Krampus returns to Side Street Studio Arts

Side Street Studio Arts, 15 Ziegler Court in Elgin, will host a monthlong series of events in conjunction with their December exhibition Krampuslauf - Elgin.

The fourth annual Krampuslauf exhibition, curated in conjunction with Elgin artists John LaFleur and David Metzter, as well as the second Krampus Krawl, are based upon the Krampus lore of the northern European Krampus, who is the dark companion of St. Nicholas, the traditional European winter gift-bringer who rewards good children each year on Dec. 6.

The kindly old Saint leaves the task of punishing bad children to Krampus. Usually seen with horns, hoofs and monstrous tongue, he also can be disguised a sinister gentleman dressed in black, or a hairy man-beast.

Returning for a second year, the Krampus Krawl is focused down to activities at Side Street and Martini Room, 161 E. Chicago St., and includes tasty treats from Blue Box Café.

The short Krawl will be led by Side Street founder/director Tanner Melvin as St. Nicholas, who will dole out Krampus tales and history both at Side Street from 6 to 8 p.m. and Martini Room from 8 to 11 p.m.

Activities at Side Street will include Krampus-inspired visual art exhibition, "Wrap It Up," a companion exhibition in celebration of the end of another year, live DJ, food from Blue Box Café, s'mores, storytelling, and performances. The Martini Room will feature live music from traditional Alpine German band Alpine Thunder, a costume contest, and Krampus-inspired drink specials.

"This has been an educational and interesting alternative to dive into the holiday season the last few years and even more so since the release of the movie Krampus last year" said Side Street founder and director Erin Rehberg. "I had heard of Krampus before John and Dave approached us with this idea in 2013, but since then the art and the costumes have really opened my eyes to the variety of holiday traditions worldwide. And, I think we all find it fun break from our own traditions."

Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, or by appointment.

The artists with Krampuslauf- Elgin will be: SamTheJam, Patricia Wilson, Jane Erlandson, Jane Erlandson & Nancy Guthrie, David Bremer, BaM! (Bruce Bachelder and Mike Rende), Chris Palm, Jeff Ward, Amanda Hinrichs, Jamie Neely, Laura Cueva, Samantha Arnold, Kimberly Witz, Kristy Bowen, Zombiac, Jeff Kolak, Steve Sims, Erin Cramer, John LaFleur, Ken Simonsen, Katy Dickey, Kennedy Shenberg, Jeff Anderson, and Soorin Chung.

The "Wrap It Up" artists include: Jamey Bouwmeester, Chloe Topf, Evan Stoler, Jeff Ward, Kimberly Stourton Witz, Beata Chrzanowska, Chris Palm, and Nancy Guthrie.

• From 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, stop by the First Friday Krampuslauf - Elgin and Wrap It Up opening reception. It is free and open to public.

• As part of the Community Moves arts education and outreach program, Side Street hosts seasonal make and take arts events for children that are free and open to the public. In this open house environment, families are welcome to visit various art-making stations, make work of their own to take home, and just simply explore the gallery from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.

• Chicago Burlesque Showcase presents "Sugar & Spice" at 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9. In the cozy cabaret space, the audience has a chance to get up-close-and-personal with some of the hottest talent the Chicago burlesque scene has to offer. "Sugar & Spice" will feature performances by Elle Rioux, Gin Fizz, Florence of Alabia, Hazel Hellbender, Ray Gunn, Brad French, and hosted by MsPixy with Giant Martini. There is a $20 suggested donation. Space is limited, early reservations are recommended.

• Enjoy the Krampus Krawl with an art opening, performances, and more from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Side Street. There is a $5 suggested donation. They are partnering with the Martini Room for a night of Krampus-inspired art, eats, drinks, and fun from 8 to 10 p.m. Alpine Thunder performs at 8 p.m. and the Krampus-inspired Costume Contest at 9:30 p.m.

For more information contact Side Street Studio Arts at (847) 429-2276 or visit

Side Street Studio Arts was founded by Tanner Melvin and Erin Rehberg in 2013 as an outlet for the Elgin arts scene. Currently under the direction of Amanda Harris, Roberto Martinez, Melvin, and Rehberg, Side Street provides educational and creative resources and an accessible space, run by artists. Side Street's mission is to support the artist and artistic journey through collaboration.

Erin Cramer's work will be featured at the annual art exhibit Krampuslauf. Courtesy of Side Street Studio Arts
Chris Palm's work will be featured in the Krampus-inspired visual art exhibition, "Wrap It Up," a companion exhibition in celebration of the end of another year. Courtesy of Side Street Studio Arts
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