Chicago is filled with an incredible amount of artistic talent. It can be seen in the sculptures that line our beautiful skyline, and through our breath taking architecture, which are created and/or inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. This city is home to some of the nation’s well-respected colleges and universities, which are built around the Arts. Schools that produce some very talented graduates, who have potential to make a great impression on the art world. The city is also filled with a lot of raw, untapped talent of all ages.
Next Door Café and Universal Creativity both embrace Chicago’s local art community, and has collaborated together to support some of Chicago’s talented inspiring upcoming artist, through the event entitled Art Blast Chicago. Art Blast is an event that will take place quarterly, and will feature the talent of local artist. The very first installment of Art Blast took place Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Lincoln Park’s Next Door Café, 659 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614 from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The event featured everything from an acoustic artist to the designs of a local fashion designer.
During the event, Next Door Café was transformed into an exhibit where unsung artists could have a voice and show their talents. What was unique about the event, is the fact that it didn’t focus on one genre of Art. Instead, Art Blast Chicago used various areas of the Art to stimulate the many taste buds of the Art Connoisseurs who attended the event.
Universal Creativity also promoted the Next Door Art Supply Drive throughout the event. Any participate who brought in more than one art supply was entered into a drawing, where the winner won a $25 gift card for Bath and Bodyworks to spend for Mother’s Day. The Art Supply Drive was a fundraising event that took place during May, where people were encouraged to come to Next Door Café and donate art supplies which were given to the children at Carol Robertson Center for Learning Youth Afterschool Program. www.crcl.net. Next Door donated $5 to Universal Creativity for each art supply received during the drive.
The event opened with music from a local DJ, and then flowed into a live performance from vocalist/acoustic guitarist, Jenny Dinh. Jenny, a 16 year old super talent, pulled in those who walked by as she performed her own renditions of some well known songs and some of her own original pieces. The young artist is definitely someone to look out for in the future with a sweet, soft angelic voice, and some major skills on the guitar. The singer and guitarist began only three years ago crafting her talent, and is now, with support of her parents, doing public performances in hopes of being discovered.
After a wide array of music, Aaron Christmon, wardrobe stylist, demonstrated ways to style an outfit that is sure to demand attention. I have to say that the participating models looked very Oak Street store window ready. The fashion designs were provided by local fashion designer, Horacio Nieto, who has some lovely couture, vintage inspired pieces. Horacio’s showroom is located at 2151 W. 21st Street, Floor #1, Chicago, IL 60608. www.horacionieto.com.
Later in the evening, A screening of “Running[Water]”, a short film directed by young artist Ari Lawrence was shown. The film which compared a day in the life of a typical American with the life of people in third world countries, showed how we are all connected and that we can help to make others living conditions a little better by helping them to gain a source of clean water. Ari was a runner up in the Water Day Film Festival. You can check out the film for yourself at http://water.org/post-v/2012-festival-runners-up/.
After the film, Javaris Stevenson, Universal Creativity CEO/President, introduced the audience to the mission, the staff behind the organization, and the future of Universal Creativity. The event concluded with Lashon Anthony, a jewelry designer, who gave a tutorial on how to make your own beaded bracelets. The participates were able to construct, and take home there own original piece of jewelry.
Throughout the entire event, Jun Nagano, a photographer/videographer, caught all of the activities on film. Jun, who is from Kagoshima, Japan, developed the love of film while attending DePaul University where his minor was Digital Cinema. After working in a public accountant firm, Jun launch his own photography and film production company in Oak Park, IL called Cuantica Pictures. He enjoys taking photographs of cityscapes, and models with a consistent themes behind them; he often uses the scenes of movies as a theme for a series of photographs. Nagano stated that since childhood, he has noticed that in films each individual frame has some type of meaning and symbolism. He also has a project called Bridge for Dreamer, where he does promotional videos for musicians and artist. For more information on Bridge for Dreamer or booking Jun, check out www.cuanticapictures.com.