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Gallery Spotlight: Trickster Gallery

Aleece Dewald

Artwork on display at Trickster Gallery

The earliest art forms served a purpose beyond entertainment; for many, that role was preserving their culture over centuries.  The same belief is the theme of Schaumburg’s Trickster Gallery. Illinois’ first and only native owned and operated fine arts gallery is located in the middle of downtown Schaumburg and adds a nostaglic atmosphere to the hustle and bustle of the modern town.  Beginning as a social meeting place for Chicago American Indians, this non-profit organization  is an extension of the Windy City’s historic American Indian Center and serves as a place where people, native or not, can celebrate or learn about Native American culture.

In general, Trickster Gallery has two goals: the first, preserving the tribes’ traditions that have gone unwritten and therby keeping them alive as it passes them onto future generations. The gallery’s physical structure and the pieces may not appear historical—Trickster Gallery has been in operation for only a few years having opened in 2005. But, the real history is in the natives’ stories depicted in the art that tell centuries old tales of myths, honored warriors, and beloved customs.

This does not mean that Trickster Gallery is outdated.  Some pieces may focus on historical background, but contemporary artwork is exhibited as well.  Like the traditional art, the modern pieces tell stories.  However, these stories are different from the romantic tales of heroism; they often discuss the more troubling parts of the natives’ lives such as racial tensions and the deminishment of natural resources.  Thus, Trickster’s second goal was born: to raise awareness of tolerance and diversity by providing insight into the issues in the natives’ world.

But it is not just the constant art display that attracts guests. Trickster Gallery schedules events to lure newcomers so that they may become regulars. Each month, the gallery showcases a new artist’s exhibit. The open space is not limited to only local Chicago artists; in in May, guests were treated to the pieces from Seattle artist, Andrew Morrison. However, Trickster Gallery hopes to do more than present current artsits.  Another goal is to inspire future artists as well.  The gallery accepts exhibition proposals submitted from the public so that the gallery’s community may continue to grow. Children’s art lessons are also offered to encourage even the youngest potential artists.

For those not in-tune with either the visual arts or Native American culture, other activities are also available to those interested in joining the Trickster community. Every every Friday until October, is the farmer’s market starting June 10th.  Visitors are who come to the town square are welcome to sample locally grown vegetables, fruits, and cheeses as well as speak with the farmers who grow them.  If guests have not had enough of Trickster by then, they are invited back to the gallery for free movie nights at 6 PM featuring native films.

Other events include Aztec dance lessons, and the new “Spirited Daughters” exhibit, which is a group art show by young Native women, which involves music and video performances, a silent auction, and raffles. This exhibit is open until August 27.

Future events at Trickster Gallery to observe are the exhibit openings of Chicago artists, Michael Wesley in August and Emmanuel L. White Eagle in October, and Minneapolis artist, Douglas K. Limon, also in October.

Trickster Gallery is located on 190 S. Roselle Rd in Schaumburg.  Its hours of operation include: Thursday-Saturday: 10 AM-6PM and Friday: 10AM-8PM.