HISTORY

This building will be a physical acknowledgement to the arts and a marker of the culture that happened here.

fourth floor

1986 -2020

Cinema Borealis 

The Lubinski Building has housed artists and galleries since the early 1980's. One of the first tenants was James Bond who is a well-known, rare projectionist in Chicago. He set up projection rooms and theaters all around the country, including: Music Box Theater, Doc Films at the University of Chicago, and Facets. In 1983, Bond opened a 52-capacity theater on the fourth floor. The theater is named Cinema Borealis after the outdoor film festival Bond founded in 1989, which drew in upwards of 20,000 people to Chicago’s Grant Park every summer weekend for 10 years. Bond hosted a 4 day workshop for local and international projectionists interested in preserving 16mm and 35mm film. Sadly, in the summer of 2020, James Bond’s theater moved out of the building.     

Buddy Gallery

second floor

2000 - 2004

Artist group photo featuring DJ Doug Pound, David Dobie and Ed Marszewski

Ed Marszewski opened Buddy in the second-floor loft space next to Heaven Gallery in the early summer of 2002. This artist-run space created room for experimentation with the “goal is to foster a habitat and cultural space for emerging accidents, radical culture and intentional community organizing" (source: Buddy website). Buddy was also home to Lumpen Magazine and the space had various activities related to the magazine, such as the Select Media Festival and Version. Buddy expanded by collaborating with neighbors Heaven Gallery and upstairs neighbor High School. For three epic years, Buddy hosted over 250 events and parties which led to its ultimate closure in 2005. Today, Ed Marszewski is the Director of the Public Media Institute (PMI) which publishes Lumpen Magazine and Lumpen Radio on 105.5 FM. Marszewiski also runs The Co-Prosperity Sphere, an experimental cultural center, and is the co-founder of Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar, Kimski, and Marz Community Brewing Co (based in Bridgeport). In 2020 Buddy was resurrected into a locally made art and design shop at the Chicago Cultural Center in collaboration with DCASE.

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End of Buddy Gallery door

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Buddy/Heaven 80's themed party on the back deck in the early 2000's

Heaven Gallery

second floor

 1997 - present

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Heaven Gallery back deck screening early 2000's

Founder, David Dobie at 80's themed party

David Dobie established Heaven Gallery in the Flatiron building in 1997 and in 2000 it moved to its current location in the Lubinski building. Prior to Heaven, the loft was home to Ricky Renier and Beret International gallery. Alma Wieser described visiting the building in the early 2000’s as “you would go to an art party at Buddy and go through the back to Heaven”. The DIY space hosted art exhibitions, classical concerts, screenings, fashion shows, yoga classes, comedy shows, and a weekly improv jazz series titled “Protest”. The gallery also hosted indie folk performers such as Angel Olsen and Dark Dark Dark. In 2010 Piano Forte donated a baby grand piano for the classical and improv jazz series. For the past two decades, Heaven has established itself as a multidisciplinary art space and a launching pad for contemporary artists that included Hương Ngô, Jason Lazarus and Mika Horbuchi. Its reputation as a Chicago cultural institution goes beyond Wicker Park.

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Installation shot from Huong Ngo's exhibition, Training and Development in 2006

In 2010 Alma Wieser became the director and reorganized the gallery with a new board of directors. She introduced an innovative retail model of curated vintage goods to support the organization; this gallery/shop blurred the line between retail and community art space. In 2018, she introduced a racial equity initiative for a 60% ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American) majority for the board of directors and for artists presented. 2019 the organization partnered with the Parks District to include kid art classes and field trips to the gallery. Part of the gallery’s success is the dedication of its interns who learn entrepreneurial skills and sustainable practices. This program mentors young leaders and its success has been proven through former interns continuing on to work at commercial galleries, or even, opening their own gallery. Current programming includes exhibitions viewed through gallery/shop hours, virtual artists talks, mediations, workshops and House music dj sessions.  

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Director, Alma Wieser circa 2010

Opening of the Petty Biennial with installation by Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero, 2019

LVL3

third floor

2010 - present

Vincent Uribe, an SAIC alumnus, opened LVL3 on the third floor in 2010. LVL3 is an artist-run exhibition space and online publication. The space is dedicated to supporting a diverse range of creative talent from around the world. The gallery fosters creative connections and collaborative work through writing, interviews, exhibitions, and events. The online publication features an artist of the week section that spotlights creators and makers through interviews. Vincent Uribe is also the Art Director of Arts for Life, a nonprofit that works with artists with disabilities. LVL3 also hosts an annual EXPO Chicago afterparty for artists and visitors to the event to connect.

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LVL3 founder, Vince Uribe

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LVL3 back deck view

Exhibition opening at LVL3