pilsen: chicago's art district

Pilsen's Art District encompasses a lot of ground. Stretching from Halsted and 18th all the way down to 18th and Western the community has developed into a thriving creative machine. The community has embraced the diverse collective of artists and programs that offer something genuinely special within the continuous blocks of creative space. They showcase art and attractions that display the wonderful qualities of the community, inhabitants and the city itself.  

The area speaks close to home for me since for a number of years members of Cruz's family worked in many of the buildings that are now converted into galleries and industrial loft space. It's a large thick line between what they did then and what the talented folks in these shelled out factories are now producing. However, it gives me a great sense of pride that what's being done there now is being built in respect to the rigor and determination of the working class that once inhabited those buildings. You work hard and make something great the community becomes something special. I think that's what the art district that encompasses Pilsen now does for it. It's building the community into something that be reflected on and become immensely proud of.  

The community a vibrant and beautifully decorated slice of the city. Each corner decorated with a mural where not another exists. Each uniquely distinctive for the block it rests on and the mural itself being a resident everyone knows. The art around the city blocks becomes as sacred as a religious altar, it's given weight, importance and protection in the community.


Pilsen has a variety of artist galleries and exhibition spaces but perhaps the most renown is the National Museum of Mexican Art at Harrison Park. A unique cultural center surrounding itself around Mexican, Latino and Chicano art and culture. The museum is a center piece in the nation empowering many others to understand a sense of culture and the power of self expression. We spent a good time here discovering artists that invest themselves in the value our own heritage.  

This piece was made with Acrylic and Semen. Let's see if you can spot the hidden egg (it glistens in person). Found it? - It's the skull on the top r

A few more pictures of the Museum in Pilsen:

The arts in Pilsen is still growing and developing into something remarkably different than what was likely planned. The fortunate thing is that many of those involved are embracing it with an incredible and contagious strength. If you get a chance, spend a few hours walking about Pilsen and visit it's many wonderful artist landmarks and museums. Give it a chance and let us know what you feel you take it all in.