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Eight accomplished local artists an d photographers exhibit their widely varied and eclectic images on the wall s throughout Utopic’s 9\,000-sq. ft. space at the integrated studio’s Art Galle ry Night\, Thursday\, Feb. 9.

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All toge ther\, 50 pieces of mostly large canvases have been assembled throughout th e studio.  They range in size from Tracy Ostmann’s massive 6x8-ft. oil on c anvas\, displayed in the digital department\, to her 8x8-inch painting embe llishing a pillar in the reception area. 

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This is the fourth gallery showing since Utopic opened two years in Decembe r\, says assistant producer Donny Smutz (pronounced Smoots)\, a fi ne artist himself\, who curated the current exhibit.

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There is no th eme\, or criteria\, per se\, no specific medium or genre to the artwork Smu tz opts to showcase. “I contact the artists and ask them to select between five and 10 pieces they deem the most representative of their work. This op ens it up for their expressions and gives our Gallery an eclectic feel\,” h e says.

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Smutz invests a considerable amount of time and effort in p eeling back Chicago’s extensive art scene to find artists. “I search throug h galleries\, the Chicago Coalition\, the Fine Arts building\, attend art f airs and pick up business cards.  I check out websites and hear about them through word-of-mouth or referrals\,” he states.

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Prices usually ran ge from $100 to $2\,500\, and five pieces have already been sold in the cur rent Gallery. The artist receives 100% of the proceeds.

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< strong>Smutz himself an abstract artist

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A native of Kansas City\, Smutz is a self-taught abstract painter wh o moved to Nashville in 2006 to become a full-time artist and musician\; he plays bass and guitar.  He worked out of his own studio and was represente d by several national galleries.

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After moving to Chicago early last year\, Smutz and worked in sales for two rep firms.  He joined Utopic last April in business development and recently had “the opportunity to transit ion into the creative direction side of the business\,” he says.

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Un til his arrival\, Utopic partners (editors Jan Maitland\, Tim Kloehn\, VP/digital Shannon Kemp and Antonucci) had held sporadic Art Gallery Nights\, to showc ase its extensive and ever-changing art collection to an appreciative audie nce. Two hundred guests attended the last Gallery Night.

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Being an artist himself\, Smutz was all for curating the Art Gallery “and a nd made it my own project since I got here\,” he notes.  “Most of the artis ts have never been exposed to the advertising world which is very creative in its own right\, and creatives really dig the show.”

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That said\, Smutz is on the lookout for art created by agency people for a future Galle ry Night Exhibit.

DTEND:20120209 DTSTAMP:20140711T165232 DTSTART:20120209 GEO:41.8898402;-87.6269033 LOCATION:Utopic Gallery\,420 N. Wabash Suite 600\nChicago \, IL 60611 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Artists Night\, Chris Colvin\, Amy Huisinga\, k.a. letts\, Karen Mo rgan\, Erin Murphy\, Tracy Ostmann\, Kyle Van Heck\, Ken Wilson UID:220507 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR