Gallery 901

Gallery 901 exhibits strive to increase awareness around pressing social issues to a diverse audience. We present exhibits of community artists and groups which celebrate the affirmative impact of the creative process, and which encourage positive social change. The artists, groups, and organizations highlight healing or transformational components to their artwork. Gallery 901 is an inclusive gallery that welcomes all audiences including those who may not frequent art spaces.


Ewidge + Xavier

HEADS will be presented by the Open Studio Project from August 5 – August 30, 2023. It will be the first gallery exhibition of collaborative sculptures from the series created by EMnXW—the wife/husband artists, Edwige Massart and Xavier Wynn. The opening reception will be on Saturday, August 5 from 3-5 pm at 901 Gallery, 901 Sherman Avenue,

Originally from France, Edwige trained as a Decorative Artist in Belgium, then moved to Miami Beach and founded Chrysalis Decorative Painting. She designed and executed one-of-a-kind custom interior faux finishes and murals for a range of hi-profile clients. After moving to Chicago, she turned her interest towards art therapy, and now works with the developmentally disabled as an Art Facilitator while expanding her skills as an artist and photographer.

Born in the Midwest, Xavier studied Graphic Design at the University of Notre Dame. He has led a career as an artist, graphic designer, creative director, illustrator, and user-experience expert. He created, produced, and led marketing projects for a range of fortune 500 companies. He leads the design, development, and creation of digital products for both consumer and business markets. And he also works as an artist while honing his skills as an assistant pencil sharpener.

They have been together for over two decades. They began creating artwork together in 2012 to combine interests and skills, and to make something together. Their creativity and passion have taken on an identity—EMXW—a joint exploration of art and life reflected through shared experiences.

HEADS are an ongoing collaboration exploring identity, connection, and subconscious. They are ongoing conversations—stories—defining identities and relationships, presented as artwork.

Each conversation—each story—begins with found objects. Each object is the result of a set of experiences, choices, and environments. Each object is a subject of the conversation, a chapter in the story.  

A fascination with medical imagery establishes tone and defines setting. The inner workings of body and mind combine the objects into something familiar, yet foreign. It sets the intent of the conversation, and the time and location of the story.

Collaboration is essential to the process; Heads are made in pairs. The sharing of ideas, the overlap of lives, mutual decision-making creates conflict, character, theme, and resolution. It creates purpose for the dialogue and pulls together a cohesive narrative.

The result is HEADS.

And while each Head has told its story to and conversed with the artists, you never know what they might tell you.

Past Gallery 901 Shows


Harmonic Analysis

Darin Walsh

Compositions of paint on canvas represent practice and meditation on mathematical models and their
use for the interpretation of reality. Painstaking detail and precise manipulation of line and color are
used to depict glories of chaos and deep tangles of recursive functions. Figures move free from any
single temporal reference, scattering themselves across multidimensional landscapes and receding into
endlessly juxtaposed horizons. Each work is the building of consciousness and a reaction to its own
expression, acts of will battling perception, journeys of minute bifurcation that comprise a greater whole
of spatial interplay. A state of hyper consciousness, the abandonment of will, and a decisive
commitment to an objective exploration of one’s own being direct the brush as it outlines forms hidden
within the neural connections that generate logical patterns of thought. The artist reacts to the
substantiation of self-knowledge, forming a tension between idea and action that culminates into a
single understanding and implodes into a moment of creative completion.


The Philosopher Walks

Paintings by Anne Hayden Stevens

The Philosopher Walks is an exhibition of 14 luminous landscape paintings, in which tiny figures make
their way through a mountainous, unknown world. Stevens, a painter and printmaker, has made large
scale installations in Evanston in two pop-up exhibitions curated by Evanston Made and Lisa Degliantoni,
and curates outdoor installations and screenings at the Evanston Art Center as Side/Lot with artist Mat
Rappaport. Stevens participated in the Center Program and Bridge at the Hyde Park Art Center, and the
Field/Work program at the Chicago Artists Coalition, and is on the planning committee for the Terrain
Biennial, an international public art exhibition based in Oak Park, Il.

In this exhibition at the Open Studio Project, Stevens shares a series of intimate paintings produced
during the pandemic. Stevens’ textured and lyrical landscapes employ simple forms of trees, bodies,
mountains and water to hold space for the travelers through the paintings. The difficulty of this period,
politically and socially, has made it really important to carry the weight of possibility, and the wisdom we
know we hold, into the future.


Seeds of Change

In Partnership with Connections for the Homeless

During the Fall and winter of 2021-22, Open Studio Project partnered with Connections for the
Homeless to lead art making workshops for individuals experiencing homelessness. Art groups
met for 20 weeks at two Evanston sites: Hilda’s Place drop-in center at Lake Street Church, and
at the Margarita Inn shelter. The works on display are examples of the transformative power of
the Open Studio process: participants set an intention, created artwork in a choice-based,
judgment-free environment, and reflected on their experience through writing. As a result,
participants reported reduced stress, increased mindfulness, and the satisfaction of tapping into
their own creativity in a safe, supportive group environment.

An E-Town Innovation Grant from the Evanston Community Foundation made this
successful partnership possible.


Higher Self

Artwork by ETHS Students


Paintings by Connie Gillock

View a decade of portrait paintings by Evanston artist Connie Gillock. Earlier works are highly detailed and more current work is an exploration of new materials and playful imagery.

Homing Maps: A Study in Wayfinding

by Vanessa Filley

In a time that feels chaotic, confusing and contradictory, finding one’s way can be filled with complicated and challenging decisions.  Artist Vanessa Filley’s work over the last two years has turned away from figurative photography and toward a form of energetic way finding.  She has moved through cutting up photographs into abstract forms, pricking paper with pins to create something from nothing into pencil, pinprick and watercolor drawings as a way to understand, explore and harness the energy of living.
At the core of her current work is an inquiry into the idea that each individual is only a part of a larger whole, composed of ever shifting matter, and that our collective and individual actions have a ripple effect into the present and long arc of history.  Her drawings have a sense of the astral as they seek to mull the buzz and must of creatures and places intermingled, they are a path to discovery, a divining rod or a compass on this road of life.


by Hannah Litvan

A series of paintings exploring physical and emotional self-observation.
Emotions are valid, sacred, and scary. I am floating in the eternal struggle of my own expectations of my life, my feelings, and my physical being. Building an honest relationship is difficult even with ourselves. We must be truthful and kind; a difficult combination. It takes work, time, and love, but I hold on to hope for growth.


by Annette O’Donnell

Artists in every form, whether they be writers, musicians, dramatists, actors, or visual
artists of any medium have access to the Creative Source. It doesn’t take any special training or
gifts to be able to channel it; it’s there and it’s accessible if we take the time to approach it.
When we engage with the Creative Source, we love ourselves into wholeness. It takes bravery
and courage to do this, but there’s a freedom that comes with it, too. We don’t feel bound by the
Earthly experience.

Annette realized that she’d been accessing it in the creation of her art all along, but
training with the Open Studio Project on their process, as well as studying the female spiritist
artists aided her to put language to what she was already experiencing. Her hope is that every
human on this Earth connects to the Creative Source during their lives. Through this
experience, they will become whole.

The works in this show were created by this process: Annette meditated, set intentions,
created art while listening to music, witnessed the images, and now is sharing it with you. Love
yourself into wholeness.

Woven Stories

Woven Stories are weavings from the workshops of The We Were Never Alone Project. The We Were Never Alone Project are a weaving workshops for domestic violence victims and survivors led by survivor and textile artist, Bryana Bibbs. These workshops have taken place throughout Illinois at galleries and local community art spaces.

During these free limited-participant workshops, participants weave on a cardboard loom with traditional and non-traditional materials, but most importantly they share their stories amongst a group of people who understand their stories. The mission of the project is to eliminate the stigma of being a victim and survivor of domestic violence. So often there is a significant amount of victim shaming and blaming once victims and survivors come forward with their stories. Therefore, the goal of this project is to create a safe, supportive, judgement-free community while creating woven art.

Woven Stories showcases each participants personality and story through the use of color, texture, and found objects/materials.

REYS of Sunshine

In collaboration with Resilient Evanston Youth Showcase


Books, Prints, and Houses by Beth Herman Adler

“My Covid Year” at Gallery 901, featuring work created by Beth Herman Adler during the pandemic.

