Back in March of 2020, the Hairpin Arts Center made the difficult decision to close due to COVID-29 pandemic. We are not alone as many arts venues have closed temporarily or permanently. We are all anxious to get back to...

Dear Hairpin Arts Center Community:

Back in March of 2020, the Hairpin Arts Center made the difficult decision to close due to COVID-29 pandemic. We are not alone as many arts venues have closed temporarily or permanently. We are all anxious to get back to normal, meet our friends and families and YOU! 

We have moved to Phase IV limited gathering status. That means we are able to have up to 50 people in our space at one time. We will take every request for space into consideration and evaluate based on current information and our limited ability to manage COVID protocols. For the foreseen future, all guests will need to be masked, social distancing and other COVID protocols will be followed.

The comfort level of everyone needs to be considered. The artists, the staff, and the audience that need to feel comfortable for us to be open even in a limited way. We have developed a Virtual and Live streaming platform. Board member Lily Be having volunteered her expertise to have that happen and deserves our praise and thanks. Please check out our YouTube page (Hairpin Arts Center) and links here on our website to see what we have for you to view. We are very interested in adding to our offerings and welcome your ideas.

We have not been sitting on our hands for sure! We moved ahead with the painting of the Hairpin as it definitely needed a color update and new look! A huge thank you to Gene Pellegrene and Artists Painters for his painting expertise and to Beth LeFauve for her design/artistic expertise in choosing colors and design elements.  Gone are the brown and weird yellowish green walls and in with the grays and red wall! We are hopeful that the State of Illinois will honor its commitment to release the funds due for the arts sector that would have us complete the sound dampening and lighting upgrades through a capital improvement grant. 

These are difficult times for all of us, as we are searching for ways to remain sane as well as sheltering in place and resisting the temptation to drop our guard and vigilance. The science tells us that masks work, washing your hands works, social distancing works if they are ALL implemented. We are a network of conversations; our neighbors, churches, schools, friends and family.

As the Executive Director of the Hairpin Arts Center, I am keenly aware the ramifications this shut down caused for our space, the artists in our community and the community itself.  I went into the Hairpin the other day and as I walked into the space with the sun streaming in through windows, the silence and beauty took my breath away. We have a beautiful arts space. When we had to close down last March, we had an amazing AnySquared Projects arts installation, LIP 20/20 (Life in Progress) highlighting 86 artists in celebration of 10 years of  AnySquared arts programming in Logan Square. There was no way for anyone to see this exhibition and all of the events had to be postponed. AnySquared has worked with us to bring the artists’ talks and programming virtually. Thank you, Tracy Kostenbader! You can view those on our Facebook page and our YouTube page. 

The arts are a critical part of who we are as a community.  Many artists and small arts organizations are economically vulnerable at this time. These community members need our support now. The Hairpin needs your support at this time as well. The Hairpin relies on space rentals, and donations to pay overhead and staff while maintaining programs that support artists. Yes, we are still paying rent and utilities.  If you are able, please make your tax-deductible donation today so we will be able to give you programming while we are closed, be able to keep our space and reopen a stronger community arts organization. Click Here to Support With a Donation.

As a person of a certain age, I know to be cautious and when I go out, I wear my N95 mask and disposable gloves. I appreciate my staff, friends and neighbors reaching out to make sure I am OK.  I have found that a good joke can put a smile on people’s faces and filling a request for art supplies for children having to stay at home makes me feel connected and alive. I hand groceries through an open porch window to a friend; we say our hello’s and then the window closes.

The challenge is, how do we keep the Hairpin window open during these challenging times?  We are all in this together and there is no doing it alone. I want to give you one simple idea here that has made a huge difference in my life. *Wake up each day EXPECTING a miracle. Say out loud something like, “What miracles will I see or experience today?”  Set your mind to what is possible instead of what is wrong. It will make a huge difference. Create a miracle for someone else. PICK UP THE PHONE and check in with friends, family and neighbors. A voice is a comforting thing for all of us. Offer to pick up something at the store for them or surprise them with a small gift.  Miracles could be spring flowers popping up. (seems unlikely for a month or two), the birds announcing their love of a new day or the kindness of a neighbor or friend. Miracles are everywhere if we take the time to be present and notice them.

Thank you everyone! Be safe and stay healthy. And again, if you are able, please consider supporting the Hairpin Arts Center with your tax-exempt donation.  Press the donate button on our website, send a check made out to either LoGan Square Chamber of Arts or Hairpin Arts Center. Together we will get through this and hopefully come out stronger and more connected on the other side.

Have a miraculous day!

Gretchen Henninger, Executive Director


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Hairpin Arts Center

2810 North Milwaukee Avenue, 2nd Floor Chicago, IL 60618-7981