I’ve been posting a lot about my art group, NIA, because we have been working hard all year in preparation for NIA Fine Art Friday. I’ve written a lot about this event, but I have yet to fill you in on what NIA‘s core mission is. As I recently said to my fellow NIA artists, “The heart of our journey has never been the NIA name, but the evolution of the individual artists.” And that’s what we’re about — evolving together.
Here is how we describe ourselves on our website:
NORTHSIDE INDEPENDENT ARTISTS is a grassroots collective. Its members each reside on Chicago’s north side. Their individual artistic visions are as diverse as the sights and sounds of the city that has nurtured them.
Over the course of three group art exhibits and two smaller preview events, NIA has provided a forum for emerging artists to feature their work. More than that, NIA gives artists valuable experience. To date, the artists themselves have been responsible for planning, curating, installing, and promoting all of their shows.
NIA empowers its artists to take their careers to the next level. It is also founded on the revolutionary principle of sharing knowledge and power, for one can only rise up when one’s community rises too.
What do you think about the idea of sharing knowledge and power? How does your community’s success (or failure) impact you? There are no simple answers to these questions, but thinking about them might change the way you look at your work. Whether you are an artist or something else entirely, you do not work in a vacuum.
I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience from organizing events, like Art on Ashland and innumerable workshops. But most of that experience exists only in my head. To put it bluntly, it will die with me someday. And while I’m alive, it can only make me tower over those who don’t have it. What good is that to anyone?
It has been far more fulfilling for me share the process of learning-by-doing with my NIA comrades. The knowledge we have uncovered is like a beneficial virus, spreading among us. And we are truly proud of one another’s progress. I honestly believe there would be less tension in the world if there were more of this sharing.
Our fourth major show, NIA Fine Art Friday, is scheduled for Friday, December 2 at ChiPRC, which is located at 858 N Ashland Ave. Doors are open from 6:30pm – 9:30pm. This event is free and open to the public. There will be complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages from Lagunitas, and art will be available for purchase. Come support NIA, your local artists!