Johalla Projects is an exhibition space and collective in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago founded and run by Anna Cerniglia. The gallery is geared toward promoting and exhibiting emerging and mid-career artists, as well as facilitating collaborative public art projects around the city. Johalla is run as a collective space; while Cerniglia is the owner/manager, she invites guest curators to suggest and organize exhibitions, and works cooperatively with other organizations and exhibition spaces around the city to stage public art and large-scale art installations.
Anna Cerniglia is herself a visual artist, with a background in photography. After working for years as a curatorial assistant for galleries in Italy and coordinating art fair exhibitions, Cerniglia moved to Chicago to found South Union Arts, a music and performing arts venue. After its closing, she decided to focus on her curatorial practice and established Johalla Projects in 2009.
Johalla’s exhibitions are varied and ambitious. The space offers solo shows for emerging artists, as well as group shows. Though the gallery does not offer artist representation, Johalla works closely with a core roster of several artists, who each show a new body of work once per year. During the rest of the year, Johalla Projects exhibits work from artists working in all media.
Most recently, Cerniglia has partnered with the CTA to install art in transit stops around Chicago. So far this project includes an in-progress mural at the Logan Square blue line stop, prints by Ryan Duggan at the California blue line stop, and photographs by Ian Whitmore at the Damen blue line stop. Johalla curates these public spaces in cooperation with the City of Chicago, while continuing to exhibit work in their gallery space. Johalla Projects current gallery exhibition Nowhere features the work of artist Ian Whitmore.