My Chicago

Rana Siegel's Chicago 

by Micco Caporale (MA 2018)
Rana Siegel (MFA 2008) likes to move. And touch. And smell. As a fiber artist and senior administrative director for the Ceramics, Performance, Printmedia, Photography, and Sculpture departments at SAIC, she’s very hands-on—and it shows in how she experiences the city. If there’s a place where she gets to be tactile and imaginative, Siegel is there. This is her Chicago.

Grocery Runs

I like to spend hours driving all over the city buying great food because Chicago offers such a variety of ethnic cuisines and mom-and-pop shops. I like to start at Floriole because they make the best baguettes— they’re just a great bakery in general. Then I might hit Joong Boo Market or Kurowski’s, which has an awesome variety of really affordable dried sausages. Paulina Meat Market is so beautiful, and the butchers are kind of sassy and funny, too. You gotta do your research.

American Science and Surplus

When I lived in Philadelphia, I used to order online from them, and I didn’t know where they were located. After I moved to Chicago, my mind was blown that they were right up Milwaukee Avenue. They have anything from science kits to geodes. If you go fishing, they have everything. There’s weird pencils and glass beakers and wires and motors and all different varieties of duct tape. It’s the most random, yet oddly specific, store you could possibly think of.

Chicago Cultural Center

It’s like a big manor house. Some rooms are so grand, with vaulted ceilings and big, cathedral-like windows. But there are some small, intimate spaces, too—corridors where people have hosted performances and a courtyard with wooden suspended bridges and platforms, like stage sets. There’s a drama to it that I think adds definition to work shown there. It’s a great place to put on your headphones and meander.

Calumet Fisheries

It’s an old-school smoked fish shack. You can’t eat there; so I get fried scallops and a Dr. Pepper and drive to the Calumet Beach a few blocks down. You can take your fish and sit on sand, grass, or big boulders—sit anywhere!—and look back at downtown. Then driving back north along Lake Shore Drive, something about that view is my favorite. It just highlights the best of what Chicago looks like.