1224 W Loyola Ave is a storefront project space for exhibitions and events in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Roman Susan encourages and accepts artist proposals for new projects at this space. 160 artist-led projects have taken place at this location from November 2012 through June 2024.

1224 W Loyola Ave has three descending stairs to a recessed floor; regrettably, the interior of the exhibition space is not wheelchair accessible. The public washroom is a very confined space, up two stairs from the exhibition floor. If these factors or others present a barrier for your visit, please write to art@romansusan.org or leave a voicemail at (773) 270-1224 in advance for alternate arrangements. Roman Susan at 1224 W Loyola Ave is located 85 meters northwest of the Loyola CTA Station, with direct access for public transit via the Red Line train and the 147 bus line. A Divvy bike-share hub is located at the west exit of the CTA. There is on-street parking on W Loyola Ave, and a paid parking garage at 1210 W Arthur Ave immediately to the south. For all projects at 1224 W Loyola Ave, open hours are scheduled in advanced, and available at other times by appointment. All projects are visible from the sidewalk immediately outside the space 24/7.

Go forth and set the world on fire*
1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago IL
July 19, 2024 - August 18, 2024 + August 19, 2025 - September 30, 2025

Opening Friday, July 19 at 6 PM

Work by Matt Bodett, Maddie Brucker, Shir Ende, cean gamalinda, laaura goldstein, José Santiago Pérez, Aram Han Sifuentes, Gina Hunt, Michael James, Betsy Odom, AJ (Quing of Arts Photography), Chris Reeves, Marina Ross, Madhuri Shukla, Rafael Vera, Edgewater Environmental Coalition, and Sonya Bogdanova with Mark Boldizsar, Salome Chasnoff, Alexis Clodfelter, Ashley Clodfelter, Elisa Corena, Erika Diaz, Spencer Grogan, Heather Higgins, Aruna and Tejaswini Mendon, Lauren Paz, Mark Salvati, Joe Steppan, Daniel Tseng, James Yearnd, and others.

This is a project in two parts. Let’s celebrate this place – and imagine what our future could be. . . . Summer 2024 features contributions of tenants living at 1234 W Loyola Ave and individuals who have shared their work with Loyola University as artists, activists, and teachers. After concluding on August 18, Go forth and set the world on fire* will resume a year later, with works, performances, offerings, and gestures from community members.   

grown and found potluck on Wednesday, July 31 at 6 PM

the tower
readings by cean gamalinda and laaura goldstein on Thursday, August 1 at 6 PM

The first image above is Visualizing Creative Reuse for Loyola University, 1226-1234 W Loyola Ave, created by Roman Susan founder Kristin Abhalter with rendering through SketchUp Diffusion. The second image is a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, Vol. 40, 1937 – accessed from Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, Sanborn Maps Collection. The third image (below) is from the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society – Mundelein College construction at 1020 W Sheridan Road (1929) – M068-0103. Photo donated to the Historical Society by Mundelein College (Loyola University Chicago). The image on the homepage was created by Madhuri Shukla, one of the founding directors of Roman Susan Art Foundation.

This project and tenants of 1234 W Loyola Ave have received vital support from the Crossroads Fund's Critical Response Fund grant.

In 2023-24, Roman Susan is supported in part by federal assistance listing number 21.027 awarded to Roman Susan Art Foundation NFP by the US Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds in the amount of $50,000, representing 17.5% of total project funding.

Open Letter to Loyola University of Chicago

Related Media

Experimental art space faces uncertain future after building bought by Loyola University | WBEZ – January 25, 2024

Loyola Buys Local Property, Displacing Residents and Local Businesses | Loyola Phoenix – January 31, 2024

Dear Loyola: Foster Community, Don’t Demolish It | Loyola Phoenix – February 7, 2024

‘We’re happy to be neighbors’: The Storefronts of 1226-1234 W. Loyola Ave. | Loyola Phoenix – February 7, 2024

Kristin + Nathan Abhalter Smith with Michael James | Live from the Heartland – February 9, 2024

Community Engagement | 49th Ward Update – February 10, 2024

Rogers Park Neighbors To Loyola: Don’t Demolish Building With Local Shops, Longtime Residents | Block Club Chicago – February 19, 2024

Alderwoman Maria Hadden Shows Support for West Loyola Avenue Tenants | Loyola Phoenix – February 28, 2024

State Senator Mike Simmons Shares Support for West Loyola Avenue Businesses and Residents | Loyola Phoenix – March 13, 2024

THREATENED: Loyola University Plans Demolition of 1234 W. Loyola Ave. for Vacant Lot | Preservation Chicago – March 31, 2024

Mission: demolition? | Chicago Reader – April 15, 2024

Roman Susan: A Neighborhod Beacon | Reva & David Logan Foundation – April 29, 2024

We would like to thank Eric Newman Law Office for pro-bono representation and advocacy related to our efforts for romansusan.org/1234.

