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HomeBehind the Wall Exhibition


Oak Park Art League’s (OPAL) Art for Social Change programs and exhibitions present topics that bring attention to both global and local concerns through the universal language of art.  In conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness month and Illinois Arts & Humanities month in October, OPAL partners with Sarah’s Inn for an exhibition that elevates awareness to issues surrounding domestic violence.


ART FOR SOCIAL CHANGE: Behind the Wall calls on artists from across Chicagoland to submit artwork for a juried exhibition that raises awareness to journeys of conflict, pain, empowerment and peace. The working title Behind the Wall, references the isolation and suffering that victims of domestic violence experience in their private lives, as well as the healing gained in the recovery process that brings the work to the walls of the Oak Park Art League’s historic Carriage House Gallery.

This exhibition will be presented as a collective passage from conflict to recovery. Works will be selected by the juror, Charles Gniech, that best convey themes of emotion - both conceptual and literal interpretations - including: conflict, pain, trauma, loss, isolation, entrapment, empowerment, resolution, hope, healing and peace.

A large audience is anticipated for this exhibition, as the Oak Park Art League  is a confirmed site among 200 others participating in this year's OPEN HOUSE CHICAGO, Oct 15 & 16. We anticipate 1,000+ new visitors per day will come through the gallery and view this exhibit!


Juror: Charles Gniech holds a MFA and a BFA from Northern Illinois University. He has taught at various universities for more than twenty-five years, including The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, where he also served as Curator of Gallery 180 and the Collections Curator for the Institute’s Corporate Fine Art Collection. Gniech’s traveling exhibition, Breaking Criminal Traditions, utilizes nonthreatening art objects that raise awareness to human rights issues to promote social change. He has participated in multiple panel discussions on human rights topics and presented Change Artists-Using the Arts to Leverage Change at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, 60th Session.


Sarah’s Inn services and initiatives focus on ending relationship violence through domestic violence crisis intervention, community education, and violence prevention programs for youth. Sarah’s Inn works throughout the socioeconomically diverse region of Chicago’s West Side neighborhoods and Western suburbs.


Founded in 1921, the Oak Park Art League is one of Illinois’ longest, continually-running non-profit visual arts organizations, serving Chicago’s western suburbs as an exhibition site for artists and a center for high quality art education. 

ART FOR SOCIAL CHANGE programs and exhibitions are sponsored in part by the Rotary of Oak Park/River Forest, Illinois Humanities, Oak Park Area Arts Council, Riveredge Hospital and the Illinois Arts Council; a State Agency.


October 14, 7-9 p.m.
Behind the Wall Juried Exhibition opening reception in the OPAL Gallery. In
partnership with Sarah’s Inn, raises awareness to issues surrounding domestic violence.
Exhibit runs through November 4; curated by Charles Gniech.

October 14 - November 4
Cairn & Cloud: Collective Expression of Trauma and Hope clay sculpture installation
that brings the light of compassion to the darkness of loss.

October 14 - November 20
Over the Wall courtyard sculpture exhibition in partnership with Thresholds to support
recovery for individuals living with mental health challenges; curated by Kathy Osler.