Truman College students are getting ready to bring their art out of the studio and into the streets of Uptown. As part of Uptown Art Week, on August 8th, several students will showcase their paintings and photographs on Truman’s courtyard, giving the public an opportunity to view and purchase their work.
Irina Averina, one of the participating student artists, says she’s honored to take part in the exhibition. Originally from Russia, Irina moved to Chicago in 2019 and got her start at Truman by taking English as a Second Language courses. She had previously earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and worked in Russia’s banking sector, but, after starting at Truman, she decided to follow her lifelong passion for art and pursue an associate degree in the field.
During Art Week, Irina’s first in-person exhibition, she plans to showcase about 10-12 original paintings, including several that feature the Chicago cityscape – an inspiration for many of her drawings and paintings.
“When I don’t have any ideas [for my art], I go outside,” Irina said. “I go to the lake or to a different neighborhood in Chicago, and I just enjoy the city. Through my paintings, I want to share the beauty of Chicago with others.”
The opportunity to participate in Uptown Art Week was presented by one of Irina’s professors and mentors, Stephanie Roberts. Understanding that artists aren’t always afforded the same access to internships and resume-building experiences as other industries, Professor Roberts coordinated the exhibition as a way to give students a unique, hands-on experience in the field. Roberts, who also serves as Chair of the Art, Humanities, and World Languages Department, hopes it will help students build the skills and confidence they need to take part in similar opportunities in the future.
“Exhibitions like this can be a linchpin for an artist,” she said. “If it goes well and they sell their work, that can be all it takes to open doors in the industry.”
Beyond creating unique opportunities for Truman students, Professor Roberts wants to share the gift of art with the community during Art Week. At the college’s exhibition, she plans to set up arts materials so that community members can experiment with different types of mediums for themselves.
Professor Roberts, Irina, and other participating artists from Truman College will showcase their work on Truman’s courtyard at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Racine Avenue from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 8th. To learn more about Uptown Art Week, happening August 6th through 15th, visit https://exploreuptown.org/uptown-art-week/.