Calles y Sueños started with the vision of one man known only as Jose David to provide an alternative space for artist that have been marginalized from the main stream art scene. These artist have been marginalized due to the fact that they are not simply creating art for the sake of creating something of beauty to be gawked at. These artists passionately work with the purpose of creating awareness to the viewer regarding the social or political events that are occurring around them.
Calles y Sueños is currently celebrating their 2nd/20th anniversary. They were founded 20 years ago left Chicago for 10 years to found a similar space in Oaxaca, Mexico, often having collaborating artist come from Mexico as a cultural exchange and although their physical space was gone for 10 years. They wanted people in the community to know that although someone takes away something physical from you always have other options. They did exactly this through collaborations with community members in gardens around the community or working with other empty spaces to help marginalized artist get their message across.
Calles y Sueños maintains their space open because of a group of seriously hard-working individuals that take the term people over profit very seriously, they are establishing a community kitchen, guide the children in the area in various art activities and offer artist a space to create art and create controversy.
If Pilsen’s history is an oral one that is passed on from generation to generation then Cristina Obregon heard it first hand from the man who formed part of creating that history. Cristina has had Jose David as mentor since the age of 19. With a full time job she still manages to dedicate her time, money and energy to see this space open, with no financial backing from government programs this truly is a grass roots operation worth stopping by whether it be during Pilsen Open studios or during one of their weekly events.
During Pilsen Open Studios the mysterious Sharpie King will have some work on display, and it’s amazing what some sharpies and major talent can create. Although i didn’t get to meet the sharpie king in person during my visit I of course did open some drawers to satisfy my curiosity as to the identity of this artist. So go ahead peek at the pictures of his desk I’ll be your look out!
Calles y Sueños is located at 1900 South Carpenter in Chicago. Check them out on Facebook for updates on their events at Calles y Sueños-Chicago.