Kelly Boehmer

“GROWLING STOMACH”  Opening Reception Fri.  April 29, 5-8pm

Boehmer’s soft sculptures display a tragic sense of humor. Using art history as a starting point she creates tension and anxiety through sewing the work by hand, with raw, anxious stitches of red thread. Her old sculptures are cut up and are incorporated with upcycled taxidermy to make new work.

Opening Reception, Friday, April 29, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: April 28 – May 21, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Meryl Levenstein

“FOUND MY FOOTING ON THE FOREST FLOOR”  Opening Reception Fri.  April 29, 5-8pm

Mine is a collaborative process. With help from Mother Nature, I create weapons for the army of folks who are battling real or imagined demons. Our minute of history has been eclipsed by exhaustive and shameful political buffoonery, a ghastly pandemic, dreadful combative heads of state, inflation and on and on. What is the average and tireless world citizen supposed to do to be hopeful, to enjoy control? I worry, because it is my makeup. I worry, because we are too fragile to withstand the onslaught of misery that has become commonplace.

So, I thought about options for supporting emotional wellness. I decided that each of us needs what the most fortunate already have… that enviable feeling of empowerment and confidence, the joyous realization that we all count. We need the stuff of sovereigns. We need tools for might.

So I make scepters. One of kind, doused with jewels and distinctive textiles, remarkable embellishments from everywhere, embroidered to the hilt, my magical wands are multi-faceted. Along with the regal implications of privilege and entitlement, the ornamental branches have mystical capabilities, or so I am suggesting. See them as “divine rods” with supernatural means to manage stress and heighten awareness.

My work is contemplative. It is therapeutic. Each stitch and decorative detail is thoughtfully placed. While I work, I am ridiculously focused and not easily distracted. The work is slow and deliberate and hell on my hands. But I am happiest when I am designing my scepters, because I do not fret about the world and my role on the planet while I am sewing and sharing. Instead, I feel strong and optimistic about being present in this messed-up era. The repurposed branch reminds me that I, too, am noble enough and mindful enough to live my life boldly.

Hopefully, my scepter will arouse enlightening moments for you, allow you to reflect on your own layered story rather than brood about what has become regrettably normal. May the dazzling accessory be part of your private arsenal against self doubt and fear. May it be a symbol of spunk. Should you find comfort in its meaning, consider my power-packed piece a gift to modern weary warriors.


Opening Reception, Friday, April 29, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: April 28 – May 21, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Elyse Martin

“SERENDIPITOUS FLOW”  Opening Reception Fri.  April 29, 5-8pm

My current work explores the possibility of making visual sense through a process that, though sometimes complex, turns out to be a kind of managed serendipity. I create large abstracts, worked flat.  I start with acrylic paint, begin with colors in different areas, and manipulate the canvas until I find what works. The beginning is almost arbitrary, but what emerges is usually surprising. I combine paint with a variety of textures—sometimes pouring medium, sometimes varnish, sometimes gels—to create surfaces that I embellish, remove, scrape, splatter or puddle.

Walking around the canvas as I work, I discover the perspective that best suits the piece. Whether vertical, horizontal or angled, there is a struggle between disarray and harmony, comfort and discomfort that I try to resolve in each piece, a process that can be completed through a minute detail or disparate dash of color. I try to keep the viewer simultaneously engaged by the complexities of the work and soothed by the empty spaces in between.

Opening Reception, Friday, April 29, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: April 28 – May 21, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  


“EPILOGUE”  Opening Reception Fri.  April 1, 5-8pm

Epilogue is a group-exhibition displaying select pieces by seven graduate-candidate students finishing their final semester at Northern Illinois University. Artists Ina Murphy, Marco Camacho, Marisol Cervantes, Nicholas Phan, Shinan Wu, Sixing Qi, and Zoë Couvillion are showcasing a variety of printmaking mediums, ceramic vessels, sculptures, paintings, and new-media works. The show is a culmination of the craftsmanship and conceptual growth gathered over the course of their three-year scholarship, and is an exciting springboard into their newfound artistic careers.


