Sapphire and Crystals
Exhibiting June 3 - July 10
Reception: Thursday, June 6, 4 - 7 p.m.
Featuring work by 13 artists from the Chicago African American women's cooperative Sapphire and Crystals
Felicia Grant Preston || Shahar Caren Weaver || Rhonda Wheatley||
Dorian Sylvain || Joyce Owens|| Pearlie Taylor ||
Arlene Turner Crawford || Patricia Stewart || Rose Blouin ||
Renee Williams Jefferson || Juarez Hawkins || Shirley Sullivan ||
Sapphire and Crystals
by Joyce Owens, Curator
Sapphire and Crystals is a collective of professional African American women artists. The artists self-determine when, where and with whom they exhibit. Focusing on the aspect of collaboration, the women artists generally are committed to showcasing exciting new work for each exhibition. Working closely with institutions on all exhibitions, the artists may perform tasks including curating, designing and installing the art, and contributing to publicity and promotion. The signature self-portrait silent auction during selected opening receptions presents a special opportunity for collectors on the first night only. The individual personal work by each member addressing various themes such as race, gender, limited palettes, our pasts, etc., exemplifies the diversity within our ethnic group, one of the missions of the group. The collaborative site-specific installation is an exhibit feature distinct to this collective that is produced when possible.
The Sapphire and Crystals’ first exhibition was held at the historic South Side Community Art Century (SSCAC) in 1986; the group revisited the center’s Margaret Burroughs Gallery in the fall of 2010 and this year, 2013 for a memorial exhibition honoring Marva Pitchford Jolly (1937-2012). The second exhibition in 1987 was held at Nicole Gallery in Chicago’s River North. The African American women artists returned to Nicole Gallery 21 years later in 2009. The group has exhibited at Elmhurst College's Frick Center, The Noyes Cultural Center in Evanston, IL, ARC, Woman Made, and Artemisia and many other galleries and art centers within the city and beyond.
Membership in Sapphire and Crystals is decided by existing members. We require that artists have begun seriously pursuing art on their own. Marva Pitchford Jolly and Felicia Grant Preston conceived of the idea to organize women artists over the years including: Margaret Burroughs, Geraldine McCullough, Renee Townsend, Mary Reed Daniel, Anna M. Tyler, Shirley J. Sullivan, Shyvette Williams, Joyce Owens, Dorian Sylvain, Rose Blouin, Annie Lee, Rhonda Wheatley, Shahar Caren Weaver, Renee Williams Jefferson, Pearlie Taylor, Dorothy Carter, Joanne Scott, Candace Hunter, Makeba Kedem DuBose, Patricia Stewart, Venus Blue, Lillian Morgan-Lewis, Faith Davis, a jeweler, Frances Callaway Parks, a poet, and others. Some new artists may show their works once or twice, and some artists have participated in multiple exhibitions over the past 25 years. We recently were honored by two public art works: at the National Museum of Mexican Art in 2010 six of us constructed an ofrenda to Dr. Margaret Taylor Burroughs, and currently the Chicago Public Art Group and the Hyde Park Art Center honor the group with a mural showcasing selected artists in Hyde Park under the 51st Street viaduct. In November and December 2012 we had 25th Anniversary exhibition at Woman Made Gallery.
Christopher Art Gallery Director
Prairie State College
THE CHRISTOPHER ART GALLERY
Named for its generous donors, Bob and Marty Christopher. The Christopher Art Gallery is located on the main campus of Prairie State College. The gallery hosts six to eight shows per year, featuring local, regional and national artists, as well as student works. The Prairie State College Foundation oversees gallery operations. Gallery Director, Beth Shadur, recommends programming and often acts as curator for shows.
Programming varies by media, theme, and artists represented. However, there are several annual exhibitions:
A Spring exhibit showcases the work of talented high school students in District 515. PSC faculty jury this show and select awards.
The May show features the work of graduating PSC art students.
The August/September show highlights the portfolio of a PSC student who receives designation as the "Photographer-of-the-Year." Superior works by PSC art students in graphic communications, photography, and fine art are also exhibited.
Each year, the Christopher Art Gallery features a juried show of regional artists. The theme and exact dates of the exhibit change every year.