Originally developed to address the underrepresentation of female choreographers in the dance world, GD grew into a multi-disciplinary arts
festival, including the work of self-identified female and trans artists working in music, theatre, site-specific, and visual arts, as well as dance. Now in its 12th year, we want our audiences up close and sharing space with the artists. All events are held in smaller, more intimate spaces. No fourth wall. No pomp.
The Going Dutch Festival, a celebration of the female voice in the arts, presents two solo exhibitions from area artists Rita Grendze and Sara Peak Convery.
Friday, November 4, 6-8pm
Gallery (15 Ziegler Ct.) - Rita Grendze's "Belly"
Theater (15 1/2 Ziegler Ct.) - Sara Peak Convery "Uncovered: Would you touch me?"
Free and Open to the Public
Rita Grendze is a first generation American born to immigrant Latvian parents. She grew up between rural Rosenfeld, Manitoba, Canada and suburban Lakewood, Ohio. She is the youngest of six opinionated, rowdy, loving siblings (Grendze was the quiet one). Grendze received her BFA in Fiber from Cleveland Institute of Art in 1987; her MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1994. Immediately following her graduate work, Grendze received a Fulbright scholarship and spent a year in Latvia studying symbolism in Latvian folk costume. Grendze has taught at Maryland Institute College of Art in the Fiber and Foundations departments, as well as at Jersey City University. Since moving to the Chicago area in 2001, she has worked with Redmoon Theater creating costumes and props for outdoor spectacles, has taught community workshops in Kane County and been involved with the studios and gallery leadership at Water Street Studios in Batavia, IL. Her sculpture has been shown broadly, including monumental installations in St. Charles, IL; Chicago, IL; St. Joseph, MI; Reedsburg,WI, and at the Latvian National Library, in Riga, Latvia. Rita Grendze lives, works, and adores her husband and two sons in Geneva, IL.
Sara Peak Convery is a Chicago based artist who enjoys working in a variety of media. As a child, her mother’s sewing machine was her primary tool of creativity. She spent her senior year in New Zealand as an AFS exchange student and was inspired by the art teacher to study art in college. At the University of Iowa, Sara completed her BFA in painting and photography, which was the start of her interdisciplinary approach to artmaking. In the midst of her time at Iowa, she made a bold move to transfer to Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. It was a challenging year in many respects, not the least in the recognition that her family was the prime focus of her artwork and she had removed herself from that source. Among the positive aspects of the experience were the printmaking classes she took, learning large scale color separation woodcut. On return to Iowa, “Being At Home” was the title of her Honors thesis – an installation with collages, furniture and a documentary slide show comprised of images taken during her frequent trips home during her final semester. Some of these slides would later be used in her documentary about her parents’ marriage “I Never Said I Wasn’t Happy”(2013) along with a number of paintings of her parents completed in the same time period.
Sara spent some time in the UK on a BUNAC work visa after graduation and absorbed the cinematic experience of films through the many art house film theaters that existed at the time. On returning to the US she moved to Chicago and embarked on an MFA at the University of Illinois at Chicago. While in the photo department, she bridged the gap and began taking film and video classes. These experiences and material also eventually became part of her documentary.
For several years, she worked for a wedding photographer, eventually starting her own consumer videography business, focused on editing. In 2005, after the death of her father, Convery retrieved the artwork from her college years that was stored in her parents’ attic. This was the beginning of her return to painting. A few years later, she made the decision to work on the documentary about her parents that had been in her mind for years. Affordable nonlinear video editing made this a possibility. So she concurrently and intermittently switched between painting and video production.
Convery began with ink and watercolor sketches, eventually getting back to oil. In 2012 she made the decision to rent a studio space where she was able to expand her vision and canvas to fill the high ceilings and wide swaths of wall. In this space, she began painting and collaging on unstretched dropcloths, using latex house paint, fabric constructions from high school, prints and drawings cut up and repurposed.
After she completed “I Never Said I Wasn’t Happy”, Convery began to actively pursue exhibition opportunities for her burgeoning collection of artwork. Since 2014 she has participated and curated many exhibits in the greater Chicagoland area, winning best in show at South Shore Arts Salon (Munster) and Beverly Arts Center.
In 2017, 5 days before her 50th birthday, Convery was diagnosed with cancer. Following her successful treatment she began a series of artworks in a variety of media utilizing her image, bald and in profile, to express the psychological experience of going through cancer. A year later, Convery made the decision to move to a larger studio space closer to her home, allowing a street presence not possible in East Garfield Park. She established Slacks Window Gallery for exhibiting artwork in the storefront windows of her studio in early 2019.
Prior to the pandemic, Convery began making word flags and paintings, reconstructing and repurposing flag parts. Following Biden’s election in 2020 she embarked on an oversize (arguably mural size)word quilt HEAL, using the electoral college (306 blue, 232 red) as the basis for the color scheme. The use of words in art has powerful implications for encouragement and guidance. Convery’s vision for her work and the world has enlarged and she embraces the possibility of expanding her work into the realm of public art.
Going Dutch Festival Committee:
Going Dutch Festival Crew:
Special Thanks To:
Erin Rehberg, Amanda Harris, Ivette De Santiago, Jess Rocha
Monty Etzcorn, Tanner Melvin, Erin Rehberg, Amanda Harris, Ivette De Santiago, Jess Rocha
Yesenia Arroyo, The Bouwmeester Family, Martini Room, Tanner Melvin, Spring Bird, Still Life Mediation