Scott Speh is owner and director of Western Exhibitions, a contemporary art gallery with spaces in Chicago and Skokie, that shows thought-provoking, and visually innovative artists who work across most media, with an emphasis on personal narratives and cosmologies; LGBTQ and feminist artists and issues; pattern, decoration and surface concerns; works on paper; and artist books. Western Exhibitions was conceived in 2002 as a nomadic commercial gallery, staging shows at apartments, lofts, other galleries and participating in the influential Stray Show. In 2004, director (and ex-artist) Scott Speh first opened a brick-and-mortar space on Chicago’s west side and after 10 years in the West Loop, moved to Chicago’s West Town neighborhood in 2016, along with Document, Volume Gallery and Paris London Hong Kong. In November 2022, the gallery opened a second location, (northern) Western Exhibitions, in the Chicagoland suburb of Skokie. (northern) Western Exhibitions shares a renovated single-floor bow truss building on Skokie’s charming downtown corridor with WHO Modern, a mid-century modern-focused vintage store.


Erin Remington is Manager of Curation and Art Advisory at Saatchi Art. She has a Masters in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism, and a B.S. in Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University. She studied Art and Art History at American University of Paris, and has over a decade of experience in fine arts. Erin is motivated by exceptional art and working with collectors to select pieces that inspire and elevate their spaces. She believes that art has the ability to inform, inspire, educate, and change how we view the world around us.



Since 2009 Alma Wieser has been the director of Heaven Gallery, the oldest art gallery in Wicker Park. Since joining the organization, she has expanded its capacity by introducing an innovative revenue stream in the gallery to sustain programming and reach a wider audience. Most recently, Alma has focused her efforts on Equity Arts, a development project that seeks to create a model for arts & culture preservation in gentrified neighborhoods. This work is an intersection of art, entrepreneurship and real-estate development that sees the power of the creative economy as a social good multiplier.

Heaven Gallery Mission

Heaven Gallery is a multi-disciplinary contemporary arts space in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood that presents emerging artists with the mission to elevate artists and connect Chicago communities. More recently the organization has been moving toward equity and sustainability by paying artists and offering professional development opportunities.  The organization is committed to racial equity work through its policy, which requires the artists presented and board of directors to be a 60% BIPOC majority. The gallery strives to make programming free of charge, and all music events are on a pay-what-you-can basis. In 2010, the organization added a small vintage shop to the gallery, which accounts for more than 70% of its income. Through this innovative retail space the gallery is a model of sustainability in the arts and cultivates space to build community. Art is a backdrop for all the other holistic programming including music, meditations, workshops, and community events to help promote civic engagement.



Francine Almeda is a Chicago-based, Filipina-American independent curator, arts administrator, and gallerist. She is currently the manager of Heaven Gallery and Founder/Director of Jude Gallery, an artist-run project and exhibition space based in Pilsen, Chicago. Her work as a curator and organizer nurtures new methods for collaboration, and participation, and explores methods of art as a care-taking tool. She is committed to creating events and exhibitions that center on community-driven initiatives. Through these interventions, she aims to create space and networks that uplift emerging, BIPOC, and other southeast asian artists.


Siting Wang is an Assistant Curator at Saatchi Art. She has a B.F.A. with an emphasis in Arts Administration from School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.S. in Leadership for Creative Enterprises from Northwestern University. Prior to joining Saatchi Art, Siting had extensive curatorial experiences in galleries and art museums in Chicago and Beijing, including Inside-Out Art Museum and The Research House for Asian Art.

New Futures Selection Committee


Shir Ende is a Chicago- based artist and educator. Through drawing, print, performance, and video, Ende uses a degree of speculative thinking to explore movement within modern space. Ende holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has recently shown work at Adds Donna, Riverside Art Center, Comfort Station, University of Illinois Springfield, Chicago Artist Coalition, Gallery 400 and Hyde Park Art Center.


Max Guy is an artist based in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art. His works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in various galleries and museums, including The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Kranner Museum of Art at University of Illinois, and the Malmo Museum of Art in Sweden. He has been featured in publications such as Art in America, Hyperallergic, and ARTnews.


Ciera Alyse McKissick is an independent writer, curator, cultural producer, and the founder of AMFM, an organization whose mission is to promote emerging artists. She created AMFM, originally a web magazine, as an independent study project in 2009 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied Journalism and Mass Communications. Her work since then often involves collaboration through supporting Black and brown artists, local arts organizations, and seeks to stimulate community engagement that’s driven by inclusivity, accessibility, intention, and care. She is also the Public Programs Manager at the Hyde Park Art Center. 

Projects and events have been featured in Artsy, Terremoto MX, Newcity, Sixty Inches From Center, Saatchi Art, ABC 7 Chicago, The Chicago Tribune, WGN, WTTW, Chicago Reader, The Chicago Sun Times, Southside Weekly, Afropunk, and more.

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Photo Credit: Abel Uribe via Chicago Tribune