How Much Is That Artist In The Window?

By Lauri Apple in Arts & Entertainment on May 5, 2009 7:35PM

4164_97743074767_787524767_2563932_4741188_n.jpg O.K., so Uncle Fun Chicago doesn't sell artists. But on the last Saturday of every month, the popular Lakeview toy store does display them in its window. Or displays us, I should say: A couple of weekends ago I was the featured artist of Uncle Fun's three-month-old "Artist in the Window" series.

At around opening time (11 a.m.), I showed up on Uncle Fun's ROYGBIVed-out doorstep with a tote bag of art supplies and some completed pieces. The staff, including series coordinator Billy McCall (also an artist), greeted me with warm smiles, excitement and (fittingly) an offering of apple juice. The next six hours I spent inside the cozy window space/studio on Uncle Fun's eastern side -- an area carpeted with lush plastic grass and partitioned off from the rest of the store by a library card catalog unit stuffed with tiny toys. From the street, passersby peered in the window; inside the store proper, shoppers pretty much left me alone.

"From the artist's perspective, it's sort of a unique way to have an artistic experience, and sort of a challenge to see if they can sit in one place all day and just make art," Billy explains. "From the customer's perspective, it's just an unusual and unexpected opportunity to see the creative process. Plus, we always have juice and cookies -- so it's like a little party!" A party in celebration of productivity, perhaps, as one can get a lot of work done in 5-6 hours.

Artists who would like to participate in the Artist in the Window series should email UncleFunChicago@gmail.com. The next event is May 30, with featured artist Brooks Golden. June and July are booked, and Billy says that "sometime in the fall," Busy Beaver Button Co. will make buttons in the window.

Uncle Fun is at 1337 W Belmont

Photo by Byron Durham