A common sentiment among students who have taken the How to View Art series of classes at the University of Chicago’s Graham School is how they are able to appreciate paintings in an entirely new way. Instead of spending a minute or two in front of a piece, they now take as much as half-an-hour to let the artwork sink in. In addition to this slower, more thoughtful approach, these students agree that the class instructor, Ariela Lazar, has been able to create a real community—one that extends beyond class time. This is entirely evident at a recent event hosted by Ariela at the bright and spacious Ed Paschke Art Center.
The “Holiday Party for Art Enthusiasts” was the result of Ariela’s effort to introduce students to new spaces. While many of them had never been to this center in the heart of city’s Far Northwest Side, it was a welcome change of pace for students who spent much of their class time at the Art Institute. Viewing the loud, layered and oft-neon colored paintings of Ed Paschke, students took their time soaking in the work of the late, influential Chicago artist when not catching up with one another. On the center’s lower level, the multi-faceted work of exhibited artist Mariano Chavez—including a mask made out of snake sheds—gave students an even further variety of work to dissect.
One of Ariela’s former students who is no stranger of the Ed Paschke art center or his work is the space’s director and co-founder, Vesna Stelcer. “Ed did figurative work that really
changed the scene in Chicago,” Vesna says of Paschke. She adds that Paschke was especially dedicated to Chicago who stayed in the city and was a huge fan of local sports and music. Traces of Paschke’s love of Chicago can been seen in his recreated studio space inside the center which features unfinished paintings, local show posters, cassettes (many blues), and even a pair of Nike Air Jordans.
Vensa applauds Ariela for bringing awareness to the work of Paschke to a new audience. Judging from the students repeated trips around the center to study each painting carefully, bringing them to the space was a successful departure for this community of art enthusiasts. As student Elaine Harris says, “Ariela is like a shepard. She gets up and she knows where she’s going.”
To learn more about the Visual Arts Education and Outreach program and view our upcoming classes, please visit the program page.