If you find yourself wandering through the historic Chicago Gold Coast you might just happen upon a beautiful, historic, manor tucked behind a wrought iron fence and lovely gardens. This mansion from the 1870s is home to Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts, a non-profit organization that offers artistic refuge to sketchers, painters, and sculptors from all over the country.
Palette and Chisel was first established in 1895 by artists who wanted to spend more time working and learning from live models. Housed in their Gold Coast location since 1921, their tradition of training and excellence continues today. They have over 300 members nation-wide as well as 180 dedicated individuals that see to day-to-day matters that keep Palette and Chisel a thriving hub for amateurs and professionals alike.
Their mansion home base is absolutely stunning-the exteriors of the manor house speak clearly of a century not our own-and belie the admittedly plain interior. Worn down under the feet of intrepid artists through the decades, the carpet and plaster are showing their age. However, the walls are hardly blank space. Rooms that were once used for dining and Sunday tea are now roped off as galleries. Open exhibitions created by Palette and Chisel members are displayed here for any and all who want to experience today’s art scene.
On the upper floors, away from the straying eyes of visitors, are the studios. Palette and Chisel boasts several different venues for both members and students. You will find a sculptor’s studio as well as an airy and paint-daubed third story room for, obviously, painting. It is in these rooms that, as their tradition dictates, artists work from live (read, often nude) models to create 21st century masterpieces.
Interested in picking up a brush yourself? Palette and Chisel offers over sixty hours of open studio time per week. There are no instructors, just quiet and fellow artists honing their skills. Open studios are free to P&C members and 15 dollars a session for non-members. Over the past twenty years, the studio has also instituted classes as well as the open studios. Classes are offered to in a variety of media to both beginners and professionals and do not require a membership to enroll.
Steeped in history- artistic, architectural, and otherwise- Palette and Chisel Academy for Fine Arts is a lovely escape from the mundane. Go in and take a class or simply experience the art of some of today’s premier artists in the galleries. Who knows? One day the art you see at Palette and Chisel will be hanging on the walls of The Chicago Art Institute.
Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts
1012 North Dearborn
Chicago IL, 60610
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Check here for class schedules and open studios.