What we're about

Our Mission Statement:

Everything about our group flows from our motto: "We are stranger's only once".

This group is for art lovers all ilk's. We call ourselves the Chicago Art Critic's Association - "CACA" for short. Its pronounced like a cat having a bad fur-ball moment. Why "critic's" you ask? All art lovers are critics by default! Tell your friends and especially that "jerk at work" you are now a member-in-good standing of the Chicago Art Critic's Association! Watch their jaws drop.

1. Our mission is to attend gallery openings, art fairs & cultural fests, art museum's and art walks in and around Chicago. Plus a few odd-lots! Join us as we discover new talent, visit new & established galleries, munch our way through art fairs, visit museums, meet old and make new friends and - yes - have a wine or beer (or two) while exploring art. What's not to like?

2. My background: As your organizer and fearless leader (coff, coff), I have been enjoying and collecting art since I was a kid - living in of all places: the art district of Santa Fe, NM, Ocean Beach-San Diego, the Historic District of Pass-a-Grille, Fl (before it was discovered), Andersonville, Chicago (before it was discovered) and Europe (it was already discovered!) Bottom line: I've been kicked out of lots of cities, lots of state's, lots of countries and one very nice continent!

3. Have I bored you e'nuf about me? Good! Now I need to ask you for help. Have you a gallery or small museum idea? I would like to co-ordinate an event about once a month-ish (excluding November & December - due to the holidays). I'm a firm believer in the educational aspect of such events (art fairs & cultural fests excluded - they are meant to be fun). As such I hope to target multi-artist gallery openings, showing's and museums - hopefully the latter will be with a docent. I will also mix in some juried art fairs (Old Town Art Fair), culture and music fest's (Gospel Music Fest, Mariachi Music Fest & The Ginza Holiday/Japanese Fest. etc.) I will keep an eye on cost's: An admission-donation fee of $5-20 is fine - not so for $50-100 - however there will be occasional exceptions. Lastly I will try as best as I can, to mix-up the event times (i.e.: weekday evenings, weekend evenings and weekend days.) When appropriate I will co-op with another group. Nothing is written in stone! Got something you wanna plug? Let me know.

4. Event Types:

CACA EVENT'S: All events are "CACA" events unless marked otherwise. CACA Events are events that, in my opinion, not only offer a good art experience but also a good opportunity to Meetup with other art lovers in our group. Some events, especially fairs and festivals are "iffy" due to their size (for example the Old Town Art Fair/Wells Street Art Fair combo) but they have to go some where. So there. It's my web site!

FYI EVENT'S: Events marked "FYI Event" are usually, but not always, member suggested event's that don't fit in as a true CACA event for any of a dozen-plus reasons BUT do offer value: Time conflict with another event, the month is already full, not generally suitable for a Meetup format, too big, too small, too far from Chicagoland, too costly, short notice or... always a bummer - the sponsors under Federal indictment! Take FYI's for what you will.

POP-UP EVENTS: These are events that are brought to my attention on VERY short notice. When you see an event marked "Pop-Up" you pretty much need to decide your "go/no-go" then and there. A "Pop-Up Event" (like a FYI) is a "take 'em for what you will". And like FYI's, I only list them if I see some value. Or I'm bribed.

CO-OP EVENTS: A "Co-op Event" is one where we are teaming up with another Meetup group in one way or another. Think of it as cross-breeding. It's good for the species.

OPEN TENT EVENTS: These are rare. These are events were large groups are manageable AND offer great artistic value to one-and-all.

INFO ONLY EVENTS: Whatever I want it to be! So there.

5. Finding me: In order to be spotted easily my standard outfit for most events, unless the event requires otherwise, will be a BLAZE ORANGE BASEBALL HAT and, usually, blue jeans. LOOK FOR THE HAT. Overall, it's not an exciting outfit, but it makes me feel pretty! My hair & mustache are koala grey (Some say "salt & pepper" - but they are mean, little people whose mothers don't love them.)

8. Here is a short article on "How To Buy Art" (Chicago Magazine - Sept. 2017): http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/September-2017/How-to-Buy-Art/

9. Like many organizations, we have adopted a non-related org. to support: Ours is the Lincoln Park Zoo. Please visit often! No fur coats... please!

Jim McCarthy, fearless leader

Ps: I am regularly asked about the other groups I organize - I do three... they are:

1. (ART) Chicago Art Gallery, Museum & Fair Openings +
2. (WINE) North Shore Wine Group https://www.meetup.com/Highland-Park-Wine-Group/
3. (DOG’S) Dog Trekker's - Wilmette/North Shore Pack

Upcoming events (4)

FEB 24: Heritage Museum of Asian Art ($8 adm). W/opt'l After Party/Lite Dinner

Dear Members: In 2018+ we did Mexican Art, Native American Art, Japanese Art & Culture, Modern/Current Art, Street Fairs & Fests, Sculpture Walks, Intuitive Art, etc. Now its time to go... to Multi- Asian! Jim So... without further ado... The Plug (per their site):Heritage Museum of Asian Art: Founded in 2014, the Heritage Museum of Asian Art showcases a wide range of art forms, spanning many cultures and time periods of Asia. The museum’s collection includes archaic* and modern jades, Neolithic pottery, imperial porcelains, Chinese snuff bottles, scholar’s objects, textiles, bronzes and more. Classical Chinese furniture also adorns the galleries. The museum provides an interconnection between the arts and cultures of Asia for the residents of Chicago and for visitors from all around the world. *I hadda look it up: "Archaic may refer to a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found or used currently". 1. The Museums Admission/Donation will be $8 for most of us. Cheap! Note: They do have "Free First Fridays". I elected to go with a Sunday for our Meetup as Fridays are tough for many - especially for those of us who have yob's! Plus driving/commuting in the inner-city on Fridays is a bear. 2. The Museums Link: https://heritageasianart.org/exhibitions.html 3. The After Party: As usual, our After Party location will be voted on at the end of our visit (4pm-ish) by those wishing to attend. Simple e'nuff. 4. Our typical After Party dinners/get-together's are low cost, local to the visited museum/site, cash bar and usually finish around 6pm-ish. If needed, peeps who use public transportation can always catch a ride with me or another attendee to the restaurant. My Jeep can take three to four inside, two on the roof and one on the front hood. No skitcher's. Suggestions?: A. Ricobene's (Italian): https://www.yelp.com/biz/ricobenes-chicago-4 252 W. 26th, Chicago B. Grand Palace (Cantonese): https://www.yelp.com/biz/grand-palace-chicago 225 W. 26th. Chicago C. Pilsen? D. Toronto? (If they still let Americans... in!) jim mccarthy, fearless leader & cat herder (2nd class).

MAR 23: Oriental Institute @ U of C ($10 adm) . W/ optional After Party-Dinner?

Dear Members: The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago is SO world famous that people from around the world come here, to our backyard, JUST to visit it! It offers to its visitors some of the best ancient/near/mid-eastern art & history of any museum ... anywhere in said world! I am talking to you... said earthlings! PLEASE READ: "The Oriental Institute, established in 1919, is the University of Chicago's interdisciplinary research center for ancient NEAR EAST-ORIENT studies [not to be confused with far-east/Asian] and archaeology museum. It was founded by professor James Henry Breasted [info on JHB, for you trivia freaks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Henry_Breasted] with funds donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. It conducts research on ancient civilizations throughout the Near East, including at its facility, Chicago House, in Luxor, Egypt. The Institute publicly exhibits an extensive collection of artifacts related to ancient civilizations at its on-campus building in the Hyde Park, Chicago community." "The Oriental Institute Museum makes accessible to the public many of the highlights of our large collection of artifacts from the ancient Middle East (10,000 BC – AD 650), including objects from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syro-Anatolia, Israel, Iran, and Nubia. Many of the objects on display were excavated by University of Chicago archaeologists." Oriental Institute's home: https://oi.uchicago.edu/ Oriental Institute on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Chicago_Oriental_Institute THE PLAN: We will Meetup in the MAIN LOBBY/ENTRANCE at 1:45 pm. We will self-tour (unless we can hustle a 2pm docent) until 4pm-ish. From there, for those who wish, we will go to the After-Party/Lite Dinner. THE AFTER-PARTY/LITE DINNER: We will re-meet in the Main Lobby/Entrance at 4pm-ish and vote, by those wishing to attend, on where to go for an After Party/Lite Dinner. We may have to do a short drive. Public transportation peeps can always catch a ride with me or another member. We are a friendly group. Members After-Party Suggestions? Got ideas? Let me know. a.) Based on a Members referral (Giovina) : Medici's Restaurant, 1327 E. 57th. Its "Yelp" reviews/pix look great, lots of options, separate checks and it's BYOB! Whats not to like? Walking distance is about 3 blocks. This will be my default suggestion. Medici Link: http://www.medici57.com/menus/ Yelp Link: https://www.yelp.com/biz/medici-on-57th-chicago b.) tbd? jim mccarthy, fearless leader & cat herder (second class).

APR 27: How about a "FREE day trip" to Mexico? And Optional After Party/Dinner?

Let's try this event again - but without the damn [insert nasty redacted word] blizzard! April should be safe... I hope! Dear Members: The National Museum of Mexican Art is with VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS, ONE OF THE BEST ART MUSEUMS IN CHICAGO. The AIC being the obvious alpha - I will then put the NMMA up for 2nd place against EVERY other art museum in Chicago. Every museum. Hold my feet to the fire on this. Ask anyone who has been there... and then invite them to join you... with us! Come hungry too! Best of all, museum admission is FREE. Their "mini bio": ".... the National Museum of Mexican Art stands out as one of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States. We are home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, including more than 9,000 seminal pieces from ancient Mexico to the present. As the only Latino museum accredited by American Alliance of Museums, we recognize our unique responsibility to present exhibitions of artistic and cultural value and to deliver high-quality education that demonstrates the breadth and depth of Mexican art, culture and history." For sneak preview: http://nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/ FYI Stuff & Fluff: 1. Last year they had a free, pop-up, ONE HOUR DOCENT LED TOUR at 1pm. Assuming they do the same this time, I would suggest you try to arrive NLT 12:45 pm. If not, we will self-tour... until 3:00pm-ish. We will then have a optional after-party/early dinner at a local 18th street restaurant - Mexican of course (see below). Overall, it makes for a fantastic day. Peeps using public transportation will most certainly be able to hitch a ride. I can take three to four in my Jeep. Two on the roof. One on the hood. 2. MARK YOUR CALENDER'S - As I have said, the National Museum of Mexican Art is a GREAT, world class art museum. I have visited it many times and am always blown away. It is "Smithsonian" in every sense of the word! We are lucky to have it in Chicago. The art ranges from truly ancient to truly modern ... with lots of history tossed in. And its huge - 48,000 square feet of rooms, galleries & exhibits. Bring a flare gun in case you get lost. We are still looking for Marcia from our last visit. Her phone-bings are getting pretty weak. 3. AFTER PARTY: The After Party/Early Dinner will be from 3:30-ish to 5:30-ish. Depending on how many wish to go we may have to sit in groups of 6-8. Suggestions? a). La Vaca Margarita Bar (and Restaurant), 1160 W. 18th Street, Chicago. (a very short drive). https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-vaca-margarita-bar-chicago: Cash bar, separate checks, fair prices & great food! What's not to like? Bring small bills for EZ checking out. b). _____? c). _____? jim, fearless leader and cat herder (second class)

AUG 24: Chicago's 41st Jazz Fest 2019. FREE! Mark your calendar for now.

Jay Pritzker Pavillion at Millenium Park, Chicago

Dear Members; Thought you might like (need?) something summer-y to look forward too. This is a co-op with my two other groups, "North Shore Wine Group" and "Dog Trekker's - Wilmette/North Shore Pack". MARK YOU CALENDAR FOR NOW. More info will follow as we get closer. (Note: This is the first of two Saturdays for the Fest. The second, Aug 31, falls on the three-day Labor Day weekend.) We will do this like we did in 2018: Meet "dead-center" to the stage but toward the FAR rear and on the grass. BYOLC (Bring your own lawn chair). And like last year, we will sit in a "lawn circle" so we can enjoy the music and ... yap (!) as needed. Food & Alcohol: Yes to food. No to alcohol (they sell alcohol on-site and governments don't like competition!) If anything changes re the alcohol I will update as needed. You can bring in small coolers (up to 24Lx15Wx15H) with soda's and treats and snax. Oh my! Weather permitting, this is one of our best events of the year. It's a blast. jim mccarthy, fearless leader & cat herder (second class).

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