Everything That Helps Us Fly: Art that Uplifts During Challenging Times

Group Exhibition by Artists:
Ausrine Kerr, Sonata Kazimieraitiene Rita Shimelfarb, and Izida Valatka

View this dynamic group show featuring art that depicts angels, wings, and love.  The artwork was selected to help inspire us to protect ourselves from negativity and feeling lost.  It has a spiritual, uplifting nature and is welcoming to all.  Pieces include stained glass, painting, ceramics, and porcelain angels.  Artists are from Evanston & Chicago

Pandemic Diaries: Participatory Art

by Ellen Gradman

Over the course of the pandemic, through the lock down, and continuing to the present, Ellen Gradman has rediscovered pieces of her artist soul that have been missing for a while. Her pieces, Pandemic Diaries, are a record of this resurgence. The boxes holding the work together and providing the background are from orders of new art supplies or food delivers, both types of deliveries being essential.

Life Journey Labyrinth:

Installation by Corinne Peterson

View a labyrinth made from hundreds of clay objects—artifacts of the interior of people’s fists, which we call clenches. Individuals forcefully squeezed soft clay to express frustration, determination, grief, or even joy in these chaotic times.


by Connie Gillock

Art of Recovery

View this series of round canvases created by Veterans from the Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital. Each image represents what recovery means to them. Recovery is both a personal journey and a community process. The exhibit allows you to ponder the meaning of recovery, what you do for others, and how others contribute to your recovery.

The recovery journey is documented through this series; some examples are physical recovery from an illness or injury, mental health recovery from depression, PTSD, addiction or recovery in relation to the current pandemic.

This art exhibit will be on display at Gallery 901 in Evanston, IL – it will also be displayed virtually for the OSP and Hines communities. Exhibit organized by Erin Mooney-Simkus, Art Therapist at Hines VA Hospital.

Dolls4Peace Memorial & Art Action

Chicago, June 2020: Gun violence still plagues our neighborhoods. On June 21, 2020, 104 people were shot and 14 died on this Father’s day weekend. Among the deaths were two teenagers and a three year old boy. This past weekend another 63 people were shot including a 1-year-old and 10-year old who were killed.

As an act of creative resistance and in the spirit of grassroots memorials, The heART Project aims to bring awareness, raise consciousness and support peaceful communities through community arts and therapeutic art making. The heART Project will host healing spaces and exhibit the Dolls4Peace Memorial across Chicago in remembrance and as an art action and creative resistance to violence and trauma.

Over 55 Chicago Public Schools and social service organizations have participated.

Facilitated by Rochele Royster.

Facilitator Showcase

Displaying the works of some of Open Studio Project’s incredible facilitators.

Pen & Ink Drawings – Kate Berry Brown

I am an artist, and I am a mother. I have three young children who squeeze, squish, hug, tap and bump my body all the time. I am surrounded by love. I am lucky. I am blessed. I am tired. I am crowded.

My drawings depict abstract piles of undulating shapes, like body parts and bellies and blubber. These forms mold to one another and become a solid biological mass. Using only a fountain pen and a bottle of ink I use cross hatching on paper as a meditative process. Life is chaotic and full – especially these days as we collectively navigate homeschooling, floods of varying emotion and both loss and disappointment. Because of this chaos I like the simplicity of my materials and the repetitive nature of making thousands of thoughtful marks. I cut into my paper which gives the finished pieces a sort of scalloped edge. By doing this I am both fighting and embracing the confines of the basic rectangle. Kate Berry Brown

Instagram: @kateberrybrownart

School Pictures – Melissa Ann Pinney

“My photographs bear witness to inner city public schools, providing a vision of the students’ fierce & fragile world when they are most free to be together and to be themselves, informed by moments of spontaneous play, self-presentation and gesture.  I never know what the children will do next; their beauty, their conflicts, their compassion are unrehearsed. This project focuses on students during unstructured time in several culturally and economically diverse public schools. Bell Elementary School serves neighborhood, deaf and gifted children. I’ve also chronicled the historic and hopeful merger of Jenner Academy, a predominately black school, and Ogden Elementary, a school with a large white population.The students become active participants in the art-making, not by posing but by inviting me into their world. I am after the mystery and surprise of each moment. Sometimes a student looks directly into the camera as if to ask: Do you see me? Do you really see me?”  Melissa Ann Pinney


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