Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

The Independent

Frankenstone Art Center: What Are You Making?

Linda Monacelli, Copy Editor

October 3, 2012

Filed under Art Show

    It's ALIVE!  The spirit of art, that is. Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) alum and art major Erick Von Alroth has graced the North Park scene with his latest creation: Frankenstone Art Center (FAC). Having graduated summa cum laude in 2010,Von Alroth believed that the surrounding communities of Albany and North Park lacked a creative arts culture, specifically, a space for artists to work collectively and engage members of the community. “It seemed obvious to me to open a creative space in a neighborhood where there was no cultural representation,” Von Alroth explained. “I was also excited by the fact that our nearest neighbor Albany Park is on the map as one of the most diverse zip codes in the country....It is a fantastic place to get many different viewpoints. People from all over stop in to talk about their experiences in the arts.” Von Alroth has had seven years of metal smithing experience and 15 years as an artist working with various other mediums. FAC is an extension of Von Alroth's own creative drive. “All I understand about my own creative drive is that I am fueled by a problem that needs to be solved. Somehow figuring out how to solve something is as much of the journey as solving it. If we could instantly physically create our visions, we would have a new problem to solve, and we would create something to control some of the monsters that we might create.” FAC's mission focuses on bringing people together through art and making arts education accessible to all members of local communities. To fulfill this mission, the center offersa potpourri of12 classes, including classes exclusively for adults, young adults and kids. Subjects of classes continue to expand, but a few subjects currently taught are metalworking/jewelry, glass working, painting and life drawing. FAC also offers workshops and hosts special events and gallery exhibits of local artists' work. On Friday, Sept. 28, the center hosted a meet-and-greet with Chef Julia Pham that included an expansive sampler of her creations and a dinner table discussion about sustainable food solutions and problem-solving. On Oct. 13, Frankenstone will be participating as a site for the North River Commission Albany Park culture tour. Author of the book Baxter the Bully and NEIU Alum L.D. Etherly will be holding a book-signing and mini book-making workshop on Nov. 3, from 1pm until 3pm. Von Alroth and his team of artists, including creativedesigner Rebby Montalvo and ceramicist John Yaou, invite all to come check out their space, whether to work on their own art, learn art or support art. To artists, Von Alroth advises, “Practice your creativity and your love life will work out, as well as a lot of other things you are dreaming of. The first part of this statement comes from Andy Warhol. The second part comes from knowing creativity makes things happen. Don't you want something to happen? Also, as an artist, there is no need to believe that old story of the sole artist working alone. Why not work with a bunch of people and make history?" FAC would eventually like to expand their space. The team has already looked into expanding up through the second floor, but the current residents are not interested in moving any time soon. However, this is not stopping FAC from expanding into other locations to meet the needs of their instructors and students.Frankenstone Art Center is located at 3310 W. Foster, Chicago, IL, 60625. Anyone interested in using the space, taking a class or two or hosting an event may reach the FAC team by phone at 773-509-0609 or email at [email protected] Please also check out their website and blog at www.frankenstonea.com. The best way to reach them, however, is to just stop by and see what's going on. Von Alroth  aka Dr. Frankenstone's take-home message for artists and dreamers is to “just try and believe. Sometimes it's surprising how far you will get.”...

