Whether you are a professional artist or are thinking of trying something different such as a hobby related to art or a craft, winter is perfect for starting a new indoor project. Fortunately, there are excellent Chicago-area art stores that cater to everyone from the painter whose works are in galleries and art shows to dabblers or people looking for advice and classes. These five names include a chain that started in Illinois and wonderful stores that carry on longtime Chicago art supply traditions.
Genesis Art Supply
2417 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Many professional Chicago artists in the mid to late 20th century counted on a convenient Sheldons Art Supplies store for their materials. Today’s artists can do the same, but the family changed the name in 1989 to Genesis Art Supply and now operates just one store. An art supply shop that also specializes in drafting and framing, Genesis has a friendly, knowledgeable staff. Don’t be confused by Genesis’ online name. Started in 2003, the store’s website is artsupply.com.
Hi-Land Art & Frame
688 Central Ave.
Highland Park, IL 60035
A long-time Highland Park store, Hi-Land has been supplying local artists and hobbyists with paints, canvas (they stretch them here) books and other art materials for more than half a century. Custom framing was added about 25 years ago. The store may appear small but it has an extensive art inventory and orders other materials upon request. The next generation of artists is encouraged through a Kids Corner of fun kits and colorful items.
Blick Art Materials
42 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60603
Founded in Galesburg by Dick and Grace Blick in 1911 and bought by Robert Metzenberg in 1941, Blick Art Materials has expanded its inventory to become a one-stop source for artists working in a variety of media. It recently partnered with Utrecht whose paints and other supplies are highly regarded in the industry. Utrecht closed its Chicago stores on Wabash and Michigan Avenue but when contacted, sends people to the Blick State Street store. In addition to its five Chicago-area locations, Blick is also on the School of the Art Institute campus.
Lake View Art Supply
3228 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
3314 W. Foster Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
Both Lake View Art Supply stores are friendly neighborhood stop-ins for hobbyists and professional artists. Along with art supplies, the stores have ready-made frames and do custom framing. In addition, the stores often list local classes ranging from private studios to those offered by Lill Street and Truman College.
111 E. Front St.
Wheaton, IL 60187
Some DuPage residents may be familiar with the Carlson name for house paint, glass and hardware products and services. However, Carlson’s Wheaton store has an extensive art supply and framing department. The store works with the Wheaton Art League and local schools. In business since the early 1900s, Carlson is known for friendliness and service.
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Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.