In addition to being our #artatthejames partner since we opened and all around Chicago cultural force, Monique Meloche is also the founder of Gallery Weekend Chicago. GWC is a series of events that highlights the breadth of contemporary art in Chicago by inviting national and international collectors, curators and art professionals to the bricks and mortar spaces of Windy City galleries.

Now entering its sixth year, in 2016 she’s switching it up by expanding the program to include the best of established, emerging and alternative galleries, all across the 606. Get an inside tour, below.  

1. How was the idea for Gallery Weekend Chicago born?

Gallery Weekend Chicago was founded in 2011 to help support what was then the upstart EXPO Chicago art fair. Since then, EXPO has established itself on the calendar of international art happenings and GWC has grown along with it. Thus, this year GWC will be held in November (instead of late September with the EXPO Chicago fair) for the first time. 

2. This year you’re doing three weekends in November, as opposed to just one. What brought on the change?

We wanted to expand the gallery map both conceptually and geographically to include a lot of new galleries and artist run spaces. We needed a few more weekends as we have events in the West Loop, West Town and all the way out to East Garfield and Humboldt Park where a lot of newer and younger projects are happening. 

3. What can people expect from this year’s event?  

Besides the new locales, we will have a more grassroots focus on the galleries themselves. This involves artists’ talks and performances, gallery tours and events. We are also in the process of organizing a series of pop up exhibitions throughout the city, which will debut next spring.

4. What do you hope to accomplish with GWC this year?

Chicago has a great selection of artists, institutions and art schools - but for a city its size the gallery scene has been relatively small compared to New York or Los Angeles. However, the alternative gallery scene has always been very strong.  Our focus now is to present both the emerging and established galleries within the same compelling context.