On Monday evening, Cole’s bar (2338 N. Milwaukee) hosted an artists’ reception for Art@Cole’s #18: The Photo Show, an AnySquared Project (@AnySquared). Featured photographers included Mathew Avignone, Seaghan Brien, Laura Kurtenbach, Joseph Mietus and Brett Swinney. The show will be on display through Sept. 15, 2012.
AnySquared is an artists’ collaborative that organizes events and other ongoing exhibitions. Art@Cole’s has been taking place every six to eight weeks since April 2010, a few months after the artist collective began.
Photographer/videographer Brett Swinney and painter Tracy Kostenbader met while working in another artist collective and came together to create AnySquared in early 2010. Swinney, having grown up in Logan Square, wanted to give something back to the community. Kostenbader has resided in Logan Square for the past 20 years. The two desired a community that would showcase their art as well as that of fellow artists. The first project they created was Cinema Minima, which is an ongoing monthly series (also hosted at Cole’s) that “aspires to present an atmosphere to enjoy good films with good friends (and good drinks).” Other projects soon followed, including the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival.
“Because we are artists, we strive to make art part of the everyday existence in our community,” says Kostenbader.
One of AnySquared’s goals is to help facilitate getting art in the local businesses. The group has curated exhibits at New Wave Coffee (@NewWaveCoffee, 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.), Township (@YourTownship, 2200 – 2202 N. California Ave.) and Revolution Brewing (@RevBrewChicago, 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.). They also host Art@Handlebar on an ongoing basis, in addition to Art@Cole’s.As stated as its mission, the group “collaborates with other art groups and studios and knows that building relationships is one of our strengths. We also seek to be helpful to the surrounding communities, while building an audience to support fellow artists rather than be in competition.”
Swinney and Kostenbader attribute AnySquared’s success to their ability to organize and bring artists and business owners together. “We’re great at connecting business owners, artists, the alderman and the Chamber of Commerce,” explains Swinney. “Our main goal is to find ways to promote artists and get them to promote themselves too.”
In the past, AnySquared has secured permission from community murals and graffiti walls, such as the Limit Community Mural on Medill.
The group’s weekly Studio Day takes place every Wednesday at AnyWhere Space, Kostenbader’s home and studio. Here, she provides a space for artists to experiment, and encourages fellow visual artists to bring a project, supplies and ideas.
AnySquared currently is organizing Squared: Art + Community on Oct. 13, 2012. The multimedia event, taking place around the California Blue Line Stop, will feature a collection of art shows, film screenings, open studios, installations, murals, art activities, music and more. Visit AnySquared.com for more information.