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Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:01 am

The Pharmacy spreads its artistic wings

Member artist Jeff Williams and his painting “Velolincolnlandia” in The Pharmacy’s new upstairs studio space.


Started in 2011, the once-scrappy art collective known as The Pharmacy is preparing to mount its eighth group show this Saturday, April 5. Fittingly entitled “Metamorphosis,” the exhibit is a progress report on a grass-roots group in a continual state of growth. From the start, the thrice-yearly shows, featuring work by member artists who pay dues in exchange for work space, were must-see affairs, drawing large and appreciative crowds of onlookers. “Metamorphosis” marks the first time that the show will be held in The Pharmacy building at South Grand and Pasfield rather than the Pharmacy Warehouse a few blocks away.

“We used to have it set up so everybody had a little work area on the ground floor,” explains Pharmacy member Janet Sgro, “but now all that is upstairs and the downstairs space has been renovated and is just glorious. We cannot wait for people to see it.” The main floor has also expanded to include space formerly occupied by a hairdresser in the same building.

In addition to new material from Sgro and fellow Pharmacy members Jess Black, Jim Edgecomb, J. T. Elliott, Rachel Jennings, Keeley Mills, Felicia Olin, Danielle Paoni, Diane Schleyhahn and Jeff Williams, the show will also feature work by guest artist Laurel Hogan, whose three-dimensional insect sculptures seem like a perfect fit for the somewhat Kafkaesque theme of the exhibition.

Janet Sgro of The Pharmacy hanging a painting by Felicia Olin for this Saturday’s group exhibit.

Along with the recent physical expansion and renovation, the once footloose collective is now more organized than ever, with official guidelines and recently added levels of membership available for participants. Amid all these changes, the mission of The Pharmacy has remained consistent. “There is a core group of us,” says Sgro. “People come and go and come back, but we really just want to make it a welcoming place for artists to work and show. Our main goal is to have culture for the public, to make art, to support art and host events – so we just want to continue to do that.”

The Pharmacy’s eighth group art exhibition, “Metamorphosis,” is Saturday, April 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. at 401 South Grand Avenue. Andrew Tinge of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra will provide live music. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be available. All ages are welcome.

Scott Faingold can be reached at sfaingold@illinoistimes.com.


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