Highland Park studio ups art awareness
Artist Nina Weiss hosted a special event Dec. 14 that featured five tenants at her Art Endeavors Studio in Highland Park. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Nina Weiss/Art Endeavors Studio
ADDRESS: 3150 Skokie Valley Highway #12, Highland Park
Updated: January 3, 2013 7:29AM
HIGHLAND PARK — The cluster of small warehouses at 3150 Skokie Valley Highway in Highland Park has long been popular with artists looking for reasonably priced studio space a short distance from home.
Tenants have included the sculpting team of Omri Amrany and Julie Rotblatt-Amrany, creators of the Michael Jordan statue at the United Center, who have since moved on to a studio in Fort Sheridan.
But until oil painter Nina Weiss and her Art Endeavors Studio arrived this fall, there wasn’t much contact among the artists, sculptors and photographers who coexist with a range of tenants that includes a caterer, a gasket maker and a pool company.
Weiss has kick-started what may become a regular occurrence: Coordinated open studio events that take advantage of critical mass. The events are a way for people to see examples of the artists’ work, which may lead to a commissioned project or perhaps a visit to a gallery where finished pieces are available for purchase.
“I had a grand opening on Nov. 9 and the turnout was so tremendous I said, ‘Hey, we should keep this going,’” said Weiss, who specializes in impressionistic landscapes.
A Dec. 14 event involved five tenants, including photographer Robert Tolchin and sculptors Suzanne Horwitz, Pan Lee and Daniel Weinstock. The event was promoted through the city’s Business and Economic Development Commission and the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, among other outlets.
“This is the first time I’ve gotten to know some of the artists,” said Tolchin, who thinks the buzz the events generate will raise awareness and be good for the artists. “I hope to possibly make it a recurring event.”
Weiss had been working out of her home since moving to Highland Park with her family in 1999, but has felt for some time she needed more space. She’s actually pleased now that two other space options fell through, because the space where she ended up is far superior. She sees the presence of other artists in the complex as an opportunity to create a community.
As part of the Illinois Artisan Program, Weiss’ work is on display at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. She also teaches at Columbia College, the Evanston Art Center, the North Shore Art League and the Chicago Botanic Gardens. She currently is part of a two-artist show at the Koehnline Museum of Art at Oakton Community College.