The Franklin Collection

74 3Arts supporters
$6,242 raised of $5,000 goal
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Funded on November 18, 2018
    • 125% contributed

Five years ago, I co-created The Franklin artist-run project space with my husband in the backyard of our home in Garfield Park. Since then, more than 100 artists have presented site-specific works for the visiting public. Perhaps lesser known to the public, inside the house we also hold The Franklin Collection, a “private gone public” initiative that gathers over 200+ works of art made by local, national, and international artists. This art collection is accessible to the public during The Franklin openings, open hours, and by appointment. In addition to the audience for the outdoor exhibitions, many teachers and students visit The Franklin Collection for research purposes. After more than a decade in Chicago collecting art from non-profit organizations, through trades with other artists, and sometimes by acquiring directly through commercial galleries or art fairs, The Franklin Collection has grown considerably. More recently, artists who participate in our events offer their work as a gift because they want to be part of the collection. With this crowdfunding campaign, we want to create an official archive of the collection in order to make it easier to research and to increase the visibility of artists included in it. Funds will support hiring a curator to help us manage this effort, as well as photo documentation of the collection, some additional framing where needed, and the creation of two publications, including a take-away that will provide information about The Franklin’s philosophy and a more substantial publication that documents the history of The Franklin and the Collection.

About This Project

I consider The Franklin Collection an indispensable component that complements the mission of our project space. An art collection educates and gives visibility to artists. Making a once-private collection now public underlies our mission and further supports our local artist community. Archiving will allow us to preserve an important piece of Chicago’s history and its artist-run communities. This collection holds a generous representation of Chicago’s emerging, mid-career, and established artists, in addition to works created by national and international artists. Having the collection visible, but also catalogued, documented, and easily referenced by the visiting public allows us to share and illuminate information about the artists collected.

Both of these entities are the product of my relationship with the various artist-run communities in Chicago. Besides our goals of archiving The Franklin Collection, we would like to acknowledge the artist-run projects that inspired the creation of The Franklin and include a comprehensive list of current artist-run spaces in Chicago, crediting past and present communities that, like us, believe in the power of visibility. Illinois has over 50 colleges and universities that offer art education degrees. Many of the artists who join these programs end up moving to or staying in Chicago, looking to develop their artistic careers. This is a reality that makes artist-run spaces an important part of our culture. Artist-run spaces offer a forum for artists to work and develop their practice as well as community support and visibility. Through my experience working with the artist-run communities, I obtained my first solo exhibition at a museum. This experience taught me about the value of visibility.

We plan to hire Cecilia Vargas, curator at the Waubonsee Community College, as our master archivist for this project. Cecilia is passionate about curating, learning, and archiving projects. She has been a loyal community member to The Franklin since we opened our doors back in 2012. We are also excited to be working with past curators at The Franklin, including Kristin Korolowicz, Teresa Silva, and Kendra Paitz, as writing contributors for our future publication.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    Digital thank you: a permanent feature of your name on our upcoming website ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Above, plus a limited edition thank you card featuring work by Edra Soto ($20.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $45
    Above, plus a limited edition canvas bag made by Edra Soto ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $125
    Coffee or tea chat, private tour of The Franklin Collection, a limited edition Thank You card featuring work by Edra Soto, and permanent name recognition on our website ($105.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above, plus BBQ Dinner at The Franklin ($460.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $750
    All of the above! ($710.00 is tax deductible.)

Edra Soto

Make a Wave Artist

Edra Soto is a Puerto-Rican born artist, curator, educator, and co-director of the outdoor project space, The Franklin. Soto instigates meaningful, relevant, and often difficult conversations surrounding socioeconomic and cultural oppression, erasure of history, and loss of cultural knowledge. Growing …

View Edra Soto's profile
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    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • NancyLu Rosenheim

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make it work


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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council