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Meet Sara Dulkin of Chicago Truborn in West Town

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Dulkin.

Sara, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Six years ago, I wanted to create a non traditional gallery space which gave a legitimate platform to present street and graffiti art to the public. Beyond my passion for wanting to help artists become successful, it was important to me to create a space where people can walk in and not feel overwhelmed or unwelcome (as it’s very easy to feel in galleries). You can walk into Chicago Truborn, ask questions about the art, take pictures, and even go home with a piece for as little as $20. Of course, we offer some higher prices items for the more serious “collector” but we also offer pieces for those just getting into the art world. Chicago Truborn displays a wide variety of options and styles and we’ve been the “entry way” for hundreds of folks who have now #BecomeACollector (our hashtag). It’s so rewarding to see how the passion and excitement for collecting artwork has been awakened in so many who previously had never thought twice about purchasing original artwork.

Additionally, our initial passion of presenting artwork in non traditional ways has evolved into a
curating public art and large-scale murals. In the last two years we have made great strides in
acquiring public wall space for the sake of community beautification and public art. I want to
help change the urban landscape and the way Chicagoans experience the city. We’ve brought
artists in from all over the world to create beautiful pieces in West Town and in South Loop — at
this point we’ve painted well over 50 murals, covering at least 40k sq feet. Large scale mural
projects like these really didn’t exist in Chicago until the inception of these programs. We are
perpetually in search of private donors and we’ve even helped to create a program in which
allocated tax reserves are used to fund these projects. Community feedback has been
overwhelmingly positive and we’ve even worked with organizations like the Chicago Bears to
create interactive public pieces in various neighborhoods in Chicago.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As an independent business owner, everyday is a new experience- a new challenge. Especially in the realm of public artwork, you never know what challenge may present itself. But, being successful means conquering those struggles and creating a path THROUGH. Mindset is everything. The more successful my business becomes, the larger the scope of projects we take on- therefore I’m taking on more and learning more about adaptability everyday. Not really having any staff to fall back on, the reward is much greater because I know what it took to get to that point. I’m all about self accountability: I enjoy being responsible for my failures as well as my successes.

One specific challenge I continue to face is essentially the core of what inspired me to start my business. It’s the stereotype of gallery owners and their collectors as well the type of work that is traditionally shown: The gallery world has an openly high brow reputation. So many other gallery owners who I’ve met through the years come from corporate backgrounds, or, come from money in one way or another. It became increasingly apparent to me that art, which can and should be appreciated by everyone, had been homogenized and catered specifically to a certain economic class. Those living on the higher end of the economical spectrum tend to know others in that world— wealthy people selling art to other wealthy people. In my mind, there was a disconnect between the vision of a “starving artist” and the affluent people collecting their work. I do truly believe ‘Art is for Everyone’. Should some galleries sell artwork for tens of thousands of dollars? Of course! That’s the free market. But, should the entire industry be marginalized and unattainable to the working class? I think not. I come from a middle class background myself – I saved for years to open and establish my business and I understand the value of a hard earned dollar. Collecting artwork, to me, isn’t as much about adding famous names to your wall but more about culling memories and supporting artists whose work awakens something within the viewer. We’re constantly challenging the concept of traditional galleries, “high art”, and
what it means to be an art collector.

Chicago Truborn – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
After six years in the industry, we’ve earned the title ”Best Established Gallery” in Chicago a number of times. Chicago Truborn works with local and international artists alike — most who paint predominantly with aerosol. Every 6 weeks, we rotate the artwork in the gallery to feature a new artist or group of artists. In addition, the featured artist paints two in store murals to coincide with the show. All of our shows are free and open to the public. The gallery is widely known for being approachable and affordable while maintaining a high caliber of artistry. We also play a vital role in the public arts scene due to our dedication to mural production. The gallery has curated over 30 public pieces in 2017 alone. I am most proud of being the conduit for artists to live and prosper from their talents while at the same time exposing the “art scene” to a new audience. It’s always an honor to discuss the artists vision, get people excited about understanding art, talk technique and ultimately get new folks into collecting!

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
My father put me into martial arts at a young age. I spent a lot of my free time as a youth practicing and competing…for nearly ten years. Eventually, I started going to concerts and music festivals and I discovered a completely different way of life and a different form of artistry. I moved from the Detroit area to Chicago about 12 years ago and eventually decided to open my business in 2011. While Chicago is most certainly my home, I love to escape to nature whenever I can. I love northern Michigan and, my birth state, Colorado…Outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking make up a large part of who I am. I always have a hammock on me!

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1741 W Chicago Ave
  • Website:
  • Phone: 7734209764
  • Email:
  • Instagram: ChicagoTruborn
  • Facebook: ChicagoTruborn
  • Twitter: ChicagoTruborn
  • Yelp: ChicagoTruborn

Image Credit:

Eelco, Kaskink, Fatherless, Lie, Amuse126, Stuk, Lauren Asta

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Mr Saro

    December 15, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Chicago Truborn is the best thing to happen to the Gallery / Street art scene in a long ass time. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sara and company and had nothing but fantastic and profressional experiences. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for CT.

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