Sara Dulkin of Chicago Truborn Looks To Ensure A Legacy In Public Art

Introduce yourself

Hello everyone, my name is Sara. I am the owner and curator of Chicago Truborn.

How was life growing up for you?

Life was great, I moved around from CO>IL>MI but most of my upbringing was in Michigan. I spent a lot of time outdoors…hiking and out on the lake. Frequent trips into Detroit were pivotal for me in learning about and being exposed to the graffiti scene.

When did you begin to witness your creative talents?

I’ve always been involved in arts. At a young age my Dad put my brother and I into martial arts. We were really involved and spent most days practicing and weekends competing. As I got entered High School I decided to slow down with martial arts because I wanted a social life. And, that’s where I began to find my love for live music. Music, concerts, and festivals were crucial in my involvement with artistic culture as a whole.

Growing up and loving Michigan, what caused the move to Chicago?

I moved to Chicago nearly 13 years ago to attend college. I was transferring from college in MI to Columbia and eventually transferred to Northeastern.

Following graduation, what were you doing?

I started teaching preschool in Lakeview. I loved working with children and putting my knowledge of cognitive development to good use. I felt like I could contribute a lot and for a while I really enjoyed teaching. Eventually, it got to the point where I felt like I just needed to do work for myself and make my own rules.

Now approaching your fourth year, how did the idea of starting a gallery come about?

The idea evolved over time, as we got more familiar with the local artists in the Chicago scene. I would meet them, hang out with them, watch them paint, and ultimately wanted to buy their work. I remember I would look to buy artwork from these artists and would ask how I could and they would say things like, “It’s in my living room, or I guess I could send you something”.  So, there a was a niche market there and I saw a form of artwork that was different and interesting to me. I felt it needed a legitimate platform.

How were you reaching out to artists and developing connections with them?

At first, we were using Instagram as a platform to document the art we were seeing here in Chicago. Then we naturally created connections with many artists in the city and, eventually, worldwide. Some of the first artists we worked with here in Chicago were Mr. Switch, Mosher, Left Handed Wave and the Fatherless crew. I’ll never forget the trust they had in us to get the word out about their artwork and I’m so grateful for the chances they gave us!

(Fatherless Crew)

Talk to us about the concept of name Chicago Truborn

The real identity of the name is that you don’t have to be from Chicago to be Chicago Truborn. It’s a melting pot and at the end of the day we all feel attached and protective of this city.


What was the first gallery show you put together?

We threw so many various pop up shows and worked dozens of street festivals before the gallery opened. But, the first gallery show was our grand opening group show, August 24th, 2013. It was an awesome!! We had NstJ 72, Jay Turner (now, The Lie), Ava Grey, Mosher, Poor Kid, Mr. Switch, Crush Entity, Joe Goral, Jeremy Lombardo, Sukka, Jeff Gorski and more!

Over the years have you begun to notice graffiti artists/ street artists are trying to start pushing their work to galleries?

I would say more galleries are beginning to pop up who cater to graffiti and street artists so there are more opportunities for this type of work to be shown. If an emerging artist is serious about becoming a full-time artist, they ultimately do need to sell their work. I don’t really vibe with the term ‘sellout’. I think artists and galleries work hand in hand with each other and the relationship is mutually beneficial. We help each other succeed.

Are you anti gallery?

I am most certainly not anti-gallery. The term “anti-gallery” stemmed from the movement we tried to create from the desire to break down the traditional sense of what many think a gallery is. Our goal is to create an approachable environment where folks who may have never stepped into a gallery before can walk in, enjoy the work, ask questions about it, and of course AFFORD IT!

I noticed that you were on board for West town SSA commissioners. Talk about that experience

As a business owner on Chicago Ave, I was asked to be one of the commissioners. It’s been an awesome experience. Through the commission we have created the west town public arts committee. It’s one of the biggest accomplishments for the gallery thus far. West Town has been so crucial in wall acquisition and community liaison work. Thanks to the committee we now have created over 20 murals in West Town in the past year.

Throughout the years, who have been your three favorite artists to work with?

The Lie and Kashink were really exciting shows for me personally- and this may be a cheat answer since it’s not one artist but working with the DC5 crew was really an honor.

 (The Lie)



When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?

All the gallery work is very important to me and helping artists to make a living through their talents means so much. It’s really an honor. But additionally, I want to color all over this city: I’ve been working really hard this past year or two to ensure a legacy in public art. I want to help change the landscape and the way Chicagoans experience our city.

Written By: Nicholas Rud