The Recognized Artist Seal of Approval/InGlass's Radio Playhouse/London Suite: 25 Percent Off | Culture Club | Chicago Reader

The Recognized Artist Seal of Approval/InGlass's Radio Playhouse/London Suite: 25 Percent Off 

Neophyte gallery owner Jennifer Footlik: Ed Paschke bought her idea--will collectors buy it too?

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The Recognized Artist Seal of Approval

Jennifer Footlik is opening big, as the saying goes. This weekend she unveils her not-for-profit Lineage Gallery Project at 750 N. Franklin with an exhibition of works by Ed Paschke and three artists considered his proteges: Jett Walczak, Glenn Wexler, and Barbara Glatt. "These are artists who I think deserve a break," says Paschke, one of the city's premier painters. Though he hasn't formally taught any of them, the three artists whose work will be on display with Paschke's have all previously worked with him in various capacities.

Footlik, who plans to use Vera Klement as the centerpiece of Lineage's second show, hopes her exhibitions focusing on talents who have votes of confidence from more recognized artists will help collectors ferret out the promising young stars and also aid emerging artists. The Paschke connection has already paid off for Walczak. "Ed Paschke's recommendation carries a lot of weight," she says. As word about Lineage's first show has begun to spread, Walczak says several collectors have inquired about visiting her studio.

As for Footlik, her interest in the art world blossomed at Northwestern University, where she majored in comparative literature. During her junior year she was a curator at Dittmar Memorial Gallery on Northwestern's Evanston campus, and she subsequently interned at the Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art. After graduating in 1994 Footlik started working for Mary Bell Galleries, and while making the rounds of gallery openings she met an attorney named Allan Roin. "He had spent a lifetime building up a fortune and wanted to create an art empire, but he was a little bit unfocused," says Footlik, who suggested he use some of his capital to open an art gallery. As she was exploring various options for Roin, Footlik soon realized that it wouldn't take a fortune to open a gallery and forged ahead on her own, using money she had salted away for graduate school as start-up funds.

At a Northwestern gallery opening last spring Footlik explained her idea to Paschke, who expressed interest and asked for more information in writing. "I try to be supportive of people doing new things whenever I can," says Paschke, who subsequently supplied Footlik with the names of six artists. She chose the three whose work she believed would best complement Paschke's.

Artist Glenn Wexler is cautiously optimistic about Lineage and Footlik's chances of success: "It seems like an exciting concept, but it's one of those things where only time will tell." Footlik is intent on drawing in a new base of young collectors who can reinvigorate the art business. "The old wave of art collectors are tired of driving the market," she says, "and a lot of responsibility is resting on the shoulders of gallery owners to bring in a younger generation." Since Footlik has set up the Lineage Gallery Project as a not-for-profit company, the bottom line won't be an overriding concern. Any profits from the gallery will be used to pay for such future projects as a lecture series on how the Chicago school of art has evolved and a catalog of new Chicago artists.

Ira Glass's Radio Playhouse

Chicago writers, poets, essayists, and performance artists will get a new showcase for their talents when "Your Radio Playhouse" debuts on WBEZ in late November. Hosted by Ira Glass, NPR reporter and cohost of WBEZ's "The Wild Room," the weekly hour-long show will mix journalism and the arts. Glass says he plans to pick a different theme for each program--such as fear of Starbucks--do street reporting on the topic, and commission stories, essays, or poems relating to it. Over time Glass hopes to establish a small stable of regular contributors.

WBEZ station manager Tory Malatia says no decisions have been made on a time slot for the new program. An evening slot, preferably a weekend one, is being seriously considered, but a pilot segment that recently aired during the week at 11 AM scored well with listeners, Malatia noted.

Initially "Your Radio Playhouse" will only air locally, but by April WBEZ hopes to sell the program to at least five other public radio stations around the country. Though Glass says WGBH in Boston and KCRW in Santa Monica, California, have already expressed interest in the show, he concedes that most stations will wait to review the final product before committing.

London Suite: 25 Percent Off

Late last week the cast of the Chicago production of London Suite read through the new playlet Neil Simon wrote to replace the one that was poorly received in New York, but Michael Leavitt, director of the Chicago production, in conjunction with Simon and New York producer Manny Azenberg, apparently has decided to drop the fourth playlet. According to Leavitt, all future U.S. productions of London Suite will likely include only three playlets, but in Europe audiences will continue to see all four that appeared off-Broadway.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Cynthia Howe.

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