Special Exhibits

Main Gallery



Exhibit Opens, Friday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m.
Exhibit Closes, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, 4 p.m.

One of the most remarkable examples of Scandinavian folk art is the painted picture indigenous to the Swedish peasant home. The commonly used name for these peasant paintings is bonader, and their provenance was to decorate the walls and ceilings of the homes at Christmas time and on feast days, thus adding a note of color and gaiety to the otherwise dark interiors.


Natural Scenics by Jack Carlson

Exhibit Opens, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 10 a.m.
Exhibit Opening, Friday, Jan. 24, 6 p.m.
Exhibit Closes, Sunday, March 1, 4 p.m.

Photographer Jack Carlson teaches at the Chicago Botanic Garden where he has been on the instructional staff since 2009. A classically trained musician, Jack didn’t actually enter the visual arts until adulthood. He bought his first camera in 1977 in preparation for a European trip.  There had to be a way, he believed, to capture not just the sights of the trip but also the feelings and experience of the sights.  In Jack’s work, mood is superimposed on image.  His photographs are metaphors. As a nature photographer, it is important, he believes, to carefully capture a photographic image rather than take numerous pictures that are later manipulated technologically.

Jack’s exhibit “Natural Scenics” are from his travels around this country, throughout the world and his own yard. Jack believes that nature speaks for itself. A nature photographer’s obligation is to listen, respect, and respond to that voice.

Jack’s grandmother, Ellen Pearson, was born in Västergötland, Sweden. Hearing that opportunities were vast and farm land was both cheap and plentiful, his great-grandfather made the decision to come to the United States.  The family immigrated to the United States before the turn-of-the-century, settling in Creston, Iowa. The ship on which they traveled allowed only one small piece of luggage per person, and his great-grandfather’s trunk still holds pride-of-place in the living room of his house.

It was in Iowa that Ellen Pearson met John Carlson, a wood-worker from Småland, Sweden and the man who would become her husband. From the late 19th century until sometime in the late 40’s, Rockford, Ill. was known as a furniture and piano manufacturing town so John and Ellen left the other family members and moved there. Rockford is where Jack’s parents met and the town where he grew up. During his time in Rockford, the east side of town was heavily Scandinavian. There were actually three girls in his high school class named Barbara Jean Johnson. Swedish was one of the language choices at Rockford East High School when he was a student.

Raoul Wallenberg Gallery


Lost Houses of Lyndale Street
By Matt Bergstrom

Lost Houses of Lyndale Walking Tour, Friday, Oct. 4, 6 p.m.
Exhibit opens, Saturday, Oct. 5, 11 a.m.
Exhibit closes, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, 4 p.m.

On Lyndale Street, between California and Kedzie, many families are selling their homes to developers building new condominiums. The original houses represented the hard-won rewards of home ownership for generations of working class immigrants who passed their property on to their children or sold to the next wave of immigrants. Lost Houses of Lyndale exhibits the pen-and-ink portraits of these missing houses and share the stories of people who lived in these homes over the past 130 years.

Sponsors of our Special Exhibits: