Couple crushed after West Loop venue cancels wedding for ‘Art of Banksy’ exhibit

Chicago News

CHICAGO — A major exhibition is headed to the Epiphany Center for the Arts in the West Loop, but for one couple, it’s a devastating blow.

As of right now, the “Art of Banksy” Exhibition opens on Aug. 7 and runs through Oct. 31. Unfortunately, the move may hinder Phil Aiello and Hayley Nagengast’s wedding plans.

“The save the dates have gone out saying we’re getting married on Oct. 9 in Chicago,” Aiello said.

Together 11 years, Aiello says he first met his soon-to-be-wife at Mariano’s. “We were slinging gelato and serving coffee.” 

After Aiello popped the question in 2020, planning for their dream wedding began. But it’s not been without ups and downs. The couple says their original venue was also canceled.

“They decided back in March to remain closed through the remainder of 2021,” Aiello said.

Now, their second option is in flux.

“On Tuesday, I received a call from the owner of Epiphany saying they received this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host the Banksy art exhibit,” Aiello said.

The couple says that while the owners have offered alternate options, none of them are viable.

“This is just way larger than canceling or moving our event,” Aiello said. “It’s not that simple.”

The couple says they’re unsure if the situation can be rectified.  

“I’m sure one day we’ll be able to laugh about this moment, but right now, it’s just really painful,” Aiello said. “We’ve lost hours of sleep and cried so many tears cause the thing we’ve been working towards for the last year is essentially ruined.”

In a statement to WGN, David Chase, co-founder of Epiphany Center for the Arts, says, “We know the announcement of the Banksy Exhibition and the need to modify their original wedding plans was devastating news for Phil and Hayley, and are terribly sorry that Epiphany Hall is no longer available for their ceremony.”

Chase says both are welcomed to host their wedding in other spaces within the Epiphany Center of the Arts on the same day. The couple’s deposit will be returned, and all rental fees will be waived, Chase added.

The couple says they have been offered a refund only if an alternate venue with Epiphany Center for the Arts is chosen. They have not been offered a refund if they choose not to accept the venue’s offer, the couple added.

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