The CG Project is a creative platform for artists and audiences with a shared vision of increasing appreciation and accessibility of Art in our culture. We started in the summer of 2011, amid budget battles at all levels of government. We began discussing our collaboration after visiting Madison, WI in the wake of the Wisconsin Protests. The thousands of protesters that sat in front of the capital during one of the coldest winters in recent history left an energy that inspired us to act.
The Contreras-Gabriel Project was born on May 1, 2011
Mario Contreras is a filmmaker and photographer with a passion for non-fiction and social commentary. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, he began working in documentary when he participated in The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride in 2003 for his undergraduate thesis at Southern Illinois University. His experience making Shabuya: A Freedom Ride Film opened his eyes to the immigrant rights struggle, as well as the world of documentary filmmaking.
Mario graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2012 with an MFA in Film and Video with a Documentary concentration. He’s working on The CG Project is to join his voice with other artists and independent filmmakers to find audiences that may enjoy their work.
Diana Gabriel is an artist and curator with a soft spot for artisans and an inclination toward all linear things, patterns, and simultaneity. Diana is primarily a painter but supplements this practice with large site-specific installations. She emigrated from Bogota, Colombia at a young age and quickly dedicated herself to drawing and painting. Gabriel earned her BFA from Northern Illinois University and her MFA from Illinois State University.
Diana works on The CG Project to share art news, opportunities and the work of emerging Chicago Artists. She currently teaches Drawing and Design at Harper College in Palatine and College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois. Gabriel also curates bimonthly exhibitions at Morton College in Cicero.
Osito Contreras is the Official Mascot of The CG Project. He was rescued when The Kozlowski Family met a family that couldn’t take care of him. Looking for more responsibility, Mario and Diana jumped at the chance to bring him home and it was the best thing that could have happened to them.
Osito comes along wherever he’s welcome and he’s frequently the subject of collaborations between his parents. He participates because they give him treats.