Opening Reception, Friday, April 1, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: March 31 – April 23, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Kryssi Staikidis

“EMERGENCE”  Opening Reception Fri.  March 11, 5-8pm

My work often begins as a visual narrative connected to autobiography. The stories I paint are about immigration, a child’s longing, love, divorce, solitude, my dog, birds, the moon, the sea, life, death. I think of paintings as means to emote, reminisce, look back, as well as project into the future. My paintings are meant to be visual landscapes in which figures appear and disappear. These are stories, embedded, forgotten and revealed, works that hope to haunt and remind, and at times, foresee.

My process involves reading into stains of washes that I apply initially with oil and turpentine in layers. As I have an idea in mind, I look for the shapes of my characters randomly in the mix of transparency. Painting in this way, I am not limited by sketching or reproducing images that have already been created. I have found that as I paint, figures emerge that live their own lives and they begin to tell their own stories, often diverging from what I had originally intended. The paintings eventually become compositions of color and movement. They are painted one over another, sometimes ten or twelve times, so they are literally heavy. When asked to express their meanings or describe them, I rarely discuss form, but rather the stories I represent.

I have relied on narratives, both personal and cultural, as the driving force for my work. Some of the paintings in the exhibition at ARC this spring 2022 are Buddhist narratives which include the letters of Nichiren Daishonin written to his disciples in 13th Century Japan. “Ceremony in the Air” and “Tatsunokuchi” are such paintings. They are my ways of confirming the potential in each human being.

Kryssi Staikidis holds a Doctor of Education Degree in Art and Art Education from Teachers College Columbia University in New York City, a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Hunter College in New York City, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology and Art History from Columbia University. Her research interests are Indigenous Studies, art studio practice as a site for research, and critical pedagogy.  She is a Professor of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University.


Image: A Visit from the Other Side, Oil on Canvas, 60″ x 72″, 2021


Opening Reception, Friday, March 11, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: March 3 – 26, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Iris Goldstein

“LOOKING FOR THE UNKNOWN”  Opening Reception Fri.  Feb 4, 5-8pm

Iris Goldstein, a long-time member of ARC Gallery, is exhibiting colored-pencil drawings at the gallery in February 2022.  Goldstein is always interested in the unusual and offbeat.  Though she is committed to nonobjective art, she tries to find visual images that are suggestive and allusive, based on real-life objects or places that are transformed through the artist’s imagination.  After working many years creating painted plaster wall-relief sculptures, she has been experimenting to see whether she can create a sense of 3/D space using colored pencils on paper.  The artist always tries to find new ways of seeing that she hopes will find a response in the viewer. She views nature as a stimulus for her ideas and sees nature and art as common elements in her search for a personal way of seeing. Goldstein studied sculpture at Smith College with Leonard Baskin and has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in drawing and painting.  She has shown her work in Europe and Japan and China.

Opening Reception, Friday, Feb 4, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: Feb 3 – 26, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  


WHAT IS LOVE?: Opening Reception Fri.  Feb 4, 5-8pm

JUROR: Chantala Kommanivanh

This February, ARC seeks to examine the construct of  LOVE. What is Love? In what way is it a construct? How is it challenging? Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a force to be reckoned with. It is used to move the world – forward or backward depending on your point of view. How does one’s understanding and concept of love influence our feelings, our decisions, our actions?

How do we mend and heal our relationships – and our relationship to the world – during this time of distrust, contempt, group think, political differences, racial strife, and the overall sense of “Us vs Them”? How do we:  get back to friends and family during COVID; save our planet from human destruction; respond to the general humanity of our world, and celebrate the human capacity for tenderness?

This exhibition is an artist-response to this idea of “Love” – in the broadest sense. These ideas include the love of: family and friends, nature, the body, and love for one’s heritage. Love can be vulnerability, a motivator, an obsession, crippling, and healing.

EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Antonia Amir, John E. Bannon, Grace Boss, Natasha Buksh, Paula Bullwinkel, Laura Cerf-Dahl, Jeanne Ciravolo, George C. Clark, David DeCesaris, Rima Day, SP Scotti Estes, David Feingold, Robert Fields, LucyJulia Hale, Lauren Krause, Michael LaMattina, Chris Law, Pamela Maurer, Robert Mullenix, Nancy Natow-Cassidy, Julie O’Connor, Mary Jo O’Hearn, Vijay V Paniker, Sabrina Sabella, Lauren Schoepflin, Erin Starr, Stella Zee

What is love? Is like saying… What is art? There are endless expressions justifying what love is. There is no right or wrong way of making ART or right or wrong to LOVE. For me, LOVE is an attraction that triggers an emotion, a feel. That feeling is soft, warm, comforting and sometimes that feel is the opposite… rough, cold, discomfort. LOVE is also discovery, finding, losing, birth, growth, death. LOVE is acknowledging attachments then detaching. For the “What is love?” exhibition at ARC Gallery, I chose works that attracted me. I stared at my computer screen and let the work grow with me through understanding or at least I tried. Works in the show made me feel the LOVE expressed in the work, just to hold its beauty in the exhibition before we go our separate ways.

Chantala Kommanivanh is an award-winning Lao American artist, educator and musician. ​The rap music he’s produced with Maintenance Crew and the visual components of Kommanivanh’s artwork have areas of overlap in their meaning and content. He is interested in creating new memories by “sampling” from past events. Through painting, his works are a reinterpretation of memories documenting his personal history. Raised with traditional Lao customs at home and active in hip-hop culture outside of home, Kommanivanh’s work investigates cultural hybridity and tensions of identity, as he and his family were refugees from the unfortunate outcomes of the 1964-1975 Secret War in Laos. His collection of paintings derive from personal and found photographs representing pivotal times in his life. His visual works have been displayed in five major solo exhibitions in Chicago-area and Midwestern art galleries, and have been included in numerous group and invitational exhibitions across the U.S.

​Kommanivanh is a recipient of several prestigious awards including the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation award in 2009 and was a two-time awardee of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Advance Opportunity Program Fellowship. In 2013, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth recognized him for his service of excellence to Illinois’s 8th District arts community.

​Kommanivanh earned his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University in 2008, and a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts in 2012. He has since found his way back to his hometown of Chicago and is an arts professor at his alma mater, NEIU.

Opening Reception, Friday, Feb 4, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: Feb 3 – 26, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Patrice S. Nelson

Into the Vanishing Prairie:  Virtual Opening Reception  Sat.  Jan 8, 4-6pm

Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 898 3190 4735   Passcode: 601074

Although I was born in Chicago, from a young age I was always hiking through prairies, sandy beaches and forests with my amateur botanist, photographer father looking for rare native plants to identify and photograph. Nature has always been one of my greatest inspirations, but I am deeply worried about it. This collection of paintings and drawings of wild native Midwest flora and fauna appear to be fading away because too many species are threatened and endangered. So, get outside and enjoy nature and her varied habitats before it all gets destroyed and disappears.


Zoom Opening Reception, Saturday, Jan 8, 4:00-6:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: JAN 6 – 29, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  


BODY POLITICS  Virtual Opening  Sat.  Jan 8, 4-6pm 

JUROR: Ginny Sykes


See a video of the exhibition below:

Watch “Blue Broad: The Feminist Reframing of Monica Lewinsky in the #metoo Era” by Heather Saunders and Erin Finley:

In January 1973, Roe v Wade dramatically extended women’s options for bodily autonomy. Notwithstanding, women’s bodies remain a battleground – not just around reproductive health, but in myriad other areas, including (but not limited to) decisions around consent, safety, employment and beauty. Roe v Wade faces new threats to its existence – leaving reproductive rights in ever greater peril. Beginning with the policing of women’s bodies, and expanding to examine all forms of body policing and discrimination, ARC will host a juried exhibition in January 2022 to address these themes. Body politics shape the socio-political climate and affect basic human rights, from the #metoo movement and rape culture, to domestic violence, to gender politics, and right down to the politics of hair in the classroom and workplace.


