ABC7 in Your Neighborhood: Pilsen and Bridgeport

January 27, 2012 8:05:33 AM PST
Even if you're still recovering from your night on the town on New Year's Eve, you can still look ahead to a fun and free evening out next weekend.

ABC7 visited Pilsen and Bridgeport to show you where you can combine culture and couture all in one spot for free.

Whether you prefer to survey the lines and shadings in contemporary paintings or decipher the motivations behind avante gard sculptures, you might consider adding a trip to Pilsen to your weekend agenda.

Here you can even find boutique shopping for one-of-a-kind designer pieces. The Pilsen Art Building, 1932 S. Halstead St., houses dozens of galleries that open to the public every second Friday night. Fashion designer Orlando Espinoza is one of about thirty artists who displays his collections here.

"It's nice because you can get an influx of people from every part of the city," Espinoza said. "We get a lot of tourists who come in who are amazed to see the wonderful vibrant area."

Visitors note that it's never the same experience twice.

"I'm in awe of their ability to come up with a month's worth of new work," said visitor Amanda Englert. "I've noticed it used to be a lot more open studios. You'd see a lot more process. Now I feel like it's evolved into seeing a lot more finished pieces."

Further south in Bridgeport, the Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St., hosts a similar event every third Friday of the month.

"The whole building is open and everyone is invited to come," said Michael Zhou.

The center is home to over 40 galleries and artists' studios. It was founded in 2004 by two brothers looking to promote the exchange of contemporary art between Chicago and international artists.

"My father and uncle when they came from China, this was the first place that they settled in for over 20-something years," Zhou said. "This is our home away from home."

Nearly 300 visitors flood the space every month and that number is always growing.

That East Pilsen area now known as the Chicago Arts District actually encompasses several blocks of galleries, many of which also open their doors for free every second Friday.

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