If you’ve ever walked East on Armitage towards Kedzie, headed towards Scofflaw or Walgreens, you’ve walked past a building with an iguana in the window. You’ve probably thought, “What’s up with that place?” Idealty (3206 W. Armitage Ave.), owned by Matt Andelman, is a realtor’s office, art gallery and community event space that has hosted public events since its launch in December 2014. Jeb Jeb the iguana has been a fixture there ever since.
But now, Andelman has decided to take less physical space at the office, leaving the rest in the hands of [Blnk] Haus (pronounced Blank House), run by partners Rachel Lechocki and Andrew Rehs.
On August 2nd, [Blnk] Haus opened its doors officially for the first time with an art show/beer tasting, sponsored by Collective Arts Brewing. The first artists reviewed at the location are the owners themselves—as a way for new and future artists to see how it’s done.
One of the goals of [Blnk] Haus is to create a program for new and inexperienced artists who have never even been to a gallery, much less displayed their work in one.
The three of us spoke at length about how many talented artists, bless them, are hopelessly introverted and socially awkward but need all the help they can get in an arena that requires a bit of chutzpah and social media savvy. Lechocki, an art teacher and curator in Chicago since 2008, talked about implementing a six-month Resident Artist program, where artists can find their voice, network with possible patrons and collaborate with other artists.
Another feature of [Blnk] Haus’ new location is the spiritual/therapeutic amenities: a licensed yoga practitioner, Lechocki offers yoga to groups by appointment. The first yoga class will be this Thursday at 6 p.m. It will be $10 but needs a minimum of five students to participate. Call the space to secure your spot.
[Blnk] Haus also makes for a comfortable workspace, with long wooden tables and a comfy couch. Rehs is constantly standing by the door, inviting in passersby.
But the main branch of [Blnk] Haus’ plan of action is creating a community, for artists who want to make art that sustains them financially and a neighborhood that is hungry for quality and affordable art. Rehs, with a background in substance abuse counseling, talked about the need for surrounding yourself in an environment that is nurturing and supportive.
“I started making art to meet new people, which is how I met Rachel at Zhou B and how I met Matt by making furniture for the Idealty office,” he said. “I needed a challenge… I needed a community.”
If you’re looking for a sense of community with the art world, or just the Logan Square area, be sure to follow [Blnk] Haus on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about future events or submit your art. Call or message the office to make an appointment to meet the owners to get some work done. If you hang out long enough, you might even see Jeb Jeb move. The dude is like a statue.
Check out some photo highlights from the grand opening below. Photos by Paulina Fadrowska for LoganSquarist.