Outdoor Painters’ Group Highlights Edgewater and Andersonville

Thursday, Oct 14, 2021 – Jan 3, 2022

1401 W. Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60660

Uncommon Ground presents its first exhibition by Plein Air Painters Chicago (PAPC), October 14, 2021, through January 3, 2022. The show, Chicago for Real, features paintings in oil, acrylic, pastel, and watercolor of scenes that will be very recognizable to locals. From neighborhood landmarks to well-trod park paths to unnamed alleys, each painting has a familiar feeling of Chicago.

Helen Cameron, half of the wife-husband duo that owns Uncommon Ground, juried the show looking for scenes of fall and winter with a particular eye on Edgewater-area locales. She selected forty paintings that reflect Chicago’s diverse landscape from the perspective of its residents. The exhibition is an opportunity for people to purchase affordable, original artwork by local artists. Most paintings range between $300 and $500. 

Uncommon Ground has had a community focus since the opening of its first location on Clark Street in 1991, and artists have long been a part of that mission. As the coffee shop expanded into a full restaurant and music venue, art soon followed on the walls. When the Camerons opened their Edgewater location in 2007, they were ready to provide a consistent rotation of local artists’ work. Both restaurants have become sought-after spots for artists to exhibit and sell. Chicago for Real is Uncommon Ground’s first show by PAPC painters and will be followed by two more in 2022. 

PAPC meets every weekend, April to October, at a different location in and around the city. The group has a robust schedule that moves between gritty and pastoral settings, daytime and night. PAPC leader Mary Longe says that the Chicago club emerged from the same desire as the Impressionists to paint plein air (“outdoors” in French). “Nothing compares to the visual experience of painting in natural light. While most people join us to get outside of their studios, they quickly learn that painting plein air enhances their skills to capture color, atmosphere, and the changes of light throughout a day and a season. Plus, painting plein air around Chicago simply strengthens everyone’s admiration for our town.”



Charity Event in November

As part of the Camerons’ mission to support the Edgewater community, the restaurant will host a benefit for Care for Real during the exhibition on November 14, 3:00-6:00 p.m. The afternoon will feature a raffle for artwork, a painting demonstration by Steve Puttrich, music by the Mark Cleveland Band, plus a signature cocktail and hors d’oeuvres. The agency, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, provides a food pantry, clothes, pet pantry, and support services for Edgewater residents. Guests are asked to bring a donation of personal care products.

Plein Air Painters Chicago (PAPC) is a membership organization under the auspices of the 125-year-old Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts. PAPC is dedicated to painting urban scenes and landscapes in and around Chicago. Founded in 2003 by a handful of local painters, the group now has a roll call of 160 artists. Everyone is invited to paint with PAPC. Paid members can participate in critiques by renowned artists and educational programs to improve skills, exhibits to promote their work, and social events to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow artists.



Uncommon Ground, Edgewater, is located at 1401 W. Devon Avenue. It is home to the first certified organic rooftop farm in the U.S. and proudly serves Illinois’ first certified organic beer, which is brewed at its Lakeview location. 


Image credit: Mark Cleveland. Stuck at the Light: Heart o’ Chicago. Oil, 12 x 12 in.