The pandemic has undoubtedly changed society’s needs and sensibilities, driving us to require greater and more thoughtful manifestations of health and wellness in our daily lives — one being art. Gallery Guichard, One Two Pru’s debut Lobby curator, is a leading gallery in Chicago that’s grown to champion wellness through art in a post-COVID world. From their Bronzeville outpost, and now at One Two Pru, Gallery Guichard is sharing the healing powers of vibrant, multicultural works in a time when we need it most.
Gallery Guichard opened its doors in 2005 and has since been granting a platform of expression to emerging Diasporic artists since. When describing the gallery, co-owner Andre Guichard noted how the energy of the art changes the air of the space. Those who frequent Gallery Guichard often come to get away and immerse themselves in thought-provoking pieces.
Fellow co-owner and wife Frances Guichard adds, “I had a collector who told me that she was having a terrible week, and Gallery Guichard was her place to come so she could feel really good about what was going on and to be able to see and feel the artwork — and she left with a piece!”
Andre explains that in addition to crafting visual beauty, the role of the artist is to capture the current moment and express emotions that touch and even uplift the viewer. “While our business model used to be more about decoration, through COVID, wellness has become a driving factor for most of our collectors,” Andre shares. And the gallery itself functions as a wellness space of its own — opening to the exterior to appreciate views of the Great Migration sculpture garden next door.
The shift from decoration to wellness in Gallery Guichard’s business model has not caused their mission to change as much as it has created an increased demand for their artists’ works. “Understanding the relationship between living with art and enhanced wellness is helping to create an even greater sense of purpose for our artists,” says Andre.
To adapt to a post-pandemic world, the gallery is now offering virtual exhibition catalogs that they will continue to expand. “Demand for art has increased dramatically in COVID — it’s been changing people’s lives. So instead of doing exhibitions every three months or so, we’ve been doing them every month now,” the owners mention. The gallery is also a part of the art district’s virtual trolley tours and is currently in talks with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to digitize their catalogs.
Beyond their own doors, the gallery owners are also working closely with Choose Chicago and the Cultural Affairs Department to “Open the City Through Art.” They have been invited to participate in the Central City Recovery Initiative, and have planned for their collaboration with One Two Pru to be a part of this initiative.
Titled African Diaspora: Chicago, Gallery Guichard’s exhibition at One Two Pru showcases the city’s rich diasporic history. By weaving art into people’s lives by placing it in a location of heavy foot traffic, this exhibition allows prime visibility and accessibility at Chicago’s landmark address. One Two Pru is proud to be a part of Gallery Guichard’s larger mission to further integrate art in the wellness of our everyday lives.