The Chicago Art library is a new social enterprise that enables locals to borrow original fine art from local artists. This model was created by Mike Hampton and Luke Fraiser at the Oakland Art Library. For a little over a year, they have been building a community around art, making art more accessible and empowering artists. The concept was later adopted by Elazar Weiner in Chicago who created the Chicago Art Library.
The idea came to them when they were visiting a local art gallery. The art and photography were beautiful, and the artist was in the gallery during the time we were there. They got to talking to him about the art and he said, "The worst part about a show was having to talk to people he knew weren't going to buy anything." Obviously, this was very off-putting, but it did inspire them. They thought about what it would be like to make a show where there was no pressure to buy and everyone would be invited.
This concept is meant to bring people closer to art and the artists who create it. We are social beings and we crave the need to express ourselves freely with one another. The artwork an artist creates is not just goods- rather it is the window into their soul. It is our hope that this experiment will bring a new level of communal respect to humanity.