Artists take flight at The Ren in Chicago
Board member Jeffrey Hammes with wife and former gala chairwoman Linda Warren, of Glencoe. | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago
5811 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago.
(773) 702-8670, renaissancesociety.org
Updated: November 19, 2012 1:32AM
The event: “It’s been a great, great life,” said Susanne Ghez of her 40-year tenure as director of The Renaissance Society, an internationally-renowned, non-collecting museum of contemporary art located on the campus of the University of Chicago.
Ghez celebrated her retirement on Sept. 8 along with 340 guests, who all came to toast the end of an era at The Renaissance Society Benefit Gala 2012 held inside the Aqua Hotel, Chicago.
Since its founding in 1915, the mission of The Renaissance Society has been to advance the growth and understanding of today’s artistic ideas and expressions. All its programs are admission-free and open to the public.
Cause célèbre: “The Renaissance Society has been one of the most important organizations for cementing Chicago’s place globally as a center for contemporary art,” said Michelle T. Boone, commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Despite this endorsement, board president Greg Cameron admitted that the museum is better known internationally than locally. “It’s a great little space tucked away down at the University of Chicago, so people maybe have to work to find us but once they get there, they’re certain to look at things differently,” said Cameron.
The Ren’s strength, according to 13-year board member John McCarthy, lies in its programming. “It’s an important stepping stone in many artists’ careers to exhibit at The Ren. We give them a great platform and I’m very proud to be a part of it,” he said.
She would not be the artist that she is today without The Ren, said Northwestern University professor Judy Ledgerwood. “The Renaissance Society gives you an opportunity to realize your vision completely as you see it with no interference and complete institutional support; that’s rare.”
Bottom line: The event raised $677,435 for The Renaissance Society.