Side Street Studio Arts

Side Street Studio Arts was founded in 2013 as an outlet for the Elgin arts scene. Side Street provides educational and creative resources and an inclusive space, run by artists. Side Street’s mission is to support the artist and artistic journey through collaboration.
Side Street Studio Arts se fundó en 2013 como una salida para la escena artística de Elgin. Side Street proporciona recursos educativos y creativos y un espacio inclusivo, dirigido por artistas. La misión de Side Street es apoyar el artista y el viaje artístico a través de la colaboración.

SSSA Staff

Founder/Executive Director - Tanner Melvin

Founder/Executive Director - Erin Rehberg

AD/Latino Outreach Coordinator - Ivette De Santiago

Assistant Director/Community Moves Coordinator - Nick Mataragas

Administrative Assistant - Mary Sweeney

LAB Manager - Jess Rocha

2019 Artist-in-Residence - Kathryn (Kate) Roberts

Founder/Executive Director - Erin Rehberg, M.F.A., was Founder and Artistic Director of Core Project Chicago, a dance-based, interdisciplinary performing arts collective and Founder/Director of Side Street Studio Arts in her hometown of Elgin, IL.  Core Project, 2006-2016, pushed the boundaries of storytelling through artistic collaboration with dramatic, sound, media and text artists and founded the Going Dutch Festival, a celebration of the female voice in dance, music, theater, and the visual arts. Erin earned a B.A. in Journalism from Western Illinois University, studied dance technique and choreography at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC, where she was later hired the Director of Press and Marketing, and was a founding member of Kim Nofsinger’s Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre. She has performed the choreography of Stefanie Batten Bland and E.E. Balcos, and has danced with Jay-Son/Tisa Dance Company, Nicole Gifford Dance, Jennifer Sandoval and others. Erin teaches and fuses multiple dance styles and has set work on dancers attending Bucknell University, WIU, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Southern Illinois Dance Center and Prep Dance School and in schools all over the Chicago area including the Beverly Arts Center, where she directed the Summer Arts Experience-interdisciplinary arts camp. Her choreography has been produced around the United States and in China, and she has produced site-specific work throughout Illinois. She has curated a variety of inter-arts happenings, working closely with artists across the country regarding common themes. Erin earned her M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media at Columbia College Chicago in 2009 where she expanded her creative horizons by pursuing dance for the camera surrounding creative process and in live performance. She has been on faculty at Interlochen Center for the Arts and Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts and is currently on faculty at Middle Tennessee State University and DancEd Dance Center in Northbrook, IL. Erin was a 2010 recipient of a Chicago Cultural Center DanceBridge Residency a 2011 recipient of The Studios of Key West artist residency, and the recipient of the 2016 YWCA Elgin Margaret Hillis Award for the Arts. Since moving back to Elgin in 2012, she co-founded the Elgin Ties Dance Festival (2012-2014), has been appointed to the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, was a member of the Hemmens Cultural Center Task Force (2014-2015), and is Artistic Director of the Elgin Fringe Festival.  

Founder/Executive Director - Tanner Melvin, M.S., is Founder and Director of Side Street Studio Arts in Elgin, IL.  Tanner comes back to Elgin and to Side Street from an eclectic background that includes a B.A. in Theater with an emphasis in acting and design and a M.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration with an emphasis in experiential education and interpretive programming, both from Western Illinois University.  After having worked as a professional actor and designer around the U.S. and spent years in the restaurant and entertainment industry, Tanner decided to move in a new direction focusing on outdoor education and programming for both children and adults.  In 2012, he spent time at Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab, UT as a Seasonal Interpretive Specialist, and looks forward to incorporating these experiences into the education and outreach programming within Side Street.

Administrative Assistant - Mary Sweeney Born in California and raised in Chicagoland, Mary graduated from Columbia College in Chicago with a B.A. in Theatre Design and a concentration in Scenic Painting. She has shared her love of art with children by teaching art classes and spearheading a charity to paint murals in Guatemala to promote education as well as creativity. When she’s not working, Mary uses her certification in floral design along with her appreciation for the macabre to combine found objects with floral patterns that incorporate both the dark and light-hearted sides of life. Life is not all art centric, though, because Mary makes sure to get outdoors to rock climb and bask in the beauty of nature. She is excited to bring her skills and passion to Side Street Studio Arts to learn and grow with all the wonderful people in its community.

Latino Outreach Coordinator / Assistant Director - Ivette De Santiago graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelors in Art and Technology and a minor in Art History in 2016. Most of my work consists of videos and other forms of time based media such as sound. I have dabbled with installation artwork and is something I would like to pursue further. I have also been working on photography projects on my free time. The themes of my work focus on identity and I try to create a platform where people can share their stories.

LAB Manager - Jess Rocha 

A bipedal lump of fungus filled with half-baked ideas and covered in a rash. Jess Rocha, hailing from Bartlett, Illinois, graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Art in 2018, where she majored in New Studio Practice. She also graduated with an Associate Degree in Science, and an Associate Degree in Fine Art from the local Elgin Community College in 2015.

A printmaker who’s recently discovered that non-2D art forms exist and has started playing with sculpture and installation. Hers is a process-based art practice that’s fueled by fantasy musing yet rooted in the biological and botanical. Weird, funny, and just a little gross.

Assistant Director/Community Moves Coordinator - Nick Mataragas is a director, actor, writer, producer, podcaster, and improviser, and is a graduate of the IO Chicago training center (so many things!). Nick can be heard on multiple podcasts on The DVMPE network including Memoriam Productions, SURIAL, The Last Days of Macho Man Will Shiflett, and Freak of the Week. For many years he could be seen in improv shows at The Comedy Shrine in Aurora Illinois. When not working way too much, Nick celebrates the god Dionysus, enjoys reading, and sleeps. Nick is the founder, and head of development at Memoriam Development.  

2019 Artist-in-Residence

Kathryn (Kate) Roberts 

Kathryn Eli, b.1987, is an Elgin native currently living in Chicago. She began her studies at Elgin Community College in 2006 as a scholarship student for The Writer's Center, and earned her BFA in Studio Arts from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2011, with a minor in Art History. The majority of Eli's work is in in drawing and painting, but she also finds creative outlet in poetry writing and collage art. In recent years, she has worked with local businesses in her Portage Park neighborhood, providing hand drawn chalkboard menus, signs, and illustrations. She has also executed large scale indoor wall paintings for local shops, and participated in community art efforts- most recently the Six Corners Art Walk (Arts Alive Chicago), completing 2 large scale paintings for outdoor public display.

Eli's most recent body of work focuses on the use of the continuous line as a structural framework for art pieces. Within this framework, she fuses the impulsive and psychological nature of the continuous line with slower, meditative processes in visual art making. Eli creates art centered on themes of interconnectedness, collective energy, shadow, and subconscious, with intention to encourage the viewer to consider these themes through a lense of love and light.

Follow Kate Roberts on Instagram.

Board of Directors 2019-2020

Sarah Manata, President

Erin Rehberg, Treasurer

Rick Tanner Melvin, Secretary

John Lafleur 

Jeffrey Pierce

Freddrick Wimms

Adopted by the Board of Directors on January 1, 2019

Side Street Studio Arts does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

Side Street Studio Arts is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle

15 Ziegler Court, Elgin, IL 60120

© 2020 Side Street Studio Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.