Chicago is not short on train tracks. Between the CTA’s “El”, Metra commuter trains, and Amtrak rail systems, you can stand pretty much anywhere in the city and hear a train whistle at some point or another. Alleys or streets flanking many of the elevated tracks are often lined with industrial buildings, and more and more of them are being converted into new businesses or places to access the arts and entertainment. Cornelia Arts Building did just this, but CAB was about 30 years ahead of the trend. It has served as working studio arts space since the mid 80s, and it continues to host new exhibitions of local artists, including CAB members and outside artists.
About three times per year, CAB hosts open studio nights, free for all art lovers, cheese nibblers, and wines sippers. CAB has that raw art studio set up because that’s exactly what it is—a maze of squeaky painted wood floors and scuffed up drywall, leading you from one studio to the next, each with a personality to match its unique resident creative. If you ever went to art school, you’ll feel right at home. If not, you might wish you had. I especially love seeing local Chicagoans commit to art, some as career artists and others just passionate makers.
CAB sits at Cornelia Avenue and Ravenswood. It’s a quick walk from the Brown Line Addison or Paulina stops. Fun and literally COOL fact, the building began as an ice block manufacturing company. Pun intended.