The Run Down

It's the third Friday of the month and that means hundreds of artists in Bridgeport open up their studios to the public. Tonight we're headed to a few different venues that feature a wide range of multi-disciplinary artists with many hosting interactive demonstrations and special events inside their space. Here are the highlights.

1. Explore and drink @ Bridgeport Art Center

2. Quick Tour @ Maritime Museum

3. Art Appreciation @ Zhou B Art Center

 1. Bridgeport Art Center

Our first stop is the Bridgeport Art Center, which was established in 2001, and sits inside a 500,000 sq. ft complex that was formerly the Spiegel Catalog Warehouse. Today it’s home to fashion designers, painters, woodworkers, photographers and filmmakers.  There are four floors to explore with galleries at the center of each floor and artist studios scattered through a maze of hallways. A few notes to keep in mind as you make your way here.

– Open house is from 7 – 1opm
– Complimentary wine and snacks
– Free admission
– Happens the 3rd Friday of each month. New events/Featured performances each time. Details are here.

This event is billed as an open house and they mean that in every sense of the word.

Some of the artist studios are large expansive lofts and others are small rooms set off to the side.  All of them, however, welcome guests with open doors, drinks and music. It really feels like a throwback to college days when the whole dorm would throw a party.

One place we wanted to highlight, specifically, is a non-profit gallery and art studio called Project Onward. This non-profit offers space and support for talented artists with down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, and other challenges.

Their studio is actually open to the public Tuesday – Saturday from 11am – 5pm where you can take a look and purchase various pieces on display.  More detail here.


2. Chicago Maritime Museum

At the basement of the Bridgeport Art center is the Chicago Maritime Museum. This small museum walks through the role our waterways played in making Chicago a major industrial hub in the Midwest. On display are model boats and a room where they’re put together. Building these model boats is an art form itself that the museum preserves. 

3. Zhou B Art Center

Our next stop is the Zhou B Art Center that’s just a few short blocks away. This is also part of the 3rd Friday open house, and we’re here to check out this contemporary art gallery featuring artists from all around the world and the studios of the nearly 50 resident artists.

The Zhou B Art Center brings a slightly younger and hipper crowd. On the main part of the first and second floor are large gallery spaces featuring digital and contemporary art. Similar to the Bridgeport Art Center, there are studios scattered throughout that are open to the public.

As you make your way through the building, you’ll find studios on each floor hosting a party. Some studios have DJs playing hip hop, others are playing Latin dance music, and some playing grunge. There’s a bigger party vibe here for all you party people. Here are some other notes as you make your way here.

– Open house is from 7 – 1opm (but many of the studios and artists had parties going much later into the night)
– There is a bar on the first floor but many people brought in their own bottle of wine/beer
– Free admission
– Happens the 3rd Friday of each month.