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One of the best parts about living in a city as cool as Chicago is that friends always want to come visit. I’ve joked several times that my house should just become a working hostel with all the folks that have passed through in the last year and a half. Every time someone comes to visit I make a new discovery about the city. When someone is here from out of town, I feel like I put my traveling hat and glasses back on and see the city anew – ready to explore.
This weekend was a great one. I took my guests to the Chicago Cultural Center, which is an amazing place in several ways. First is the architecture. It boasts the largest stained glass Tiffany dome in the world and there are beautiful intricate mosaics covering almost every surface. Second it’s free. Third it’s free AND has amazing exhibitions. And fourth (and this was my new Saturday discovery) it houses the Chicago Publishers Gallery and Cafe.
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From the website:
“The Chicago Publishers Gallery is a permanent collection of over 2300 books and periodicals from over 100 book publishers and 75 periodical publishers, as well as hundreds of authors, all based in Chicago or greater Illinois. The Gallery showcases every type of publication imaginable, from best-selling novels to underground comic books; from classical masterpieces to children’s verse; from daily newspapers to full-set encyclopedias; and much, much more.”
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It was amazing to stumble upon this collection of printed matter. There were a ton of chapbooks and experimental artist books. As a Book and Paper student/mildly obsessive book appreciator and lover, I found the Chicago Publishers Gallery to be pretty heavenly.
One of the best things about going to school in the Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts program in Chicago is that the community extends outward starting at school and spreading into the rest of the city. From printers to binders to type appreciators, Chicago has an extensive network of people who are interested in the things I’m interested in. And that’s a pretty great feeling – to just be able to stumble upon something so randomly that is so great and relevant to my artistic practice. Very cool.