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Drink and Be Merry: Marwen Art Fair 2010

Emily Vidal-Hallett, "And She Endangered the Sun," 2010. (Image courtesy of Marwen Staff.)

My recent Friday night spent volunteering proved yet again that unpaid work is often more rewarding than compensated labor. On November 5th, Marwen celebrated their 5th annual Art Fair, and I and a friend of mine were there at the coat check to help out. Marwen is an organization that offers art education to Chicago youth whose own middle and high school art programs are lacking. 90 percent of Marwen participants attend college, compared to the measly 52 or so percent of Chicago public school students that manage to graduate high school. Art Fair 2010 celebrated Marwen’s success with the exhibition of around 150 pieces of student, alumni, teacher, and staff work.

DJ STV SLV of the Hood Internet kept the patrons moving with his live set, while bartenders served simple but strong drinks. Patrons could vote for their favorite design in a Threadless sponsored t-shirt contest, or enter Marwen’s photo booth to have their picture taken with an assortment of wacky props. While these elements may sound distracting, rest assured, everyone was looking at the art. The subject and style of the works ranged from flat color paintings of cartoons, to traditional nature photography, to stuffed animals. Families examined their children’s collages, 20-somethings studied the sculpture, and plenty of patrons bought up their favorites.

The extreme diversity of the exhibited works and the night’s activities were the keys to success for Marwen’s most lucrative Art Fair to date. Fun, engaging, and surprising, the event was everything an exhibition should be. Expect me to be working the coat check again next year, and hopefully I’ll see you there.

Photos provided by Marwen Staff