From Fiber Work to an African Arts Festival, These Are August’s Must-See Art Events

“Envisioning Justice” / Photo by Torie McMillian/Courtesy of BBF Family Services in North Lawndale

This month in Chicago’s arts scene, check out a special book release party, a Brazilian cultural crossover, an African festival of the arts, and an exhibition showcasing all things fiber.

“Transitional Objects” at Shane Campbell Gallery
William J. O’Brien’s works range from dense scrawls of oil pastel on paper to weighty ceramic sculptures of tangled lines and bulbous forms that seem to droop before your eyes. The Chicago-based sculptor will present new works at this solo show that are sure to be tantalizing visual treats.
Details: August 5

Book Release Party at the Franklin
This summer, the outdoor artist-run yard space has transformed into a garden, tended by artists Jim Duignan, Claire Pentecost, and Melissa Potter. The trio planted heirloom variety potatoes in special planters with the intention of opening a dialogue about microecology and plant histories. They also made a book, printed on paper made from potato vines. Come out to celebrate its release—and the beauty of the spud.
Details: August 10

Julio Austria, Parallels, 2019. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Zhou B Art Center

“Synergy: From Manila to Acapulco” at Zhou B Art Center
Celebrate 3rd Fridays, a regular evening of open studios at this Bridgeport arts hub, with a visit to an ongoing exhibition by artists of Filipino and Mexican heritage. Through paintings and sculpture, dozens of creatives explore the overlap of their seemingly disparate cultures, from language to tradition.
Details: August 16

“Close to There: Sounds of Protest” at Stony Island Arts Bank
The local art space Comfort Station has facilitated an artist exchange between Chicago and Salvador, Brazil, and as part of its programming is hosting this intriguing event. Several participating artists will present how they use sound in their practice as an act of or archive of protest.
Details: August 17

Public Reception for “Envisioning Justice” at SAIC Sullivan Galleries
Since March, Chicago artists have worked with seven community-based organizations to envision what justice could and should look like in their neighborhoods through arts education, collective arts projects, and other initiatives. The results of their collaborations will be on view in this powerful exhibition, from a quilt reflecting on police violence to ceramic amplifiers looping words on the prison system.
Details: August 17

Photo courtesy of African Festival of the Arts/Facebook

Terrain Exhibitions Launch Party at Aspect/Ratio
For the uninitiated, Terrain Exhibitions is a front yard and porch in Oak Park that invites artists to create site-specific works. It’s one of the most fertile and celebrated alt spaces in the Chicago area, a space to catch up-and-comers. Proceeds from this party will go toward supporting programming, including the forthcoming Terrain Biennial, which will feature more than 200 artists in locations around the city.
Details: August 29

30th Annual African Festival of the Arts
This weekend-long marketplace grew out of a single man’s African art and gift shop in Harper Court. During the past three decades, it has expanded into a fair of African cultural objects, then into its current iteration of a villagelike festival, where vendors hawk unique goods, from sculpture to jewelry. Oh, and there’s plenty of great food to be had.
Details: August 30

“Entrelazur” at Circle Contemporary
Named for the Spanish term that translates to “weave,” this exhibition showcases the talents of Chicago-based fiber artists who identify as female. Each relies on more than just fabrics, incorporating nontraditional materials into their dizzying works.
Details: August 30