*Go forth and set the world on fire is a translation of Ite, inflammate omnia – a call to action historically attributed to Ignatius of Loyola.

Bimbola Akinbola
Grief Island

1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago IL
June 9, 2024 - July 7, 2024

Open Hours Tuesdays and Wednesdays 4-7 PM
by appointment and announcement 

On Grief Island, you wait.

On Grief Island, nothing exists but your breaking heart.

On Grief Island, time stops and gives into the ebbs and flows of tears, sleep, functional freeze, and occasionally, something like normalcy.

On Grief Island, everything is OK and nothing is OK.

On Grief Island, the sun keeps you warm even though you can’t see it.

On Grief Island, you are always welcome.

With a somber beach scene at its center, Grief Island reimagines and makes tangible the isolation and self-indulgence that arrives in the aftermath of crushing loss.

At the start of 2020, Akinbola began turning her gouache paintings, inspired by family photographs, into weavings. These works seek to expand the affective possibilities of what photographs communicate. In Grief Island, Akinbola expands this body of work, experimenting with the forms of sculpture and installation by attaching woven portraits on canvas to collapsible beach chair frames, which sit on 400 pounds of sand in the middle of the storefront. The inclusion of sentimental items such as a red Coleman cooler from her youth and crushed cans of “Grief Tonic” further contribute to the transformation of the space into a site of grieving and remembering. 

Bimbola Akinbola is an artist, performer, and educator currently based in Chicago. Working at the intersection of theory, performance, and visual art, her scholarly and artistic work is concerned with the complicated and nagging nature of belonging, queerness, and the concept of family. Incorporating a variety of practices ranging from painting, weaving and collage, to durational line dancing, her work explores mark-making and performance as modes of organization, remembrance, and repair.

Bimbola Akinbola’s Postcards From Grief Island | Hyperallergic - July 3, 2024

Sandra Binion
Figure, Painting
1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago IL
May 18, 2024 

Re-enactment at 4 PM with performer Tara Aisha Willis and cornetist Ben Lamar Gay

Figure, Painting took place in 1983 at The Storefront in San Francisco and at The Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City with cornetist Lawrence "Butch" Morris. Seated in the window, the artist followed a script and painted herself with wide brushes in colors inspired by the early 1920’s Fauvist palette of expressionist Alexej Jawlensky (1864–1941): red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. In a choreography of stylized gestures, she applied each color to her body, which was then contrasted, complemented, or obliterated by the next.

The “figure” in Figure, Painting became the painter as well as the painting.
     ––Sandra Binion

This event is one of a series of re-enactments as a part of Sandra Binion: Autobiography of Looking at Experimental Sound Studio from April 12 to June 9, 2024. The image above is documentation of Sandra Binion performing "Figure, Painting," at The Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City with cornetist, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, 1983. Photo credit Toyo Tsuchiya.

No Dust to Shake Off | Chicago Reader – May 13, 2024

Full Court Press: Citywide Retrospective of Sandra Binion | Newcity – May 14, 2024

Chicago Must See | ARTFORUM - May 16, 2024

Madeleine Aguilar
yard model
1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago IL
May 11, 2024 - May 25, 2024

Opening Saturday, May 11 at 4 PM

yard model is a modular, multi-functional platform outside of the street facing windows of ROMAN SUSAN. The platform will be a site of activation, collaboration, and play throughout the duration of this exhibition. It will be host to a series of performances and workshops, while also serving as a space for the passerby to sit, loiter, and rest. The platform will consist of modular sections that can be rearranged to suit the needs of its user(s). A series of interactive and performative sculptures will be on view inside of the gallery as well as a public library presenting collaborative book projects produced by bench press.

Saturday, May 11 at 4 PM
Leana E Allen, Jordan Knecht, Veronica Anne Salinas, and Madeleine Aguilar
bex ya yolk

Saturday, May 25 at 4 PM
Elizabeth Flood
Mauricio López

Madeleine Aguilar tells stories, builds archives, maps spaces, constructs furniture, records histories, organizes data, catalogs objects, prints publications, creates frameworks, collects imagery, acquires trades, ties knots, re-purposes materials, imitates structures, utilizes chance, plays instruments, follows intuition, prompts participation, guides observation, leaves evidence, develops routines, takes walks, breaks habits, and makes lists. Using the archive as form, she acknowledges the passing of time by cataloging lived spaces, collected objects, familial histories, personal relationships, natural phenomena, mundane routines, and ephemeral moments. She runs bench press, a collaborative Risograph press based in Chicago, and currently manages the Print Lab in the School of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. More information and work at madeleineaguilar.com.

Chicago Must See | ARTFORUM - May 9, 2024