Publisher’s Letter: Baby Steps Through Winter

My daughter recently learned how to walk. Constantly watching out for her safety has helped me see the world with a new perspective: while I now anticipate a range of new dangers, I can also freshly see more wonder in the everyday. Toddlers are innately curious; their inexhaustable delight in exploration is charming to a busy adult. Shiny objects and novel experiences can entertain grown ups too, but most of us are a little harder to truly impress. 

Each winter when I write this letter for our January-April issue, it’s a tough assignment. How can we get people to see things in a new light? Is it possible to be excited about the cruelest stretch of the year in one of the coldest cities in the country? Many people just want to flee until spring arrives. But instead of trying to force my enthusiasm on others, maybe the middle of winter just isn’t a time to be all abuzz. Instead, it may be a reprieve from the frenzy. We have a chance to relax and slow down. The calendar is no longer a blur, and for most of us, if we’re going to venture outside, it had better be worth it. This is not to say that nothing happens when the temperature is below zero. As we come out of our post-holiday fog, the area’s cultural momentum builds each month, starting with winter season openings and continuing until we gratefully reach April. Just like a confident toddler who has mastered baby steps, soon we’ll be running again. Savoring these quieter times is a gift. Before we know it time will have passed us all by.

Eight decades have passed for Richard Hunt. Long a sculpture star, as Hunt celebrates his 80th birthday, two institutions are reflecting on this prolific, resourceful artist’s career. Franck Mercurio visited Hunt’s studio to take a look back and to see what’s new.

What’s new can be quite at home in an old space. Kevin Nance has a conversation with architect and contemporary art collector Carlos Martinez, whose collection began with a birthday present and snowballed from there. Martinez looks to art and architecture to inspire many aspects of his life. 

Art has the power to inspire us all, but it can also offer a safe haven for at-risk youths in the city. Even in the slower winter months, there are day-to-day dangers that exist for many kids. Several area art programs are designed to offer a creative escape. Frank Mercurio talks to three Chicago nonprofits making a difference. 

While we are most often focused on art at CGN, we of course are aware that there are other events happening the world. Arist Tony Fitzpatrick candidly shares his (strong) opinions about artists’ reponses to current events as well as the art fair market and celebrities. 

A new year can bring a singular freshness to discover, no matter what your age, and even when we feel as if we can’t bear to go outdoors. Out there is undoubtedly something to explore and delight us, just as if we’ve never seen it before. You might just be impressed. 

Happy new year!