CUSP Magazine: Winter Issue 2014


CUSP Magazine is a Chicago based publication focused on helping up and coming creatives gain exposure for their brand and products. Our company is a collective of highly motivated individuals who work together to bring a new voice to the creative community.


Chicago is a city full of art. Whether it be fashion, music, or galleries full of local artwork, there is

something for everybody. The Second Fridays Gallery Night in the Pilsen Art District is drawing a cool,

diverse crowd that is expanding every month.

The Chicago Arts District, founded in 2002 by John Podmajersky III, whose parents and

grandparents had lived in the neighborhood since it was a Slavic neighborhood at the turn of the 20th

Century, puts on the event on every second Friday of each month. The CAD represents a coalition of

both established and up-and-coming galleries in Pilsen.

The galleries spread across a section of 18th that undercuts the highway and southwards along

Halsted. Each gallery has a distinct character and crowd, but even that isn’t static from month to month.

On my first Second Friday on October 10th, I started the night at what’s become one of my favorite

spots, Elee Gallery on 18th Street. Elee sits on a corner just below the highway in a pretty unassuming

spot across from a gas station. With its enormous windows and Zoolander-style loft feel, it stands out

along with the gallery next to it in the sea of modest, nondescript homes in the area.

When we arrived, the local artist showing at Elee that night, Barret Keithley, showed us around and

told us a little bit about his art and what he does. Barrett, who dabbled in visual art and poetry throughout

his childhood, didn’t start to paint in earnest until the age of 20 when he came home to Chicago from

college in Maryland. “My first piece was on a poster board. It was a gift for a girlfriend,” he told us with

a laugh.

Now, Barrett’s works cover entire sections of the wall and grab your attention from across the block.

When we were walking up, my friend Julianna looked in through the window about half a block away and

exclaimed, “Oh that looks good!”

Barrett’s largest piece, hugging most of the eastern interior wall at Elee, had a cartoonish feel, but



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