Previews of upcoming arts events

Neighbor You Should Know: Ellen King

By Kristin Boza

As parents scramble to find engaging activities for their kids each summer, consider the enchanting Mrs. King’s Art Camp, taught by Ellen King. Since 2012, King’s camp has been a neighborhood staple for kids who wish to learn more about a variety of art mediums.

“My aunt, Marybeth Vihon, grew up in Beverly and is a well-known artist in the Chicago land area,” King said. “She suggested I start a summer art camp based on the overwhelming success of a camp that her daughter attended in her neighbor’s yard in Wilmette. Her excitement inspired me to begin mapping out how such a camp would operate best in Beverly.”

The camp has tried a variety of venues over the years, and this year is hosted out of BAPA’s Community Room. “This location will help us to seamlessly incorporate the idea of children expressing themselves through the act of creating art in their own community,” King said.

Boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 10 are welcome to the camp, which meets three days a week and takes place over five week-long sessions. “The goal of the art camp is to provide opportunities for children to develop their creative expression in a fun and relaxed environment,” King said. “They will work independently and in a variety of collaborations in drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture as well as the preparation and display of their artwork for an art show.”

King hold a BA in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Master of Arts in Teaching (elementary education) from National-Louis University. Currently, King is the art teacher/school librarian at Kellogg School in North Beverly. “I absolutely love being a resident as well as an employee in our beautiful community,” she said. “I suppose the fact that I am immersed in all-things Beverly on a day-to-day basis has clearly provided the impetus for the art camp’s creation.”

Living and working here reinforces King’s view of the family-oriented community we share. “I love that the common thread among neighbors is that people want the absolute best for their children and are willing to work tirelessly to make that possible,” she said. “I also believe that there is a renaissance of sorts that is occurring in our community regarding the arts. From the phenomenal success of the Beverly Art Walk, the Beverly Music Initiative at Tranquility, The Frunchroom and Beverly Arts Center’s revival as a pillar of art events in the neighborhood, it’s clear that art is alive and well.”

Mrs. King’s Art Camp has limited spots available for sessions 1, 2 and 4. Land of Nod, Lulu Photography, Southtown Health Foods, The Chicago Public Library-Walker Branch, Edna White Memorial Garden and Cornell School of Ornithology are all donating goods and services to the campers. “I am thrilled that these prominent businesses are teaming up with the art camp to make this an amazing summer!” King said.

To find out more about Mrs. King’s Art Camp, visit Facebook/MrsKingsArtCamp or email King at


15th Annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic Rides on July 14

Gears, Beers & Cheers! Family Ride, Festival and Pro/Am Cycling

Four thrilling pro/am cycle races are the centerpiece of BAPA’s 15th Annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic: Bikes and Brews on Fri., July 14. The first racing event in this year’s multi-day Prairie States Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup, the races are sure to provide plenty of action for spectators all around the race course and plenty of fun in the festival area.

The start/finish and festival grounds are located at 107th and Longwood Drive, with the race course running in a one-mile loop south on Longwood Drive to 108th Place then up to Hoyne, down to 107th Street, over to Seeley, down 105th Place and back to Longwood Drive. The Bikes and Brews festival opens at 4 p.m. and races start at 4:30 p.m. Following the last race, Coyote Riot will take the stage and play until 10pm.

Shorter Lines, More Beer

We admit it: At last year’s Bikes and Brews the lines were way too long and the supply of beer was way too short. That won’t happen again! “Lagunitas Brewing has stepped in as our beer sponsor, and they’re donating several kegs of beer,” said BAPA Executive Director Margot Holland. “That donation takes some of the burden off the area microbreweries what will also be pouring their craft beers at the festival.”

Alongside Lagunitas, look for craft beers from Horse Thief Hollow, Open Outcry Brewing Co., Argus Brewery, Blue Island Beer Company and Baderbrau Brewing Company.

“Based on our experience last year, we’re expecting a huge crowd to join us at this exciting summer event – and we’re ready for the crowd!” Holland said.

Festival goers will also be able to purchase wine and soft drinks.

Mobile Food & Games

A variety of portable edibles will be served up from food trucks. Calabria will be serving favorites from their new food truck Pollo Locuas will be serving a variety of tacos, Mike’s Revenge will be serving a menu of hearty sandwiches and sides, and Misericordia’s Hearts & Flour food truck will be selling desserts. Dappers Game Zone will keep the kids busy aboard their video game truck in the festival’s expanded Kids Zone.

