Past exhibits and performances.

Side Street Studio Arts presents: "I, Become"Since the 1980s, there has been an intensification of identity-focused art. From Kerry James Marshall to Robert Mapplethorpe, concentrated bodies of work on identities and privilege have been displayed all over the world. “I, Become” is a group exhibition about identity, featuring portraiture works reflecting a range of perspectives and cultures.


Featured artists include Victor Cornejo, Kristin Ingram, Suzann Gonzales Jonson, Travis Linville, Adrian Mesino, Nancy Valladares, Guanyu Xu, and more.


On display Friday, February 9th through February 25th.


Opening Reception Friday, February 9, 7-9pm

FREE & Open to the public


GALLERY HOURS Thursday-Friday Noon to 6pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday 11am-3pm


Side Street Studio Arts presents Changing Light, an exhibition showcasing the work of our summer artist-interns. The display focuses on the relationship between reality and identity while aiming to escape, create, and hold on to environments and the individuals within them. Changing Light is inspired by the artists' desires and wishes. From graphic novel characters to real life friends, the show highlights personal experiences, fantasies, and elements derived from life.

Featuring art by Sofia Maes, Adrian Mesino, and Ricco Nunes.

This exhibit will displayed in the gallery and theater August 18 - September 3 with an opening reception Friday, August 18 from 7 - 9 pm. A music performance and story telling by Adrian Mesino will begin in the theatre at 8 pm.

$5 suggested donation

MOMENTS is a joint exhibition between Chloe Topf and Natalie Pivoney, two artist interns at Side Street Studio Arts. Topf's drawings focus on eliminating the boundaries of art by placing physical objects beyond handcrafted frames. She is interested in seeing how a person's past influences how they experience her work. Pivoney's oil paintings use light and color to emphasize the emotions imparted on us by "place." 

The exhibition will be on display during gallery hours between May 19 - 28, 2017.

#supportlocalart #downtownElgin #firstFriday 

#supportlocalmusic#watchdance #magic #makestuff #expansion #year4 #fourforfour

Four for Four

Celebrating four years of Side Street Studio Arts with live performances, art making, visual art, the grand opening of SSSA Supply & SSSA Lab, the Side Street family, and much much more!
$5 suggested donation


What a great schedule!
5-6pm Printmaking Hands-On Demo w/ Jim Lloyd - LAB
6pm Ribbon Cutting - LAB & SUPPLY
6-6:30pm Cody Clark roving magic - LAB & SUPPLY
6:30-7:30pm Live Painting Round #1 w/ John E French, Karl Jahnke, Victoria Kozlowski - LAB
7-7:30pm Screen Printing Hands-on Demo w/ Freddrick D. Wimms - LAB
7:30-7:45pm Cody Clark - GALLERY
7:30-8:30pm Printmaking Hands-On Demo w/ Jim Lloyd - LAB
8-8:30pm The Jades - THEATER
8-9pm Live Painting Round #2 w/ John French, Karl Jahnke, Victoria Kozlowski - LAB
8:45-9:05pm La Groove Fatale from Eastern Groove Studio - THEATER
9-9:30pm Screen Printing Hands-on Demo w/ Freddrick D. Wimms
9:15-9:30pm Cody Clark - GALLERY
10-10:45pm lettering - THEATER

In the Gallery 2/16 - 2/26
Artwork by Chuck Pheatt and Lynn Torbeck 

Reception: Friday, February 24, 2017 
With a performance by Harpist Rebecca Royce
7pm – 9pm $5 Suggested Donation 

The theme of the exhibition is STEM art. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, coined in the 1990’s by the National Science Foundation to promote science education. The origins of promoting science education go back to 1957 and the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik. 

Both Pheatt and Torbeck are a product of the promotion of science expertise in the 1950’s. They use their scientific training in selecting and developing artwork that presents their scientific vision in multiple mediums, including acrylic on canvas, hot glass, warm glass, cast bronze, steel, light sculptures and electronics. The result is art with a story to tell and concepts to illustrate.

