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Side Street Studio Arts Celebrates 5th Anniversary

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Side Street Studio Arts Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Side Street Studio Arts (SSSA), located at 15 Ziegler Ct., in the heart of downtown Elgin, is celebrating its five-year anniversary with a night of art making, visual art, live music, performances, and more Friday, March 2 from 6-10pm.


The event is all ages and open to the public. There is a $5 suggested donation at the door.

SSSA opened March 1, 2013 and quickly become a home for both fringe and mainstream performing and visual artists. During 2017, SSSA hosted: 24 visual art exhibitions, 35 music performances, over 50 live art events, over 300 on-site arts education programs, 240 hours of Community Moves arts education outreach programming, 10 internships, weekly free gallery hours, 100 hours of SSSA activities per week, donated space for fundraising events for area organizations, co-produced the Elgin Fringe Festival and Elgin Literary Festival with the City of Elgin, and featured a downtown Elgin Gallery, Lab, and Theater that were active 52 of 52 weeks during the year. 

New in 2018, SSSA has expanded their Lab space located at 11 and 13 S. Spring Street. The Lab is an ever-growing shared artist space designed to support the artistic process through the housing of equipment, storage, and proximity to exhibition resources. Lab not only allows individual artists the space and time to create, but hosts a variety of interactive workshops and classes, from ceramics to oil painting to photography for both children and adults.

“The Lab expansion has allowed us to open a greater number of arts education experiences for all ages,” said SSSA Founder and Executive Director Tanner Melvin. “We have found that our community is looking for easily accessible hands-on art experiences, and we are excited to be able to provide those opportunities for all ages and experience levels.”

“Additionally, more space, community interaction, and funding opportunities have allowed us to grow Community Moves, our arts education outreach arm,” added SSSA Founder and Executive Director Erin Rehberg. “Community Moves brings art to public schools, various organizations, and provides scholarships to artists of all ages for our on-site programming. All class fees and donations take us further in supporting this outreach.”

The anniversary festivities kick off with SSSA’s monthly First Friday Drop-In Small Wonders in the Theater from 4:15-6:15pm. For a $5 fee, parents can drop their young artist for two hours of visual and performance art-making fun.

The uncurated V visual art exhibition features the work of over 40 area artists. 

“For the first time in SSSA history, a panel of judges will adjudicate the works and a $500 prize will be awarded to a single selected artist,” said Director of Exhibitions Roberto Martinez. “The prize is sponsored in part by our friends at Elgin Public House and our first-ever grant from the Illinois Arts Council.”

There will also be a crowd favorite vote, and the winner of that vote will receive a yearlong Lab membership and additional prizes from SSSA. The V judges are Judson University Department of Art and Design Faculty Member Melanie Gibb, artist Martinez E-B, artist, curator, and activist Jennifer Sova, and Chairman of the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission Joe Vassallo. Judging and voting will take place from 6 to 8pm, and winners will be announced at 9pm.

The evening will also include performances from area musicians Think Easy, Old Jaw, and Watch City; live art making and hands-on demonstrations on silk screen printing with Lab artist Fred Wimms, featuring original year five artwork by Elgin artist Chris Palm; cake from Elgin’s Herb’s Bakery; and much more. All SSSA spaces will be open to the public from 6-10pm.


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