Stained glass became seriously and widely popular this year: see evidence in Michigan City and downtown Chicago this weekend, also non-profit museum and gallery stories are great for one-of-a-kind gifts.
Growing Stained Glass Insanity 2013: If you are a newbie like I am to stained glass appreciation, there are December events around the Lake Michigan area for your basic education and general familiarity with the subject. (Stained glass really never goes out of style, but requires raw talent and the right environment.) Michigan City’s downtown area has four churches with stained glass open for self-guided tours this coming Sunday from 1-3 pm. Each church showcase will provide a narrative on the windows and decorations and also refreshments for the tourists. Churches participating include Trinity Episcopal Church, 600 Franklin Street; First United Methodist Church, 121 E. 7th Street; St. Paul Lutheran Church and School, 818 Franklin Street; and St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, 411 W. 11th Street. The tour will be open again on December 14th from 1pm to 3pm.
Have You Been to Navy Pier Recently?: Ironically, I tend to find myself at Navy Pier more often in the winter than the summer, maybe because there are more enticing programs and exhibits there during the off-season, probably because it’s not as crowded. But whether you are visiting the Children’s Museum, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Riva’s or the annual winter boat show, don’t skip the stained glass museum---Smith has a gallery and so does Richard Driehaus---both are very accessible and beautiful any time of year. The Richard H. Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass houses 11 of Tiffany Studios’ stained glass windows including ecclesiastical and secular landscapes. Each window shows how Tiffany Studios reinvented the stained glass tradition, using embedded colors and new types of glass to create folds, ripples and other textures to portray the scene. The galleries are located on the lower level of Festival Hall, 600 East Grand Avenue, Navy Pier. Hours Sundays through Thursdays 10 am-8pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am-10 pm. Admission to the galleries is free, but you will have to pay to park.
Remember to Extend Buy Local Theme to Non-Profits Too: You won’t have to pay extra for parking at the 50% off sale (on everything under $200) this weekend at the Southern Shore Art Association Gallery, tomorrow night starting at 5pm. The sale is for artist members of the SSA who want to clear studio space for new work in 2014. The artists will be at the opening night of the sale, but the “Gift of Art” show will be available through the month. Other fun museum stores to check out include South Shore Arts on Ridge Road in Munster; the Box Factory for the Arts and the Krasl Arts Center in St. Joseph, Michigan. The Chicago Architecture Association store on Michigan Ave. is also a lot of fun, but I still avoid the AIC store across the street, which is mobbed before Christmas. If you are going to try the Art Institute try after the holiday when you can pick-up bargain cards and decorations.