Liz Chilsen is a professional artist. In fact, the 23-year resident of Forest Park has impressive credentials.

She has a degree from the University of Wisconsin [BS-Art ’80] where she focused her undergraduate work on ceramics, and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at Columbia College in Chicago where she focused on photography.

Her portfolio includes work as a graphic preservation archivist with the Wisconsin Historical Society, serving as the executive director of an organization fostering the sister-state relationship with Nicaragua and the state of Wisconsin, completing a photography project for Landmarks Illinois, and currently serving as part-time executive director of the Riverside Arts Center since 2021.

Unlike most of the 52 artists showing at last year’s Garage Galleries, the descriptor “professional” fits Chilsen because she earns her entire living from and with art. She estimates that about half of her annual income comes from the art she creates and sells.

For example, she just closed an exhibition of her photography, sculpture, drawings and video at the Adds Donna Gallery in Humboldt Park during which she was able to sell several pieces.

She also works with buyers doing commissions for corporate offices, has received grants and sells some of her work from her website. “There are a bunch of ways to make income as an artist,” she explained.