” series has covered the Mag Mile too, and McConnell wants to eventually put the spotlight on areas like Pilsen and Garfield Park to show how they’ve undergone big changes and developments in recent times.
“Chicago is everything. There’s nothing like it. Of course there’s the food but just from an art standpoint, there's so much art that you can see on a daily basis. And so definitely years down the line, I’m hoping to really showcase [more] streets of Chicago,” McConnell said.
You can catch the exhibit on display from February 20-28. The Market will host an artist reception with McConnell in attendance at 6:30pm on February 23. The evening will include a live set by DJ Sye Young and the first 40 guests will receive a welcome drink courtesy of Moor’s Brewing. RSVP for the free event here.