It’s that time of year again folks, and we know it can be tough. All the red hearts, and chocolate coverered… everything, dancing in the isles of every store, parading the time-honored theme of the little cherub wielding his bow and arrow, daring to point it in our direction. And so it goes. In celebration of it all Side Street brings you "Love is Love" and Backwards Broadway. 

"Love is Love" is a visual art pop-up exhibition featuring a variety of works from artists from all over the region. The exhibition will be on display in the gallery Friday, February 10 through Saturday, February 12 in conjunction with our Backwards Broadway performances.

Side Street presents: BACKWARDS BROADWAY, a role reversal musical revue featuring area performing artists in support of Youth Outlook. Performances will be held Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11 at 8pm. Suggested donation tickets are $12 and will be made available starting in January.

#supportlocalart #downtownElgin #backwardsbroadway #vday 


LIVE January 13 – February 5
A solo exhibit by Roberto Martinez
Showcasing documentary photographs of local concerts

Opening Reception:
January 13 6pm-9pm

Gallery Hours:
Th & F 12pm-6pm
Sa 10am-6pm
Su 11am-3pm

Sponsored by the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission

Time and Place: analog photography of Doug Hanson 
November 4-13

Opening Reception: November 4
Free 7pm-9pm

Time and Place collects moments from several years of Doug Hanson's analog photography, from large format Malaysian landscapes to studio wet plate portraits. Assembled chronologically, these pieces create a timeline of photographic explorations, but presented here, each image takes on an alternate story line as it's presented as a piece of a larger whole. This imaginative exhibition plays with viewers' sense of space and time, offering them their own role in the developing story. 

Curated by Rachel E. Maley

Side Street Studio Arts announces a pop-up exhibition - "Monochrome: Blue"
Monochrome describes paintings, drawings, sculpture, design, or photographs in one color or values of one color. For our first monochrome pop-up exhibition, we are working through our blue phase.

We are pleased to welcome the work of Jordan Maley, Kimberly Witz, David Bremer, Natalie Pivoney, Jamey Bouwmeester, Jane Erlandson, Joshua L Smith, Lance Long, Jolanta Nawrocka, Connor Fenwick, Chris Palm, Fermin Barbosa, Christian Arrecis, John Bender, Kari Christensen, Nour Ayoub, Rachel Elizabeth Maley, G. Peterson. 

Blue opening Friday, September 30 6-9pm

Gallery Hours:
Friday, September 30, 6-9pm
Saturday, October 1, 10am-6pm
Sunday, October 2, 11am-3pm

-An exhibition in the making and made.

Nine artists take over Side Street Studio Arts and Next Door Theater. Each artist has been assigned an area to create and exhibit within, from the basement to the kitchen, these amazing artists will turn our space into theirs. The only rule: consider the space in the creation. Ansel Arnold, Shay Atkinson, Jane Erlandson, Karl Jahnke, Roberto Martinez, Tanner Melvin, Erin Rehberg, Bobby Rowland, and Lindsey Wiseman will gain access to their spaces starting Wednesday, January 13. Their creative and installation processes will be open to the public for viewing during gallery hours through Friday, January 22 when works will be finished. An Artist Reception & Performance will be held that Friday and all works will be available for viewing during gallery hours through January 31.

Who knows what these folks will do to our space! Check it out.

Gallery Hours:
Wednesdays-Fridays Noon to 6pm
Saturdays 10am to 6pm
Sundays 11am to 3pm

Artist Reception & Performances
Friday, January 22 from 6 to 10pm
$5 Suggested Donation

SSSA Artist-in-Residence

Martinez E-B

In preparation for his large scale solo exhibition in Cleveland, OH, Side Street Studio Arts resident artist, Martinez E-B, has developed a visually challenging series of paintings and collages that re-contextualize signs, flags, mementos, color, and the notion of social belonging.

Join us for the opening reception of his exhibition Friday January 8 at 6pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Artist Statement: There is a certain aura, power and authority that color, objects and images can have for a particular group of people. We have the right to pull from the world around us and place specific aspects of it into our own setting, thus creating new meaning. I intentionally complicate and re-contextualize those objects, images, signs, and symbols. Through a multidisciplinary process, I attempt to interrogate the complex relationship between us and the visual language that identify us, tell our histories, give power and expression to us, and at
times hold us hostage.

