On August 11th, 2017 from 5-8pm, VGA (Video Game Art) Gallery will open a new venue at 2418 W Bloomingdale, the first brick and mortar art gallery devoted to video games and new media in Chicago. For the last three years, VGA Gallery has functioned as a popup exhibition and event organization, mounting various programs and developing critical partnerships with artists, game developers, nonprofits and audiences across the city. After growing its audience and funding, and establishing a strong foundation of programming, VGA is now positioned to open a physical gallery space and aspires to embed itself within the community with a stable and consistent location for organizing programming. An innovative rotating exhibition series as well as public programming featuring art and games of cultural significance are envisioned for this new space.
Space Location and Features:
Located at the intersection of Chicago's Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Bucktown neighborhoods, VGA Gallery's address is 2418 W Bloomingdale Apt 102 in the historic Bloomingdale Arts Building, just a few blocks south of the blue line Western stop. It is right off the 606 trail by the Western Avenue on-ramp.The gallery is wheelchair accessible, features eco-friendly LED track lighting and includes a full kitchen and bathroom for private rentals. It is has the distinction of being the former home of Woman Made Gallery and former photography studio of Randall Moe. It is part of the lively artist community of Bloomingdale Art Building (BAB), a former metal stamping factory, that was converted into artist live/work spaces in 2001.
Public hours will be Wednesdays from 5-8pm and Sundays from 12-5pm and special events on occasion. When not in use by VGA, the space will be available for rent on Airbnb and private rentals.
The successful opening of the space will be contingent on a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. While VGA has a stable and growing base of support with diverse revenue streams, the gallery is in need of a one-time cash infusion to connect game artists from around the world with the gallery and create an international center for art and video games. Kickstarter will grant VGA the global audience, time, and resources to be a state-of-the-art, world-class gallery where fans and creators of the best games in the world will meet. The campaign seeks $10,000 and will be run from July 11 to August 1. Compelling rewards include game downloads, VGA posters and t-shirts, special event tickets, exhibition sponsorships and more. The project is championed by the Kickstarter Arts Outreach team.
About VGA Programming:
Annual programs include 3-5 exhibitions a year of solo and group shows featuring the work of artists and game developers from around the world; an education program comprised of talks, screenings, and tours for students and the general public; the VGA fine art print collection that features the sale of giclees and posters of artwork from video games; and a publications program that will launch the VGA Reader in 2017, an annually-published, peer-reviewed journal that highlights new scholarship about video games and new media art.
Inaugural Exhibition - SAVIOR: Cuba's First Indie Game
The first exhibition on display for VGA Gallery's August 11 grand opening is artwork from Savior, an experimental videogame, the first to be independently developed for wide release in the changing cultural and political landscape of Cuba. With a unique story about metaphysics and deconstruction of the game world, a gothic art style and an existential tone, Savior challenges cultural expectations, as well as formal understanding of games. Savior is being developed by Josuhe Pagliery & Johann Armenteros, it is hoped the artists will be able to attend the opening.
VGA Gallery History and Mission:
Founded in 2013 in Chicago, Video Game Art (VGA) Gallery is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to increase cultural appreciation and understanding of video games and related new media art through exhibition and study, fulfilling a need for a public platform for exhibition and discourse on the emerging medium. VGA’s signature programs include exhibitions, artist residencies and events with partnering venues and spaces for the purposes of collaboration and audience growth. In the past year, exhibitions have been mounted at Rebuild Foundation, Columbia College Chicago, Mana Contemporary and the Nightingale Cinema; VGA has held an artist residency that was organized and carried out in partnership with University of Illinois at Chicago’s Maker Space; and a public panel discussion was mounted in conjunction with the Adler Planetarium and Bit Bash, among many other programs. Scholarship and the documentation of significant work is an important part of VGA’s mandate. Recent conferences VGA has participated in include the INTERPLAY Conference, co-hosted by University of Chicago and Northwestern University, College Art Association New Media Caucus, Chicago Video Game Law Summit, and Adler Planetarium Panel Discussion: Chicago Made Games as New Media Art. VGA has published articles for Leonardo, the Journal of Games Criticism, the AV Club, Motherboard, Illinois Game Developers Association. It counts The Terra Foundation for American Art, The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, the Graham Foundation and Illinois Arts Council Agency, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events as its recent funders. In FY16, VGA served 24,900 people including hundreds of students at ChiArts.