New Andersonville community art space promotes positivity

Stephanie Preston and Jean Cate hope to open Vignette Vignette, a community art space coming to the Andersonville and Edgewater neighborhoods, in June. When the space opens, Preston and Cate, along with other local artists, will lead monthlong and one-night workshops and summer camps for children.

Two enthusiastic former art students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago hope to open a brand new community art space in June. 

Vignette Vignette is a community art space coming to the Andersonville and Edgewater communities that was founded by Jean Cate and Stephanie Preston can raise the cash. 

Preston, an Ohio-native and a Fine Art graduate of SAIC, said she was inspired to create the  space two years ago. After spending the summer making ceramic sculptures at her mother’s home, she fell in love with the idea of being able to make art all the time. Preston said she felt so passionate about her idea that she wanted to get the Andersonville and Edgewater communities involved, which is when Cate was brought in as her business partner.

“[The idea for] Vignette Vignette started as a maker space in a storefront, and it would be artists coming in and people would just get to see and interact with the artists while they’re making [their art],” Cate said. “Now, it’s turned into a community art space. Anybody [will be able to] come in for a workshop or class.”

Cate and Preston have lived in Andersonville for a few years and would like Vignette Vignette to become a place for the community to convene and interact without having to go to a bar or a restaurant, Cate said.

“I think [a community art space] is something that I’ve been wanting,” Preston said. “Andersonville doesn’t have a lot of variety. What’s here is wonderful, but we want to give people new options.”

There is currently no space secured for the business, but Preston started a Kickstarter campaign for Vignette Vignette at the beginning of March to raise money for materials and a down payment toward a location. Despite not yet having an actual space, the two hope to open the business early this summer, Preston said.

“I have an aggressive schedule [for Vignette Vignette] that I’m trying to stick to,” Preston said. “We’d like to sign a lease and be in a place by May 1 so that [we] can open June 1. We have a schedule for a summer children’s program that we really want to stick to.”

Also in the works is a series of month-long classes and one-night workshops run by some of their friends and other local artists. Preston said there are five artists who will be running the classes aside from the two founders. One of the artists is Kylie Gava, who met Preston while they were both studying at SAIC. Gava will be leading the kids’ program this summer along with two other teachers and is looking forward to running the kids’ classes, she said in an email.

“Teaching kids keeps me on my toes and generally makes me happy,” Gava said in the email. “I’m also very excited to support my friends and their business and spend time with other artists, not to mention having a space to make my own work.”

Each person Preston and Cate chose to join the Vignette Vignette team is exceptional and emblematic of the ideals they are hoping to encourage in the shop, Preston said.

“We’re interested in this sense of community, helpfulness and kindness,” Preston said. “Everything we do, it’s about having a positive attitude and making a positive impact on every life we touch in the studio.”

Preston and Cate said they agree there is no similar venue to Vignette Vignette in Andersonville or Edgewater. They also said they want to help customers develop a positive attitude toward art and give them a space to create art that they are proud of  in the neighborhoods.

“People get so much anxiety about putting down the wrong mark that they don’t get anywhere with making art,” Preston said. “We’re going to take that fear away from [making art].”

Gava said she used to live in Andersonville and thinks Vignette Vignette will strengthen the positive vibe the neighborhood radiates.

Both Preston and Cate hope to promote positivity through Vignette Vignette and want customers to feel confident in their work when they walk out of the studio, Cate said.

“We’re going to be a positive, safe place to come and make what’s important to you,” Cate said. “It’s a place to let go, goof around and just have a good time while making art they are proud of.”

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