Side Street Studio Arts is proud to be hosting Re:Pop III, our third annual printmaking pop-art exhibit August 5th - 30th.  
Re:Pop III will showcase how the resurgence of printmaking as an art and business has shifted the dynamic of all media, and the future of the printed arts. This exhibit is focused on those artists dedicated to print media, i.e. fabrics, paper, and the remainder of all printed arts.  

The First Friday Artist Re:Ception will be held Friday, August 7th from 6-10pm.  

Th Battle of The Bands continues at 8pm.
$5 suggested donation




Side Street Studio Arts presents Unidos (More than One) – a group exhibition expressing hybrid cultures and Latinidad relations. Artwork reflects a vast collection of personal experiences and the intersection of differing, occasionally contradictory identities. 

Saturday, June 20th
Small Art Talk:
$5 suggested donation 

Saturday, June 20th
Artist Reception:

Exhibiting artists include: 
Kim Chayeb, Lucia Espinoza, Frances Hernandez, Gustavo Luna, Rachel Elizabeth Maley, Ignacio Martinez, Roberto Martinez, Ant Morales, and Carolina Poveda.

A month-long exhibit...

because they deserve it.


In celebration of Mother's Day, Side Street Studio Arts is curating a visual art exhibition and evening of performance featuring the work of the children of artists and artists inspired by their mothers. 


Artist Reception:

Saturday, May 9

from 6pm to 10pm, with performances running from 7pm to 9pm

$5 Suggest Donation



Emerging City

Photographs of Elgin’s rich history always amaze me. As a photographer, I like to see these old photos and compare them with my own. For four years, I have been practicing and mastering my picture making in Elgin; my subjects have ranged from documentation of construction sites and decaying locations to the people within. After documenting the architecture of Elgin, I am now moving inside to capture the leadership and personalities within these spaces. Emerging City is an exhibition that will feature beautifully crafted portraits of the people who work in Elgin and have a significant presence within the daily cultural life of the city. These portraits are shot with a press camera, which was once used for the Courier News back in the 40’s. Photographer, Clifford E. Lohs, spent most of his career shooting with this camera, and once took a picture of John F. Kennedy during his 1960 campaign in Elgin. This exhibition will feature life-size portraits of Elgin’s cultural leaders and will be presented during the Elgin Fringe Festival. With the aesthetics of history and large photographs, viewers are confronted head on to create a sense of immediacy and deeper personal understanding of the roots in Elgin.

Silver Moments in Time 

featuring the work of Doug Hanson

Exhibit runs 9/24 - 9/28
Blue Box/Side Street Lunch with the Artist - 9/24 at Noon
Artist Reception - 9/26 at 6pm

"Silver Moments in Time" - Artist Statement

Being dislodged from our normal and modern expectation of photographic style and appearance permits a new look at the familiar things around us. A vantage point poised in a slightly altered sense of time that can re-acquaint us with the beauty we have taken for granted and the emotion we long to feel. In The Time Machine by H.G. Wells a man was able to reflect on society, humanity, mortality and self through his travels in time. My Time Machine is a camera and the antiquarian processes that transport the viewer to that slightly different vantage point. A place where one’s own portrait may appear to be a picture of something much deeper and even startling. A place where an image of something familiar is rendered in a way that opens a door to a different kind of reflection on the moment, the story, and one’s self.

My images are original Tintypes or prints from glass negatives handmade with the 1850’s photographic technique called Wet Plate Collodion. Aside from the Daguerreotype it was first time the world was able to practically capture light and fix a permanent image as a photograph. The hand made process is fraught with uncertainty, mishaps, and artifacts that imbue a timeless and often haunting quality to the images. Modern themes rendered in this way present a degree of chronological conflict at times which opens this door to new reflections. I am exploring the common yet important themes of mortality, intimacy, and self through new images made in this old way. These are my Silver Moments in Time.

