We Had a Party, and Everyone Came

50 Aldermen/ 50 Artists

Well, not everybody. But 834 people did, including 17 aldermen, staff from three aldermen’s offices, State Rep. Susana Mendoza, and Manny Flores. It was all kind of amazing.

The crowd represented every age, color, and background imaginable. We brought out grandparents, kids wearing skinny jeans, community organization leaders, people with fevers, eco-village residents-to-be, kickball documentarians, closet anarchists, non-voters, leagues of women voters, people with federal security clearances, guys from Pittsburgh, saxophone players, people who wore really nice-smelling fragrances, reporters, psychologists, editors, nice young men eating sandwiches and chips, women wearing pearls who really looked like alderwomen but weren’t, dudes in suits who really really looked so much like aldermen but also weren’t, Obama associates, bosses, close friends of former bosses, spouses, tee-totallers, drunk people, Canadians, Texans, marketers, a blonde girl who looked like participating artist Johanna Meyers but wasn’t, participating artist Johanna Meyers, a woman who wore a fedora like a champ, DJs who wear doctors’ jackets for fun, dominatrixes, some guy with a plastic bag full of empty bottles, the Local Tourist, artists, designers, someone who ruined all of the toilet paper (I won’t say how), a gal with a black eye (it’s not what you think), a guy who had a mustache like Jeremy’s, drummers, married couples, divorced couples, lawyers, and more artists.

It was more convenient to text your friend in the other part of the room than go look for them, and we had a line at the door (crowd control is essential when your guests know what the city code says about capacity breach). Nobody sang “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from the balcony to the folks outside, which seems like a missed opportunity, in retrospect. (There will be a closing reception on 4/2; perhaps this goal can be accomplished then.) People ate food named after Todd Stroger at Earwax, the restaurant downstairs.

We heard that one alderperson would not like their portrait when they saw it, but they came and they didn’t say they hated their portrait, so maybe they liked it. The piece sold, so somebody liked it.

— Lauri Apple

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About johallaprojects

Johalla Projects was established in the fall of 2009 by Anna Cerniglia as a venue for emerging and mid-career artists. Located in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Johalla Projects is a collective space collaborating with artists, writers, and curators. In addition to presenting exhibitions in its gallery space, Johalla works to organize and execute public art projects in neighborhoods across the city of Chicago. Every exhibition and project undergoes a thoughtful selection process, assuring that each show presented by Johalla Projects is comprised of the finest contemporary work.

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