For one of our first stories here on Mild Sauce we chose to highlight Ciera McKissick and her brainchild, AMFM Gallery in west Pilsen. By the time we had gotten around to stopping by the space, she was well underway of creating her highly inclusive community set inside a humble storefront on 17th Street. Hosting an assortment of parties, listening sessions, concerts, galleries, fashion shows and just about everything in between, the space became a centerpiece of arts and LGBTQ scenes here in Chicago. This week we found out that the space will be no more after this month, the latest venue to become a casualty this year.
In a message posted on Facebook, McKissick explained the situation:
After nearly two years, AMFM will close its gallery doors in September due to circumstances outside of our control. We are taking this opportunity to take a step back, recharge, reflect and work on our transition. While our physical space is closing, our brand will continues to live on through our web content & pop up events, connecting artists to opportunities and behind the scenes action. In collaboration with our incredible community, our gallery has been able to offer studio space to 10 resident artists, host over 200 events, feature numerous local and nationally recognized artists, collectives, activists and organizations. Together, we’ve cultivated a thriving community that supports artists, people of color, access, inclusion, and bringing people together through arts and culture. This is and always will be at the core of all we continue to do. A physical space cannot change that.
At a time when the city is gentrifying by the moment and areas ripe for art and expression are quickly drying up, the loss of AMFM’s space is one that hurts. In the last year we’ve lost Double Door, Quencher’s, several DIY venues and now AMFM. It’s these types of places, run not as profit-generators, but as true-to-life community efforts that drive the necessary outlets that find a home there. We’re positive McKissick and AMFM will find a new home in no time and if you would like to contribute to that effort you can do so by hitting the donation button below. We’ll have more info as it becomes available.