Have you thought about chairs lately? We have become dependent on chairs as a way to rest our torsos and our feet and still remain upright. Once a stool was enough – in Africa a sign of Kingship and power. But, on a long walk in the woods, a log or rock will do. Now chairs are designed for comfort in front of the TV or while working at a desk. Some chairs are designed for discomfort like those in classrooms which prevent a student from taking a nap.
A chair is an artifact of history. Its style and materials can be read by an audience of experts, all of whom have sat in a chair sometime in the past. For a moment, consider a unique chair in your home. Perhaps it was given to you by someone and it’s sitting in the corner of a room. You might have discarded it long ago but when you took it, that implied you would take care of it. There may be a story behind it.
We are looking for these chairs and the stories they tell. We are planning an exhibit in conjunction with the North Lakeside Cultural Center at 6219 N. Sheridan Road. As many of you know, the NLCC is housed in a 1910 Mansion in Berger Park. The four rooms and hallway on the second floor are set up as a gallery. The chairs will be displayed at NLCC and at the Edgewater Historical Society Museum for about six weeks beginning on April 30, 2008.
Here’s how the exhibit will work. You must send in a photo of the chair and specify its dimensions. We would like the chairs to be easy to haul upstairs, so no loungers. With your application we would like to learn about your chair. Please send a typed copy of your writings related to the chair. It should be on an 8.5” x 11” page and 1.5 line spacing. The type size should be between 18 and 24 points. This copy is just for review and planning the display. The entry fee is $5.00 payable to the Edgewater Historical Society at 5358 N. Ashland, Chicago, IL 60640. Please include your name and a way to contact you either by phone or email. The applications are due on April 18, 2008.
Based on the size and type of chair you are willing to bring, we will plan the exhibit space. The space at the Edgewater Historical Museum is much smaller and will hold fewer chairs for display. With each chair, we’d like some creative thoughts about the chair. Perhaps you can just tell us how you got the chair and who gave it to you. Perhaps you can write a poem about it. Perhaps this chair has some unique powers that reach beyond its physical presence. Please share your thoughts about the chair.
This is an exhibit about chairs, but it does not exclude artists who might creatively paint a chair. If you are interested in doing that, please just tell us. If you want to sell the chair you may. You will have to give us the price and understand that the gallery will take 20% of the sale price. We will notify you where you should bring your chair and your writing. If you are able to enlarge your writing to an 11” x 17” poster, we will be happy to hang that next to the chair. We will give you the hours when the galleries will be open and available to receive the chairs.
The chairs will not be available for seating unless the exhibitor wants the public to sit in the chair. We will create a “Please Sit” sign for those entries. If you have any questions, call the EHS museum at 773.506.4849 and leave a message for Kathy Gemperle.