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Why was Gertie in Miami?


I don’t know about you, but I am EXHAUSTED. I'm writing to you from Chicago, where I am (still) recovering from an action-packed Miami Art Week.

Earlier this year (in addition to Gertie), I teamed up with Zoe Lukov — an amazing curator and human being — to launch a not-for-profit organization called Art in Common. Art in Common exists to create new experiences of contemporary art for the broadest-possible audience outside of traditional art-viewing spaces.

We started the organization on the heels of Skin in The Game, a successful show we brought from Miami to Chicago last winter.

Why am I talking about non-Gertie things in Gertie?

When Skin in the Game opened in Chicago last April, I had recently returned to my hometown, and was constantly hearing that the city was segregated and siloed and too deeply entrenched to change. Skin in the Game proved these ideas wrong: at our opening, 750 people showed up from ALL corners of the city.

How did we make this happen? It wasn’t the work of a PR company or a publicist. Instead, we got influential people within hyper-local communities to post about the show to THEIR communities, and then people ended up making connections and realizing they already knew each other. This is where the idea for (A)Part really started. How could we capture that feeling of connection in a book?

Bringing it back to Miami Art Week: Zoe and I just produced our second show together. It’s called Boil, Toil & Trouble, and it’s about water (and all its complexities). Here we are — eight months after Skin in the Game Chicago and almost three months after launching (A)Part Chicago — and 15 Chicagoans in four discrete friend groups showed up at Boil, Toil & Trouble Miami at the same time. Some had met before Gertie existed, but others met through our programming this fall. (They also did an excellent job of inviting newcomers into our Gertie community 😊) And each of those 15 Chicagoans — who traveled to Miami for art, culture, and chaotic parties (lol) — couldn’t wait to return to the cold and hang out here after the holidays.

We just needed to create the spaces for these connections to happen.

Cormac Steinbock, Elias Ortega, Lucca Colombelli, Katheleen Trujillo, Devin Soule, Priya Shah, Ashton Haidari,  Meagan A. Culberso

Armani Howard (top image), Ricardo Partida (left image), and Nereida Patricia (right image) are some of the exciting Chicago artists that were included in Boil, Toil & Trouble. Work by from Juan Palacios was shown at the Untitled Art Fair.

We also got to say hi to our good friend and (A)Part contributor Vincent Uribe at the amazing Arts of Life Booth at NADA Art Fair!

Vincent Uribe

Creating space is hard work, so the Gertie team will be going incognito for most of January and February to scheme and strategize. We are aiming to start our formal membership program in April. If you have specific ideas for things you’d like to see — or places you’d like to use our membership to access — please let us know!

Speaking of space…if you’re a last-minute gift-giver like me, here are some local spaces you should consider supporting this season:

Arts & Public Life - L1

The L1 accelerator program provides both a 10-month fellowship and 700 square feet of shared brick-and-mortar retail space for the inaugural cohort of three South Side entrepreneurs dedicated to scaling their creative businesses over the next two years.

Peter Gaona of ReformedSchool

Tiffany Joi of Hemp Heals Body Shop

Andrea Polk of Solo Noir and Zen Soul Apothecary

Chicago cultural center/Buddy Chicago

MCA gift shop and bookstore (where you can also find (A)Part!)
Women and Children’s First  (where you can also find (A)Part!)

OR if you just want to get straight to it and buy a bunch of (A)Part Chicago books as stuffing stockers…

Happy winter to you and yours!

Xx Abby


Team Gertie ( Vic Winter, Abby Pucker, Meagan A. Culberson)  +  Artist Loni Johnson

Team Gertie traveled to Miami for the opening of Boil Toil & Trouble — we created some fun memories!