Nelson Armour, Elizabeth Ashe, Jenny Balisle, Bea, K. Johnson Bowles, Danqi Cai, Jeanne Ciravolo, Lauren DeRosa, Abigail Engstrand, Erin Finley, Sarah Fitzgerald, Kate Forer, Ghislaine Fremaux, Elizabeth Hall, Sharon Harper, Lydia Kegler, Delphin Keim, Gina Lee-Robbins, Beth LeFauve, Theresa Lucey, Sally Machlis, Bette McAvoy, Fiona McCargo, Socorro Mucino, Heather Saunders, Suzanna Scott, Randi Shepard, Dafna Steinberg, Li Turner, Darlene Tyree, Kathy Weaver, Gary L. Wolfe, Christine Wuenschel, Tina Ybarra, Alex Younger


Ginny Sykes is an interdisciplinary artist utilizing performance, video, sculpture, painting, installation, ceramics and more. Her personal and political approach to art incorporates a Jungian and feminist perspective, working with symbol and myth to critique patriarchal codes that have occupied and over-determined artistic content through much of history. Resisting prescriptive and institutional classifications of a universalized female experience, Sykes instead asserts and affirms the complexity of identities women negotiate. She employs a poetic, layered, and visceral aesthetic across the genres of her practice to suggest the transforming and healing potential of art, and to invite new cultural, emotional, and psychological understandings. An example of this is Sykes’s recent project 100 Women: Collaborations Beyond the Veil, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote. Through a photographic and performative lens, 100 diverse women posed for Sykes to create a contemporary visual archive of women on the subject of liberty.

Recent selected exhibitions include Art Performing Festival, Naples, Italy and Forte Marghera, Venice, Italy; Dryphoto Arte Contemporanea, Prato, Italy; Water Tower Art Festival, Soifa, Bulgaria; LACE, Los Angeles, CA; Legler and Woodson Regional Libraries, Chicago; Loyola University Art Museum, Chicago, IL; top Schillerpalais, Berlin, Germany; Saltillo Contemporary, Saltillo, Mexico; Pinacoteca Communale de Arte Contemporanea, Gaeta, Italy; and Can Gelabert Casal de Cultura, Mallorca, Spain.

Sykes has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Lill Street Art Center and the Evanston Art Center, and was a teaching artist for twenty five years, including After School Matters and the Illinois Arts Council. She has presented her work at the Jungian Institute International Conference and at the College Art Association Conference. She is a former board and advisory board member with Woman Made Gallery, has been a board member and core artist with the Chicago Public Art Group, and currently serves on the advisory council for the Sam Fox School of Art at Washington University. Sykes has co-created over 40 public artworks, including On the Wings of Water at O’Hare International Airport, and Rora at Erie Terrace on the Chicago River, which received an Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects. She is recipient of several DCASE grants, a Chicago Percent for Art commission, Ragdale residencies, and Artegiro residency in Conzano, Italy.

Sykes holds an MA in Women Studies and Gender Studies from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, where she received a Community and Global Stewards Fellowship, and has a BFA from Washington University, St Louis, Missouri. She studied painting and art history for three years at Studio Cecil Graves in Florence, Italy. She divides her working life between Chicago, Illinois and Naples, Italy.


Virtual Opening, Saturday, Jan 8, 4:00-6:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: JAN 6 – 29, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs & Fri – 2-6 pm,  Sat & Sun – 12-4 pm  


Manal Deeb


Laminated Heart:  Opening Reception Fri.  Dec 3, 5-8pm

my heart broke in silent sound
my tears did not touch the ground

“Laminated Heart” is an internal landscape, directed at no particular audience.  A powerful drive to reproduce oneself. A journey that takes you into replications of self that kept me alive.  A glance into a biding time revealing memories stolen by the time.  A quest for a golden note.  A dare to dissect the inner of the unknown without fear.


Opening Reception, Friday, Dec 3, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: Nov 27 – Dec 18, 2021
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm