photo: courtesy of queer thoughts

Jack Schneider's Untitled (2013) is available at the QT Auction this Sunday, April 14.

Do you long to own artwork by Michelle Grabner—one of Chicago’s most eminent contemporary artists? Well, you’re in luck! Her paintings frequently turn up in small, silent auctions across the city—sometimes at a nice bargain.

Contemporary art doesn’t have sell for thousands of dollars—in fact, auctions tend to be an excellent way to find good deals. Although auctions make the news for their record sales, there are plenty of benefit auctions (and other entry-level art buying opportunities, detailed below) where you can find deals on artwork by the new wave of Chicago artists. Even better: Proceeds from these fundraisers support some of Chicago’s forward-thinking art venues.

Queer Thoughts: 

This Sunday, April 14 is the benefit auction and party for Queer Thoughts gallery, a newer artist-run venue in Pilsen that’s been hitting the high mark with their monthly exhibitions of local and international artists. This auction offers works from an astounding 70 artists, including a past Whitney Biennial participant and many artists already established in their careers. Preview the auction here. Bid in increments of $10. Proceeds benefit the gallery’s exhibition programming, with DJ music during the reception.

The QT live auction begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, hosted by Peregrine Program, 3311 W. Carroll Ave., #119.


Saturday, April 20 is a benefit auction and party to support Lillstreet, one of Chicago’s best community art centers. This auction has a $25 door fee, and proceeds also support ArtReach, an advocacy group for getting paintbrushes in the hands of developmentally disabled artists.

The Lillstreet auction starts at 7 p.m. at 1912 W. Cermak Rd.

Roots & Culture:

Save the date: May 4 is the fundraiser and party for Roots & Culture. This benefit—the non-profit’s seventh—always features good food and boasts an offering of prestigious artists. Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center. 1034 N. Milwaukee Ave.