Guest Blog: Introducing the Ed Paschke Art Center

Today we're featuring a guest blog by Thea Nichols, director of community engagement at the new Ed Paschke Art Center. She joins us to talk about the center, its namesake and its collaborations with the Chicago Public Library.

Ed Paschke is one of Chicago’s most renowned artists.

Born and raised on the North Side, Paschke became interested in art at an early age, drawn by his father’s sketches and Disney animation.

After studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1960s, he exhibited with a handful of artists soon dubbed the Chicago Imagists, who were connected by their work’s highly finished surfaces and busy compositions. Paschke distinguished himself by using newspapers, posters and photographs as source material, as well as adding a social or political dimension to much of his work.

Paschke's career had many different periods and styles. An excellent example from the 1990s is on permanent view on the second floor of the Harold Washington Library Center. There are also lots of other places to learn about Ed at CPL, from books to an online biography.

The Ed Paschke Art Center opened in the Northside neighborhood of Jefferson Park this past summer on June 22, which would’ve been Paschke’s 75th birthday. One of the first things we did was distribute a Paschke-inspired coloring book to CPL locations across the city. It’s been a big hit with kids and kids at heart!

In honor of the opening of our newest exhibition, Steve Schapiro: Warhol, Reed and Bowie, we partnered with CPL again—look for Schapiro’s latest book of photographs, Steve Schapiro: then and now, at your local library branch compliments of the art center. Spanning Schapiro’s entire amazing 50-year career, it includes pictures of everyone from Robert Rauschenberg to Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese to Orson Welles, and Barbra Streisand to Kanye West.

When you’re done at the library, visit us at the art center and “check out” both Steve Schapiro’s arresting photographs and Ed Paschke’s statement-making paintings in person!