“Forbidden Art” – Death Camp Art at NEIU

Malgorzata Sobolewska, Staff Writer

October 3, 2012

Filed under Art Show

Birkenau Mieczyslaw Inside a male barrack by Birkenau Mieczyslaw Czesław Lenczowski Phantoms are back Czesław Lenczowski Oświęcim Jerzy Adam Brandhuber Wheel-barrows from the cycle I Halina Ołomucka Before selection Jerzy Potrzebowski Loading sick people on car How does one portray the hell of the Auschwitz death camp? By letting the victims who experienced it tell their own story through artwork. The highly popular temporary exhibition “Forbidden Art,” previously exclusively shown in Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, has arrived in the United States. It contains camp prisoners’ works made illegally under the threat of death. On its journey through the country it makes a stop at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), and is on display now through Oct. 20 on the second floor of the Student Union. The exhibition’s United States premiere took place at the Polish Mission in Orchard Lake, Mich. Over the next months it will travel the U.S. and will be shown in two academic centers in Illinois: NEIU and Wayne State University. The exhibit will also be shown at the public University of California, UCLA and the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York. NEIU’s exhibition is organized by the University Office of International Programs in cooperation with the Polish Mission. The exposition shows artwork made by prisoners of the Nazi German concentration camps created during WWII in Europe that imprisoned and led to the cause of thousands of Jews and Slavic people. “Many artists were imprisoned in Auschwitz. While some of them produced art with the Nazis’ approval, others risked their lives trying to record horrors of the camps and leave a testimony for future generations,” Wojciech Wloch from NEIU Office of International Programs said. Hitler favored classic art or beautiful pictures, as opposed to realistic drawings depicting life in the camps. The prisoners, forced to conceal their artwork, showed their courage by simply producing it. The exhibition is divided in two parts. The first shows the camp’s reality - scenes from its functioning and portraits of prisoners. The second presents some ways of escape from this reality: caricatures, albums with greetings and fairy tales that prisoners wrote for their children. The works are shown in photographic form. They are diverse, but according to the exhibition’s curator and art historian of Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Agnieszka Sieradzka, one thing connects them: “Each of them is a moving story of a particular human being, created at the risk of life and which is today a testimony, document and personal confession.” “It’s worth it to see the exhibition twice,” added Wloch. “During the daytime as well as in the evening. Each time it will have a[n] unique climate triggering different emotions.” “Forbidden Art” will be accompanied by education and information sessions, workshops and lectures.On Friday Oct. 5, from 10-10:50 a.m., during a Sociology of Racism class a lecture by Krystyna Oleksy Executive Director of the Memorial Foundation for the Victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau will take place on the German death camp Auschwitz. To take part in the lecture, contact Mr. Wloch, room 8A at LWH.The Third Annual Conference on “Art in Response to Violence” will take place on Oct. 18 and 19. While a registration and fee is required for the conference, attendance for a panel discussion on Auschwitz-Birkenau is free and takes place on Oct. 18 at 9.30 a.m....

Colorful Art Exhibit Opens at NEIU – El Centro

Melissa Brand, Staff Writer

October 3, 2012

Filed under Art Show

              Chicago Artist Elsa Anaya brought her Andean art exhibit, “Heritage … Ethnicity” to Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) - El Centro Campus.  Interim Director of NEIU - El Centro Maria Luna-Duarte opened the reception welcoming everyone to the campus. “Inner-city youth and the students that come to El Centro don’t have the opportunity to go to the museums, so this is a good partnership that we have had with several artists throughout the years,” Luna-Duarte said. “We have had this program for about 4 years in which we invite local artists to bring their art to our campus.” Anaya, who goes by the artistic name of “Wari,” was born and raised in Peru. An avid artist since childhood, she tries to create a vivid snapshot of the Andean culture through her works.  “All my inspiration comes from the people from my country and the clothing that they wear. They wear very bright clothing because that’s their heritage,” Anaya said. “We come from the Incas. The Incas used to wear very bright colors and contrasts of colors, and that makes me inspired when I paint.” Anaya got her artistic name from her parents. “Wari is a Quechuan word that means joyful,” Anaya said. “My father used to call my mother that and now I use it in honor of my parents.”  Anaya has been drawing her whole life and does most of her work in oil pastels. “I especially try to tell a story behind it,” Anaya said. “That’s why you will find a description by each painting.” True to her Andean culture, the event also showcased authentic Peruvian food, Peruvian dancers in costumes styled after traditional clothing and exciting Andean music, as well as support and a visit from Nelson Ortiz, the Deputy Consulate General of Peru in Chicago.  The artwork will remain on exhibit in the lobby of NEIU - El Centro through Nov. 23, 2012....