New Gallery Brings Art and Design to Chicago's Pedway

Chicago’s Pedestrian Walkway System, commonly known as the Pedway, is getting a temporary new art gallery that will feature colorful video portraits of nature and pop-up performances according to Curbed Chicago. The new gallery, Space p11 is directed by SAIC's Director of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) Jonathan Solomon and David L. Hays, associate professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The vast network of underground pedestrian tunnels connects 40 city blocks and almost 50 buildings in the Loop but isn’t well known for its art spaces. According to Block Club Chicago, the Chicago Loop Alliance wanted to change that and decided to partner with the artists behind Space p11 to better "demonstrate the Pedway's potential." The new gallery space will feature various works focusing on art, architecture, and design. “We are interested in what unique things can happen in the Pedway because of all the qualities it already has,” Solomon says. “Its spatial complexity and eclectic richness make it a fascinating site for exploration and discovery, the perfect place to open an exhibition space dedicated to shared agency.” In an article in the Chicago Tribune, Solomon explains their interest in the pedway, "It is a space that is physically underground, and there are ways in which it is culturally underground. And, it is both physically and culturally off-grid—it’s outside of Chicago’s primary spatial logic of the grid.”

The gallery design by Future Firm, a Chicago-based architecture and design practice cofounded by AIADO Assistant Professor Ann Lui will incorporate window displays and neon signs in its design to attract the attention of commuters, students, and tourists. There are currently two temporary exhibitions scheduled for the space including a video series by Adjunct Assistant Professor of Contemporary Practices Lindsey French (MFA 2013). "It takes a space that people use as an escape or for a commute, and turns it into a place where reflection might happen," says Curbed Chicago of the gallery, which made it's list of "7 small projects that had a big impact in 2018."