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CAVA is a volunteer not-for-profit organization founded in 1988. It is dedicated to giving our over 200 members throughout Chicagoland the opportunity to exhibit artwork in at least three exhibits annually in such notable venues as the Chicago Cultural Center, Evanston Art Center, Bridgeport Art Center, Beverly Arts Center, and the Leslie Wolfe Gallery in Old Town. Creating art can be a solitary occupation—CAVA provides events for artists to come together through its salon, a member luncheon, a symposium, and special events. For more information, visit our CONTACT page, and sign up for our e-newsletter.
CAVA MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS:
Exhibit in the Annual Members Show;
Enter the juried Later Impressions exhibition;
Engage in various group and media-focused exhibitions
we organize throughout the Chicago area;
Participate in membership social and
educational programs, including our
annual CAVA Symposium.
WHAT OUR MEMBERS ARE SAYING
FEATURED CAVA ARTIST
DR. CRANSTON KNIGHT
Dr. Knight’s intro to photography began with a black-and-white photo class at the Henry Horner Boys Club, on Chicago’s west side. “It was fun and adrenaline-charged!
Watching how the negatives came to life was astonishing; the darkroom setting, with red light overhead, photo chemical smell, and giant enlarger all created a surreal space I never forgot. Photography exposed me the world outside my daily experience of busy tenement life in the Henry Horner Housing complex.”
Some years later, while moving his late uncle's belongings, Dr. Knight found his uncle’s collection of cameras along with many canisters of undeveloped film. “I was delighted to learn he had also been a photographer, though he had never discussed this aspect of his life. I couldn’t wait to discover what secrets his images held.” Cranston’s sleeping “shutter-bug" instincts roused, he was ready to revive his creative spirit.
Awake, photo by Dr. Cranston Knight
Running alongside his experiences with that first photo class and the discovery of his uncle’s cache of photo negatives was a long and invigorating career in academia. Dr. Knight received his doctorate from Loyola University Chicago in U.S. History, with an additional emphasis in American Foreign Policy, and a minor in European Fascism. Besides being a member of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the Foreign Policy Association of Illinois, he has taught at many colleges and universities in and around Chicago, including St. Augustine College, Loyola University, Columbia College, and in the City Colleges of Chicago.
After grad school, he dove back into photography in earnest, shooting while teaching a full load of courses, and over time, transitioning from film to digital. “My interest in International Affairs provided me access to organizations and people from all over the world who discussed the ‘human condition,’ poverty and industrialization, war and peace, and always, the importance of diplomacy,” says Cranston. “These issues channeled my belief in the value of photographic images, and how they depict events. A photo is not merely a picture, but a historical tool which can alter the perception of events.”
Speaking Silence, photo by Dr. Cranston Knight
Since leaving academia, Cranston has focused full-time on his photographic process and projects. “As far as my artistic line of inquiry, I’m interested in all the numerous lines of photographic intersections, long exposures, field and nature photography, but most importantly, photos which give meaning and depth to life, which is humbling in its complexity.”
During the pandemic, he’s been working on two book-length photo projects, using his work to aid in visual imaging. “The first project deals with isolation and depression as some of the side effects of our current health crisis; I believe that photos can aid the healing process.” His second project consists of photographs taken over three years of "The Damen Silos." It displays nature's resilience to reclaim its place among concrete ruins, the interplay of "people's art" and space using the walls of the silo as canvas, and the interplay of both components.
Vista, photo by Dr. Cranston Knight
“While researching artist communities to get involved with, I discovered CAVA, and joined the group. I’ve found it to be nurturing, supportive of my craft, and the fellowship has provided me with a place I think of as my ‘creative home.’”
To see more of Cranston’s photography and to find out more about the artist, click here.