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Mana Contemporary expands to Chicago
Ray Smith, Guernimex III (La Olympiada), 1989-90, oil on wood, 108 x 252 in. Collection of Franceso Pellizzi, New York.

CHICAGO, IL.- Jersey City's Mana Contemporary, one of the largest art centers in the United States, is expanding to Chicago with a 300,000-square-foot facility that will be the center of a growing and vibrant arts culture in Pilsen. Located in a landmark building at 2233 S. Throop Street, Mana Contemporary Chicago has already leased its first floor of artists' studios and is now home to 20 established and emerging artists.

Mana Contemporary Chicago will open its first major exhibition space with a free public event on September 22, 2013 from 1-5 PM to coincide with EXPO Chicago and Fountain Art Fair. The first exhibition in a 2,000-square-foot gallery will feature works by renowned painter and sculptor Ray Smith.

Mana Contemporary Chicago will soon include three galleries, 70 additional studios, a library featuring art books donated by the family of gallerist Donald Young, a multipurpose classroom sponsored by the University of Illinois Chicago, a 3-D print shop, and a 2,000-square-foot restaurant and culinary arts center led by chef Eric May.

The mission of Mana Contemporary is simple: bring artists together, provide them the space and resources to produce new work, and welcome the public to participate in the creative process. Mana Contemporary's facilities are free and open to everyone. The center's integrated design allows artists to work independently as well as in concert with other practitioners across various disciplines. Visitors witness the daily hum of art in action, observe craft and methods, and are left feeling inspired and included in the creative community.

"Most people only see artwork when it's finished," said Eugene Lemay, founder of Mana Contemporary. "But we want everyone to interact with our artists, impact the projects, and make them stronger."

Mana Contemporary is known internationally by collectors, museums, galleries, and institutions for its world-class art storage facilities, as well as its framing and crating services. As Mana Contemporary Chicago develops, it will incorporate these services in addition to expanding its existing studio spaces.

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