bio

Martha A. Wade is an award winning visual artist from Chicago who has always carried a deep passion for art making.  Her painting style utilizes whimsical themes of fantasy and hope, to portray cultural and historical themes in a positive tone.  Her artwork has a dreamlike feel, as Martha works to create a sense of movement in every piece. You will often find star constellations hidden in Martha’s work – her way of visualizing that we are all made of stardust.  Her art seeks to uplift spirits by giving a glimpse of what people can achieve at our highest potential.  Her tapestry of everyday people with rustic elements of fantasy suggest that common ground exists, where everyone is empowered to fulfill their dreams. 

Martha’s work often has a dual theme, as in her series of children with spirit animals of Childhood Dreams & Conquered Fears.  The message speaks to the strength of children who are often fearless, and at the same time encourages us to hold on to our innocence.  Her latest body of work Sirens deals with the blessings and stigma of being a powerful woman, often seen as intimidating and alluring by others.  Martha learned to create at the foot of her artist father Eugene “Eda” Wade, who she watched and admired as a young girl longing for a canvas of her own.  She has gone on to create over 200 paintings on wood and canvas.  Her work can be found in private homes and collections around the world.  She is a member of the NextGen 75 Board of the South Side Community Arts Center, and striving to empower younger generations to get involved in the arts.

As a member of the NextGen 75 Board of the South Side Community Art Center, she strives to empower younger generations to get involved in the arts.  Martha is co-owner of Galleryna19 in the Oak Park Arts District.  Galleryna19 is a fine art gallery dedicated to showcasing the works of emerging, and mid-career artists to align multiple cultures and provide a venue where artists come together to create and collaborate.

the artist working in her studio on the first Sirens piece 

the artist working in her studio on the first Sirens piece 


notable exhibitions + awards

  • American Justice | She Ain't Blind – Group Show, Steele Elliott Design, Chicago, IL – Aug 2017
  • Farewell 44 | A Tribute to Barack Obama – NYCH Art Gallery, Group Exhibition, Chicago IL – Apr 2017
  • Images of Inspiration & Hope – Noyes Cultural Art Center, Group Exhibition, Evanston IL – Feb 2017
  • Spectrum Miami – Art Basel, Miami FL – Dec 2016
  • Harlem Fine Arts Show – Life Creative, Chicago IL  Dec 2016
  • I, Be – Group Show, Elephant Room Gallery, Chicago IL – Sept 2016
  • Everything Must Go – Heaven Gallery, Chicago IL – Oct 2016
  • 100 Canvases – Group Show and Art Auction, The Silver Room, Chicago IL – July 2016
  • Emerging Artist Award – South Side Community Art Center, Art Auction, Art Institute Chicago – May 2016
  • Music & Soul – Louis Armstrong Anniversary Exhibit - Beverly Art Center, Gallery Guichard, The Arts Bank, Chicago IL – Apr 2016
  • Black Creativity Exhibit – The Museum of Science and Industry – Feb 2016
  • Square Foot Art Basel Miami Redux – Projects Gallery, Miami FL – Dec 2015 & Dec 2016
  • Oak Park Mini Mural Project – Artist Outdoor Mural, Oak Park IL – Sept 2015
  • Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series – Semi Finalist, Gallery Guichard, Chicago IL – Nov 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015
  • The Native Series – Group art show and charity event, The Creative Space, Chicago IL – Jun 2015
  • Bare Strokes IV, V, and VI – Live body painting event, LoCollective, Chicago IL - Jun, Aug, Dec 2015
  • The Collaboration of Sexy – Collaborative Exhibition, Galleryna19, Oak Park IL, May 2015
  • Harlem Fine Arts Show – Merchandise Mart, Chicago IL  Nov 2014 & Nov 2015
  • Alpha Female A Look Into the Feminine Energy by Reisha and Martha, UFAT Gallery, Chicago IL – Aug 2015
  • K.L.E.O Community Family Life Center – 8th Annual Benefit Gala, Live painting and art auction, Chicago IL – Aug 2014 & 2015  
  • Golden Award Recipient, The Peace ProjectLandmark Arts Building, Whole 9 Gallery, New York NY – Dec 2014
  • Made of Stardust – Solo Art Exhibition, Galleryna19, Oak Park IL  Sept 2014
  • Home is Where the Art Is – AllUsWe art collective group show, Galleryna19, Oak Park IL – June 2014
  • Diaspora: The Art of Blackness – Group Art Show, NYCH Art Gallery, Chicago IL  Aug 2013
  • Twitter Art Exhibit – International Group Show, Art Division, Los Angeles, CA – Jul 2013
  • Bread & Circus AllUsWe Art Collective Group Show, Definitive Selection, Chicago Il  – July 2013
  • Infusion Project Art Revolution – Live painting events, Beauty Bar, Chicago IL – Dec 2012