When you think of art, what comes to mind? Is it a painting? A photo? Do you think of sculptures or something more physical like dance or theater? The word “art” can mean so many things. It can take on many different forms.
What comes to mind when you think about how you usually experience art? Do you typically experience art at a museum or gallery? Or do you like to experience art through film or literature? For some, the best way to experience art is in person, to be fully entrenched and engulfed by it. This is why art experiences like The Exhibit House of Chicago are so meaningful.
When you enter The Exhibit House, you are no longer just a viewer but a co-creator.
The Exhibit House of Chicago is a new interactive art experience meticulously placed within the Water Tower. A true experience, this exhibit pulls you in. When you enter The Exhibit House, you are no longer just a viewer but a co-creator. A fantastic way to approach art, this exhibit was built on the desire to change how people interact with art.
We had the opportunity to speak with the founder of The Exhibit House of Chicago, Janine Williams, and get the 411 on what inspired her to create this immersive artistic experience.
“[The Exhibit House of Chicago] was created during a dark moment in my life,” said Williams. “I didn’t like how I felt, so I began journaling my thoughts. Over time I began writing about creating a space for individuals battling depression. My intentions were to help individuals battling depression & put them in a place of love & happiness. My goal was to create an artistic healing center.”
The Exhibit House will transport you somewhere different. It will encourage you to feel something different. A healing center for the creatively inclined, The Exhibit House allows art lovers and newbies to forget about their day and worries.
The Exhibit House of Chicago consists of three exhibits: “Disco Dreamland,” “The Mood Room,” and “Secret Garden.” Each room was made to be engaging, encourage a sense of wonder about yourself and the world around you, and—you guessed it—be instagrammable.
When you first step into The Exhibit House you’ll be transported into a room straight out of Studio 54. Adequately called “Disco Dreamland,” this first exhibit is adorned with sparkling silver disco balls and bendy reflective mirrors. This space radiates with late 70s glamor, and invites you to capture the moment with a quick snap of your phone.
As you soak in the retro vibes and marvel at the décor, you can’t help but wonder: was partying in the 70s really as fun as it looked? It’s obvious the intention with this room is to catch your eye and leave you with a lasting impression of the electrifying era that inspires people to this day.
THE MOOD ROOM
After you groove out of “Disco Dreamland” you’ll find yourself in a more colorful and relaxed experience, aka “The Mood Room.” Created to encourage viewers to engage with the art mentally and physically, this experience features insightful and experimental illustrations that perfectly pair the different emotions we experience as humans with colors. There were a variety of emotions displayed, but the ones that spoke to me the most were sensitive, anger, and passion.
Each installation was accompanied by a simple definition of the emotion being explored, as well as an interactive task that encouraged visitors to get involved. For instance, in the Anger exhibit, we were prompted to write a motivational message on a sheet of paper. In the Sensitive exhibit, we were invited to grab an affirmation card from the wall and share it with someone we care about in the future.
“The Mood Room” reminded me that connecting with others can be as simple as asking questions and allowing viewers to not only take in art but examine it, and interact with it. The interactive tasks not only inspired and uplifted me but also built a sense of community and connection in the space.
The “Secret Garden” exhibit marked the breathtaking conclusion of The Exhibit House. As soon as you enter this room, you’re enveloped in lush greenery, fragrant flowers, and a sense of wonder for the beauty of nature.
This immersive room invites you to explore and discover rare plant species while being surrounded by poetic messages that echo the allure of the natural world. Integrating nature into art can be challenging, but the “Secret Garden” achieved this seamlessly by immersing us, the viewers, in an interactive and all-encompassing experience that will leave you amazed and inspired, as the best art usually does.
Art demands presence, honesty and more than anything openness.
The Future of Art
Art is one of the most powerful ways to ignite a sense of wonder and curiosity about ourselves and the world around us. Through art, we are encouraged to express and share our voices and thoughts, and be open to seeing and connecting with perspectives different from our own. Art demands presence, honesty and more than anything openness.
An art experience that rekindles our sense of wonder and light from within, The Exhibit House of Chicago is a must for anyone seeking inspiration, excitement, and introspection in their lives. Not only does this exhibit spark joy and wonder, it embodies the ever-evolving landscape of art and creativity.
The Exhibit House of Chicago officially opens on Saturday, April 1st. The exhibit is open seven days a week and tickets are required. You can purchase them here.
Special thanks to Swank Public Relations and Janine Williams of The Exhibit House of Chicago.
This issue of Mildsauce, we invited young journalists to reflect on the theme “Sense of Wonder.” Click here to follow the stories coming up in our “Wonder” issue.