Side Street Studio Arts (SSSA) presents Re:Pop II a printed arts exhibition, curated by SSSA Director Tanner Melvin, July 30-August 10.  The exhibition is a collaboration among Kimberly Fredricks, Printshop Director at Water Street Studios in Batavia, IL, Jim Lloyd, an Elgin-based printmaker at Chaosseed Press, and SSSA, and is open for gallery hours beginning on Wednesday, July 30 at noon, through Art and Soul on the Fox and Janus Theater’s Walkabout event, which will be held, in part, at SSSA. 


Re:Pop features the work of both local Elgin artists, as well as those from Rockford, Chicago, and more, including Wes Beeler, Kevin Bowman, Fredricks, Jeff Kehoe, Lloyd, Andrew Mullally, Curtis Readel, Sarah Reed-McNamara, Tessa Shackelford, Manny Tang, and more.

Side Street Studio Arts presents

Festival, featuring the works of Zelda Vidal 
"At a young age, my grandfather instilled a sense of wonder that helped me create my own style. I built a universe with it. It allowed me to conjure up colorful creatures and place them in narratives that are laced with humanistic struggles. Each piece I finish is a creative exploration to evoke the nostalgic, otherworldly atmosphere that sparked my love for art. My work is both personal and playful; it is driven by the natural human spirit. Whether it is exploring the deep intricacies of the mind or expressing the joy of youthfulness, I strive to create pieces that pull the observer into a quiet, wonder-filled universe." - Zelda Vidal

July 9th - Write Your Story - a Children's Book workshop for children who aspire to write their own stories

(11am - 12:30pm , $5 suggested donation)

July 10th - Illustrate Your World - a Children's Book workshop for children who want to learn about the world of picture book illustration

(11am - 12:30pm, $5 suggested donation)

July 11th - Artist Opening Reception

(6pm - 10pm, $5 suggested donation)

Sociological Imagination

May 28-June 30, 2014


Side Street Studio Arts' first Artist-in-Residence, Jose Luis Reyes uses pixelization of comic book super heroes and iconic images to emphasize the blurred reality of childhood dreams.


At a very young age JLR knew he wanted to be an artist like his idols Picasso, Warhol, and Chuck Close. Now, at the age of 35, time is now his nemesis.


With the support and patience from family, friends, and the good people atSide Street Studio Arts, JLR presents a year of work in his first solo show Sociological Imagination.

Artist Reception

Friday, May 30, 7-10pm

Featuring a live DJ Set by Ben Gilbert

In Hindsight: Varied Perceptions of Reality


In Hindsight: Varied Perceptions of Reality featuring the work of Wiseman. “Reality is relative to how you choose to perceive it,” states Wiseman  “Over the years my interest in perceived aspects of reality has shifted.  In the beginning of my career, I was interested in the anatomy and functionality of human beings.  From there, my portraits attempted to reveal honest emotional depths as well as illusionistic depictions of their likenesses.  Now my works focus on transformation and dark hallucinations as a reality.” 


In Hindsight runs February 6-9, with the artist reception Saturday, February 8 from 6-10pm, featuring live music by Trocar Buttons.  

Don't Ask


Curated by and featuring work of Deena Delagarza as well as Carolyne O'Ryan, Kit Beier

The first of Side Street's Fall/Winter 2013 Artist-Intern Exhibitions

A show emphasizing work that has been created for the sake of creating. Feeling isolated and alone, I've found art again and used it as a tool to move through and passed one of the most difficult and trying times in my life. This show is an evolution from a broken down little girl, to a less broken girl.

In celebration of Native American History Month...


Side Street Studio Arts presents

A Celebration of Native American Culture


Guest Curated by

Elgin Artist Mary Holat


Exhibit Runs November 14 - 30, 2013

Artist Reception Saturday, November 16, 11am-3pm

Kid's Day Event Saturday, November 23, 11am-3pm


$5 Suggested Donation



Mary Jane Holat, a hand builder of pottery, was born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1946. A member of the Saulte Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Mary is best known for her "Spirit People" pottery creations. Mary began her creative journey int