Our Mission and History
Founded in 2008, Spoke is a multifaceted artist-run organization comprised of six artist studios and an open space for public programming and projects. Since its inception, Spoke has been host to collaboration and exchange through the production of innovative events, performances, workshops, exhibitions and community-based projects. The public project space and working artist studios are shared, which creates a strong open atmosphere and sense of community both within and outside of the space. This unique arrangement allows for the unexpected to occur while encouraging an open and fluid exchange of dialogue and ideas among residents, visitors, collaborators, and the public. Spoke is dedicated to providing a place of spontaneity, experimentation, and accessibility where a diverse range of artists and creative individuals or groups can create, brainstorm, experiment, and develop new projects and ideas.
Resident Artists at Spoke
Co/Founder, Creative Organizer, 2008-2011
Heather is an artist, builder, designer, organizer and educator. Working primarily with the concept of re-use, she builds interactive sculpture, spaces, functional products, accessories and furniture. She works to maximize the function of existing spaces, materials, and systems already in place. Heather has worked as a volunteer on multiple community projects and is co-founder of the non-profit Kenya Youth Sponsorship (founded in 2001), a program that supports Kenyan youth with educational opportunities. Heather has been a visiting artist at various schools in Chicago and her work has been shown at Messhall, Experimental Station, Hyde Park Art Center, Spoke and was recently published in the book 1,000 Ideas for Creative Reuse. She received her BFA from Montana State University in 2005 and MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. Heather currently teaches part-time at Columbia College Chicago, works as Assistant Manager in the Columbus Wood & Metal Shop at the School of the Art Institute, an artist’s assistant for Michael Rakowitz and is a co-founding organizer of Spoke.
Co/Founder, Creative Organizer, 2008-2011
Rana is an installation-based artist living and working in Chicago.In her sculptural arrangements, she explores the relationships and dynamics between balance, tension, impermanence and stability. In these works, Rana is interested in positioning conversations between materials an amassing meaning within compositions. She has participated in several group exhibitions in Chicago and has taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Fiber and Material Studies Department and also at Lill Street Art Center in the Textile Department. In the Summer 2010, she will be an Artist-in-Residence at the Ox-Bow School of Art. In 2008, she co-founded Spoke and since then has been working on the creative development of the artist run studio and project space. As well, Rana also works as an Administrator at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and concurrently as an Artist Assistant. She received a BFA in Crafts with a concentration in Fibers from The University of the Arts '01, in Philadelphia, and an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago '08.
Deirdre is an artist trained as an architect. Under the moniker "Hybridesign" her interdisciplinary consulting practice encompasses design, architecture, graphic visualization, research, writing and mapping. From August 2008 through October 2010 she served as executive director of the Chicago-based nonprofit, Sacred Space International. In the summer of 2010 she created a series of City Guides in eight US cities for PBS. Since 2007 she has served on the board of Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA) and regularly presents architectural and other specialist material to a variety of public audiences through lectures, tours and panel discussions.
Deirdre has an MArch from the University of Illinois, at Chicago (UIC) and an MFA from the California College of the Arts (CCA.) Her undergraduate degree in sculpture is from the National College of Art and Design in Ireland (NCAD.) Since 1999 she has practiced both as an architectural professional and as an adjunct faculty member. In 2008 Deirdre was a grantee of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts and traveled with collaborator, New York journalist Jim Colgan, to France to research the controversial restoration of E.1027, the modern house designed by Irish architect Eileen Gray.
As an artist she is concerned with the investigation of neglected spaces - both within the physical urban environment and the tumult of everyday life.
Jean is a multidisciplinary artist who lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids and dog, Carmella. She graduated with a BFA in Philosophy from the University of Dayton, and received her MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Jean’s process involves stripping meaning from the materials she uses and then through a performative action builds up a new kind narrative. Her work has been exhibited Internationally in venues such as the Wexner Center for Arts in Columbus, the Images Festival in Toronto, Possible Project Space in Brooklyn, El Museo Cultural in Sante Fe, the Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, and the Kulturhuset in Stockholm.
