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J-Walking at the Polish Museum of America

June 12, 2007

Group Show of Emerging Chicago Artists showing in an established, traditional institution The Polish Museum of America, located at 984 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, opened its doors to the visiting public seventy years ago.

At the time, it was the center of a bustling, ethnically Polish neighborhood and community. Seventy years later, the PMA now finds itself in neighborhood that has seen many changes and one that is changing still today. The West Town/Wicker Park area which the
Polish Museum of America calls home, is one of the City of Chicago's most well known areas - a veritable hot spot of urban culture; a
blossoming arts community; a growing neighborhood influenced equally as much by the traditional old world values of its original settlers as by the values of the young urban artists and professional being drawn to the neighborhood today.

The exhibition at the Polish Museum of America features local artists that are working in the Chicago urban environment and are addressing issues of cultural identity and history, both personal and public. The show focuses on artists that are crossing boundaries in their chosen media by re-determining preconceived notions of culturally established ideas and norms. The idea of the show is to bring young artists working with new ideas and mediums into a traditional institution whose goal is to preserve a particular culture in an effort to broaden the audience of the participating artists as well as the museum.

Essentially, J-Walking is a group show that focuses on the relationship between personal identity and community. Boundaries make
a neighborhood while people make a community. By drawing similarities between old and new, traditional and modern, the exhibit will demonstrate that we are as different as we are alike, and that both our similarities and differences should be equally celebrated. This is the first time in the history of the museum that an exhibit subject has strayed from the PMA's mission of "preserving the artistic,
cultural, historic and literary heritage of Poles in America and throughout the world". Long considered the "Treasure of Polonia", in
hosting the exhibition and opening its doors to young emerging artists, The Polish Museum of America hopes to be considered a
treasure of its local community as well.

The exhibit, curated by Scott Ashley and Jenny Crissey, will be on display at the Polish Museum of America from June 16 - August 27,
2007. The exhibit opening will take place on Saturday, June 16 th from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Contact: Jenny Crissey – 773.782.2605
jennifer.crissey@prcua.org