Heaven Gallery's field trips make
out-of-town art accessible
For most, the words field trip summon nostalgic elementary-school days of yore when yellow buses carted permission slip–toting students to the impressive steps of large museums. For a small group of Wicker Park gallerygoers, field trips are catching on as way to relive the educational fun—and make new friends.
Heaven Gallery (1550 N Milwaukee Ave, second floor; 773-342-4597) hosted its first field trip in June—to the Milwaukee Art Museum—and this weekend embarks on its second, to the St. Louis City Museum. Organized by video curator Clara Alcott, the Heaven field trips are an opportunity for fans of the small second-story gallery to come together to experience another city's art. "I grew up in Milwaukee, so a lot of people had asked me about [the MAM], and it has a very, very good contemporary [art] collection and a good building," Alcott says. "It's kind of an interesting phenomenon: There's this really nice contemporary building there that has all this great art; for Milwaukee, it's almost peculiar."
Knowing the interest of the Heaven-going community was present, Alcott kept an eye on MAM's programming and waited for an opportunity. She wound up scheduling the day trip around the opening of the exhibition "CUT: Film as Found Object," and worked with MAM to ensure that they could be appropriately accommodated with group rates. Fifteen Chicago field trippers came along for the ride, shared a picnic lunch before the museum visit and attended a screening afterward, which was open to others in the Milwaukee community. Alcott notes that the group had so much fun networking with locals at the postmuseum screening, participants tailgated to another art party and didn't drive home till 11pm.
"I was surprised at how well it turned out and how many people did want to come," Alcott says. "It was a really good experience. We met a lot of people who we hadn't met before who had just [learned about the trip] on the [Heaven] website, and it's nice because we were able to spend hours with these new friends that we made. It's a nice communal experience."
After Friday 23's overnight trip to the St. Louis City Museum, Heaven may organize a spring trip to Minneapolis; talks of visits to Austin and New York are also in the mix. No permission slips required.—Lauren Viera
For more on "The Second Heaven Field Trip to St. Louis," checkoutwww.heavengallery.com.