Side Street Studio Arts (SSSA), 15 Ziegler Ct. in the heart of downtown Elgin, kicks off 2017 in its visual art gallery Friday, January 13 with LIVE, a solo exhibition by SSSA Director Roberto Martinez. Supported in part by the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, LIVE, showcases Martinez’s documentary photographs of his experiences at local concerts and will feature area musicians practicing and performing in the gallery space. The exhibition runs January 13 through February 5, with an artist receptionFriday, January 13 from 6-9pm. The event is free and open to the public.


Martinez earned an AA in Studio Arts from Elgin Community College and a BFA, with a focus in Photography, from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As a first generation Mexican-American, Martinez’s work is often concerned with the deterioration of his family’s property in their native country. His photography reflects this deterioration and a fascination with the rich history of Elgin and the culture of local music scenes in general. Martinez started as an Artist-Intern with SSSA in 2013 and later became Facilities Assistant prior to becoming Assistant Director in 2014 and a Director in 2016.


There is currently an open call for February’s pop-up exhibition Love Is Love, which is the first of multiple uncurated open-call exhibitions scheduled for 2017 in the gallery. These exhibitions accept all work submitted until the walls are full and allow the gallery to exhibit a variety of non-traditional and up-and-coming artists in the same space as established working professionals. Calls for the year can be found on SSSA’s website under “Calls for Artists”.


Gallery staples returning this year are Unidos III (July), Re:PopV (August), and Something Wicked (October). New this year is the 7thannual Going Dutch Festival. Going Dutch, moving to downtown Elgin from Chicago in 2017, is a celebration of the female voice in dance, music, theater, and the visual arts and annually showcases over 300 artists in works created by self-identified female artists. SSSA takes over production of Going Dutch this year and looks forward to adding a young artist component as well as supporting the commission of works from Illinois-based artists to be premiered at the 2017 festival.


SSSA was founded by Tanner Melvin and Erin Rehberg in 2013 as an outlet for the Elgin arts scene.  Currently under the direction of Amanda Harris, Martinez, Melvin, and Rehberg, Side Street provides educational and creative resources and an accessible space, run by artists.  Side Street’s mission is to support the artist and artistic journey through collaboration.


SSSA Winter Gallery Hours (through February:

Thursday and FridayNoon to 6pm

Saturday 10am to 6pm

Sunday 11am to 3pm

or by appointment


*Full Calendar of Visual Art Events:

January 13- February 5 LIVE

February 10-12 Love Is Love

February 17-26 S.T.E.A.M. Art – sculptures and 2D art by Chuck Pheatt and Lynn Torbeck

March 3-12 Four for Four – a celebration of four years of SSSA featuring a variety of area artists

March 17-April 2 Collections – a month-long showcase of things gathered

April 7-30 EXCHANGE – exchanging the work of 2 groups of artists representing 2 different locations in the U.S.

May 5-14 Monster Mash-Up  – 5th year anniversary celebrating all things horror

May 19-28 SSSA Spring Artist-Intern Exhibition

June 2-25 Father – visual art exhibition celebrating Father’s Day

June 30 – July 30 Unidos III

August 4-13 Re:POP V

August 18-27 SSSA Summer Artist-Intern Exhibition

September 8-17 Elgin Fringe Festival Pop-Up Gallery

October 6-29 Something Wicked

November 11-26 INSTALL

November 18-27 SSSA Artist Member Exhibition

December 1-17 Krampuslauf – Elgin, IL

*additional exhibitions to be included, schedule subject to change

Media Contact:
Elgin Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
77 Riverside Drive, Elgin, IL 60120
(800) 217-5362 or (847) 695-7540