Project Onward…Project Ornaments

WHO?:  PROJECT ONWARD, a group of talented artists on-site in an open studio, creating original artwork on ornaments.



WHEN?:   There until December 19, 2009 but year-round for general artwork

All-season artwork

WHERE?: The Chicago Cultural Center – 1st floor, phone (312) 742-1445

WHY?:  Beauty, special, Christmas, unique!

I picked up my ornaments and was fortunate enough to meet one of the artists: Fernando Ramirez:

Fernando and his hand-painted ornaments

Fernando told me that he can even “paint to order.”  (Time permitting, of course, as the studio closes December 19 so if you want him to do a custom piece for Christmas, I’d contact him Monday!)  I asked him if he could even do a portrait on an ornament and he said that he could! Otherwise, regular portraits are available by Fernando (as well as the other artists, based on availability):

And yes, only $5.00 on paper (on the ornament is additional.)

Back to the ornaments though…Fernando’s had caught my eye because he was painting nudes. There’s a long story behind this for me, but suffice to say that someone was encouraging me to pose nude for artists this past year!  I appreciate the human body, the study of it and artistic development, but I’m a bit shy for this kind of gig!  Anyway, I thought it would tickle this person if I got him a nude  on an ornament.  I thought Fernando’s work was impressive:

And, he has a sense of humor, for on the other side:

I purchased six ornaments in all, by a variety of artists:

Here are the close-ups:

According to Rob Lentz, Program Director, these creatures are the artist’s “protectors”…Mr. Lentz couldn’t recall the name of the lion but the hawk is Hank:

I like having protectors around 🙂

Here’s one by Winnie:

Here’s another ornament, not sure of the artist as it wasn’t indicated:

(Gee, I mean, that’s just one ornament!)

And if you’re waxing more traditional:

The candy-cane artist is “J.H.”  I’m thinking it’s James Hall (as he’s the only J.H. from the website, but I shall find out for certain!)

And we round out the group with a trip back to Fernando:

The ornaments I purchased ranged in price from $5 to $25.  Does anyone else think this is a tremendous amount of talent and value for such beautiful work!?

Remember, even if you miss out on holiday art, there’s the all-season artwork and I did see MANY works in progress!

General artwork

All-season artwork

There’s one artist, James Allen, who specializes in trains (I really like trains).  I believe the kitties above were done by George Zuniga.  Here again is the main link because you can click on artist’s names on the page.

In summary:

“The mission of Project Onward is to support the creative growth of visual artists with mental and developmental disabilities.  Project Onward provides studio space, art supplies, and professional guidance to emerging artists in a communal workshop environment…”

Excerpt from “Mission” on pamphlet

“Project Onward” Tree, studio at Chicago Cultural Center

Share the beauty!



Filed under Chicago, Christmas, Christmas trees

3 responses to “Project Onward…Project Ornaments

  1. That is really interesting art, how did you discover Project Onward?

  2. Project Onward seems to be a great way to showcase local artistic talent – and what a unique way to do that within the confines of ornaments. The range from traditional to “outside the box” makes for a spectacular display. Thanks for sharing.

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