When customers walk into Sacred Art (http://www.sacredartstore.com), they immediately know that they're in Chicago. Sarah Chazin, the proprietor, does support local artists throughout Chicago - they are the suppliers of her store's merchandise. Much of the work on display in the small, cozy Lincoln Square shop celebrates the city, from El stop posters to small pins that allow the wearer to show allegiance to their neighborhood.
Left: Sacred Art is nestled on a busy block of Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. Right: Owner Sarah Chazin shows off the El stop artwork by Citizen Shay (http://citizenshay.com/).
More than 100 artists, most of whom are local, show their handmade art and crafts in the store, which has as its slogan, "Art is not a luxury."
Owner Sarah Chazin opened her shop almost six years ago in part to help her artist friends who didn't have a venue to sell their work. Most galleries, she felt, were intimidating, expensive, and not open to new, emerging talent. "I thought it was crazy you had to be in a fancy gallery or wait for summertime art fairs to be exposed," she says.
Left: Flasks by Lady Rene (http://www.etsy.com/shop/LadyRene) have a funky vintage theme. Right: Posters of Chicago's neighborhoods, made by Studio Chris (http://studiochris.com) hang near the front of the store.
Chazin strives to create a comfortable, relaxed, almost home-y environment where anyone can shop for art. "It's great to walk away with something that may have been made around the corner with love and soul," she says. "And our price points really enable anyone to walk away with something. "
Chazin and curator/buyer Lisa Muscato, who was hired so Chazin can spend more time raising her toddler son, Milo, carefully choose their assortment of artists and crafters. "We really just know it when we see it," Chazin says of the handmade works that make the cut. "Also, the artist has to give us a good vibe, because we are entering into a relationship with this person that requires a lot of trust on both ends."
Left: Chicago neighborhood pins from Spinalfusion http://www.etsy.com/shop/spinalfusion) lets locals be true to their 'hoods. Right: Handpainted banks by Il Mostro (http://www.etsy.com/shop/ilmostro) call to mind familiar cartoon characters.
While Chazin admits that "running a business is not for the weak, especially in a fragile economy," she loves helping customers find a perfect gift for that impossible-to-buy-for person. "It's great to see their face when they realize it is the perfect gift. Or when someone buys their first piece of original artwork ever — that face is also unparallelled."
Chazin and Muscato are currently making plans for the store's sixth anniversary celebration, and look forward to more charitable collaborations in 2012. "We both feel so blessed and want to help others," Chazin says.
Left: Hipster Bingo (http://www.etsy.com/shop/HipsterBingo) provides a convenient tongue-in-cheek checklist to help navigate many of Chicago's neighborhoods. Right: Glass tiles by Kiku Handmade (http://www.kiku-co.com/) come in a rainbow of bright colors.
Sacred Art is located at 4619 Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information or to sign up for the store's email newsletters, visit http://www.sacredartstore.com.