The West Town Chamber of Commerce launched the First Fridays program in October 2022 at the request of and with support from a contingency of its Member galleries. The WTFF program facilitates connection amongst West Town's galleries and their represented artists, collectors, and patrons, as well as independent area artists.
The goal of WTFF is to ensure the continued success of West Town area galleries, both emergent and established, as cornerstones of the West Town neighborhood—a nexus of organic growth and sustainable development in the arts and beyond.
The program intends to amplify Member galleries' own programming efforts by creating a monthly guide to exhibitions and events and supplementary programming for patrons to utilize when visiting the neighborhood on the first Friday of each month.
In addition to organizing the monthly initiative, the Chamber has also transformed its office space into a rotating gallery where arts-focused Members that lack a traditional gallery space are invited to utilize the space for their own exhibitions and related programming.
Interested in checking out First Fridays? Here's how:
By nature of the program, participating locations will vary month to month. We keep this Instagram Guide and the below map updated as galleries fill us in on their plans for the upcoming month. The Instagram Guide will lead you to more information about each exhibition. The map will help you chart your route!
Want to know more about a specific gallery or exhibition? Reach out to the gallery directly!
Are you an interested gallery? Here are the guidelines for participation:
Be located within (and be a Member of) the West Town Chamber of Commerce's service area: Division Street to Hubbard; Halsted Street to Kedzie Avenue. Not a Member yet? Apply today!
Be open from 6-8 p.m. the First Friday of each month. Extended hours of programming before or beyond that window are fine, but 6-8 p.m. is the minimum requirement.
Provide your programming details in advance of the first Friday of the month via this Google Form.
Interested in presenting an exhibition or event in our office gallery?
Be a Member of the West Town Chamber of Commerce. Not a Member yet? It's easy to apply!
Email us with your idea for an exhibition. We'll go from there!
All WTFF-related inquiries can be directed to Kaylen Ralph, WTCC's Director of Marketing & Communications, at email@example.com
Current Exhibition: SHADOW DANCER by Lonnie Edwards & Tobi Shinobi
June 9 - September 30
Beginning June 9, 2023 through September 30, 2023, the West Town Chamber of Commerce will host Shadow Dancer, a compelling exhibition by two internationally acclaimed artists, Lonnie Edwards (savege) and Tobi Shinobi. With a variety of visually stunning pieces that explore the fluidity of self-expression, this exhibition is a testament to the captivating power of visual art and a celebration of the eternal dance we perform with our inner selves.
The fascinating exhibition will be divided into two distinct parts beginning with "Shadow Werk," a mixed media and film installation that explores the concept of shadow work and the journey towards self-discovery and healing. The second part, titled "You Can't Sit With Us," is a play on words that speaks to the gatekeeping that often happens in the artist community, rooted in ego and self-preservation.
Inspired by the constant interplay between the seen and unseen, Lonnie Edwards’ Shadow Werk series capture the fluidity of self-love and the struggles that accompany the search for balance. Meanwhile, Tobi Shinobi’s Shinfrared series gives viewers a unique chance to see what usually remains unseen through his exploration of infrared light.
Visitors will experience a captivating dance of shadows in this thought-provoking exhibition, as Lonnie and Tobi guide viewers into the unseen to explore new perspectives, and most of all, to join the dance.
Lonnie Edwards, No More Heroes