December 1, 2009

Art gallery and thrift store open, for a month, on 55th Street

A temporary gallery for “art, ideas, thoughts, and concerns,” called the Opportunity Shop, or Op Shop, opened on 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue last Friday, and will close at the end of the month. The owners hope it will be the first of many temporary galleries.

Operating out of a vacant storefront owned by MAC Property Management, Op Shop is the first location in what Hyde Park residents and gallery owners Laura Schaeffer and Andrew Nord plan to be a long-term project. “The Op Shop is dedicated to creating alternative sites of exchange around art in vacant urban spaces,” according to the shop’s Web site.

The Opportunity Shop’s location is not the only thing that will change over time. The gallery’s displays will constantly evolve and the submission deadline for artwork is rolling. The Op Shop space houses a thrift store in the back and is available to host events in the evenings.

The gallery will close with a party on Saturday, December 31 from 6-10 p.m.

The Op Shop is the latest in a recent trend of informal art in unconventional places in Chicago. Three temporary art galleries recently cropped up in vacant storefronts in the Loop, according to a November 27 article in the Chicago Reader.