By day, it’s a design studio for two North Riverside artists. But 22, which opened in late 2011 at 6910 W. Cermak Road in Berwyn, is more than that. It’s also an art gallery and, one weekend a month, is an art market, selling the work of young artists and providing local residents a chance to buy original art at an affordable price.
Jessica Calek and Dan Streeting celebrated their official grand opening in February inside the storefront that for decades was a hobby shop. The building is owned by Calek’s family, and the hobby shop’s closing turned out to be fortuitous.
“Everything that needed to be happening was happening at the same time,” said Calek, the director of 22, who is a 2003 graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School.
Both Calek and Streeting recently had finished up their master’s degrees at the renowned Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Calek studied architecture, while Streeting, a native of Michigan, earned his master’s degree in two-dimensional design.
At Cranbrook, students work autonomously and that sense of independence led the two to seek out an opportunity to start their own art-related business.
“It makes you want to strike out on your own,” Streeting said. “We wanted to do something creative and constructive.”
The result of that entrepreneurial spirit is 22. Most weekdays will find Calek and Streeting there, working on their own projects and for freelance clients. Streeting’s freelance projects involve graphic design, including posters for events, while Calek works on architecture-related design projects.
At the same time, anyone interested in checking out the latest art exhibit in the studio space can walk in and have a look. An exhibit of Calek and Streeting’s work just ended at the beginning of March, and they are gearing up to install their next one, titled “Compression Testing,” which will focus principally on work using corrugated cardboard.
Calek noted cardboard’s importance as a material in both art and design.
“Much of art and design is based on gaining an intimate understanding of material properties,” she said. “‘Compression Testing’ focuses on corrugated cardboard because of that material’s importance in solving purely design problems, and because of its growing presence in contemporary art, as work grapples with questions of permanence, accessibility and longevity and connections to identity, portraiture, reuse shelter and so on.”
The show opens on Friday, March 16 with an opening reception at 6 p.m.
And on the second Saturday of each month, Calek and Streeting transform 22 into a retail art store, featuring the work of a half dozen or so local artists. Prices are affordable, as low as $10.
The most recent market on March 10, featured work by both Calek and Streeting as well as five other local artists, who brought in everything from T-shirts to ceramics to paintings and jewelry.
While foot traffic was on the slow side, word is still just filtering out about the space. Calek and Streeting hope to gain more exposure in the future by hosting live performances and by offering art classes.
“Places like Berwyn and Riverside have community galleries, but we see this as a place the rest of Chicago and the country can see as a great design practice and business model,” said Calek.
The business’ website is at www.22berwyn.com.