Kristin is a Chicago based dressmaker, designer and artist. In her art and design practice she investigates hidden layers of labor discovered inside found cloth and garments, incorporating physical responses to material that emphasize process, patience, and chance. In 2000 she founded her label RedShift; a line of contemporary couture created from salvaged materials and found garments. Her designs have been described as work “that elevates the unique and the unrepeatable, and openly acknowledges a connection to the material world of production and consumption.” She maintains an engaged practice by collaborating with artists from other disciplines, creating garments for dance, performance, and installation. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has worked in the fashion industry in both Milan and New York. Her clothing line RedShift is available at June Blaker in Chicago. Currently at Spoke she is working on her line of Second-Hand Skins for RedShift.
Jeroen Nelemans, born in the Netherlands, and currently resides in Chicago. He works with a variety of media, mostly video, and is interested in the relationship between perception, the landscape and the moving image.
Nelemans has shown extensively in national and in international venues, as one of the most recent shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (2011), the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Greece (2010), Ebersmoore gallery in Chicago (2010), the Nice&Fit gallery in Berlin (2009) and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids (2009). His works has also been screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami (with MSG-Newness), the Banff Center in Canada (2010), Gallery 400 in Chicago (2009), as well as the Fugitive Projects Video Festival in Nashville (2010), The Dublin Electron Arts Festival in Ireland (2010) and the Kortfilm festival in Copenhagen (2010).
Nelemans collaborated with Anne Wilson’s video: Walking the Warp, which was part of a group show at the Trienale Design Museum in Milan (2009), the Knoxville Art Museum (2010) and Contemporary Art museum in Houston (2010).
Nelemans received the Full Merit Scholarship from the Fiber and Materials department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and finished his MFA in 2007. He was a recipient at the Santa Fe Artist Institute in 2008 and at the Jentel residency in 2004, and he was awarded a full fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center in 2007.
Affiliate Artists of Spoke (Outside Chicago)
Monica earned a BA degree in Fine Arts from the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving “La Esmeralda” (in MexicoCity), and an MFA in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was a founding member of the collective “Fraternity for the Promotion and Defense of M. Boncarchuk”; the founding exhibition coordinator of Garash Galeria (in Mexico City); and a National Fund for Arts and Culture fellow. In Mexico, her work has been shown at the University Museum of Science and Arts; at the Art & Idea Gallery; and at the 2002 National Selection of Emerging Artists. More recently, she has presented her work at the ARCO Contemporary Art Fair, in Madrid, Spain; at the digital, installation, and sound art show “Lies that Bill Gates told me: Exploring the Digital Divide” in Melbourne, Australia; at the Mexican Institute in Paris, France; at University of Chicago’s Smart Museum; and at the 44/46 Public Art Exhibition in Chicago. Last July she had a solo exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center, in Chicago. A couple of months ago, her sound installation “Trajectory” was exhibited at 65Grand Gallery. She is currently one of the founding members of Spoke (an experimental studio/exhibition space in the West Loop) and exhibition coordinator at Gallery C33 of Columbia College.
Past Resident Artists
Chelsea uses photographic and video media to create installations, performances, and relational projects. Recent works explore memory and longing through constrained spaces, videos of stillness and light, transformed neighborhoods, and the reconstructed narrative of The Odyssey. She received her BFA with an emphasis in photography and digital intermedia from Western Michigan University in 2003, and an MFA from The University of South Florida in interdisciplinary studio art in 2007. As the founder of Neighborhood Watch: Projection Walk (2006, Tampa, FL) she continues to watch other artists and communities grow and adopt and open grassroots approach to public art on a pedestrian scale. Currently, she is a member of Spoke, a lecturer in DePaul University's College of Computing and Digital Arts, and photographic freelancer.
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SPOKE119 N Peoria #3DChicago, Il 60607