Music by Coyote Riot

Area fans of rockabilly and bluegrass won’t want to miss the live performance by Coyote Riot that begins at 8:30 p.m. The festival area will remain open until 10 p.m. for music, brews and socializing.

The Racing

Founded in 2012 as the Prairie State Cycling Series, the Intelligentsia Cup brings competitive bicycle racing to the Chicago metro area, featuring top-level professional and elite amateur athletes. The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic is day one of the nine-day series, and this year will add a professional men’s race that’s sure to step-up the action.

Area residents and businesses can also add to the racing excitement by donating primes — cash prizes awarded to the winner of a lap. Only one person can win the overall race, but several riders and win prizes throughout the races.  The amount of primes available to win is a strong incentive for elite riders to participate. The more competitive the event, the more exciting the action for spectators!

Primes are collected in increments of $200, $100 and $50 and donors have their names announced over the public address system during the race. The deadline for donating a prime is Mon. July 10. Call 773-233-3100 or email for information.

Family Ride

Area residents are invited to ride their bikes to the event and join the fun for a half mile family ride on the race course at 7:05 p.m., between the women’s race and the final pro men’s race. Participation in the family ride is free. All riders must wear helmets and all children must be accompanied by adults. A free bike valet will be provided at the festival site.

The Bike Raffle

Don’t miss the chance to win a brand new bike donated by Beverly Bike and Ski! Tickets to BAPA’s Bike Raffle will be available at Bikes and Brews.

Thank Our Sponsors!

Beverly Bike-Vee Pak Racing Team returns as presenting sponsor of the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic. Underwritten by Beverly Bike and Ski and Vee Pak Manufacturing, the racing team is composed of several amateur riders who compete in races throughout the area.

Also sponsoring the event are Mike Haggery Buick – GMC – Volkswagen, Beverly Bank & Trust, the 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Smith Village, AT&T, Beverly Bike and Ski, MetroSouth Health Center at West Beverly/Dr. Kevin Dolehide, John Harrell State Farm. Lagunitas Brewing, PRP Wine International and The Beverly Review.

BAPA hosts the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic as a community-building summer event, the suggested donation for admission to the Bikes & Brews festival area is $5 and supports BAPA’s community-based programs.

For more information or to volunteer to help with Bikes and Brews, call 773-233-3100, sign up on the Bikes and Brews event page at or email




Beverly Hills Cycling Classic: Bikes & Brews

Join us on Fri., July 14 when the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) presents the 15th Annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic: Bikes and Brews. The start/finish and festival grounds are centered at Beacon Therapeutic Center, 107th and Longwood Drive, with the race course running in a one-mile loop between 105th Place and 108th Place, Longwood Drive to Hoyne and Seeley avenues.

On the schedule of the Prairie States Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup, the local event features four exciting pro/am races sure to provide plenty of action for spectators all around the race course.

The Bikes and Brews festival opens at 4 p.m. and features craft beers from Lagunitas and other favorite breweries.  The expanded Kids Zone includes a game truck, bike activities from the Pedalpushers and more. Food trucks include the Roost Carolina Kitchen serving friend chicken and homestyle fixings. Live music starts at 8 p.m.

The Racing

Founded in 2012 as the Prairie State Cycling Series, the Intelligentsia Cup brings competitive bicycle racing to the Chicago metro area, featuring top-level professional and elite amateur athletes. The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic is day one of the nine-day series. The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic will host a Masters’ race, women’s race and two men’s races.

Area residents are invited to ride their bikes to the event and join the fun for a ½ mile family ride on the race course. All riders must wear helmets! Free bike valet will be provided at the festival site.

The Bike Raffle

Tickets to BAPA’s Bike Raffle are now on sale. Don’t miss your chance to win a brand new bike donated by Beverly Bike and Ski.

The Sponsors

Beverly Bike-Vee Pak Racing Team returns as presenting sponsor. Underwritten by Beverly Bike and Ski and Vee Pak Manufacturing, the racing team is composed of several amateur riders who compete in races throughout the area.

Also sponsoring the event are Mike Haggery Buick – GMC – Volkswagen, Beverly Bank & Trust, the 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Smith Village, AT&T, Beverly Bike and Ski, The Beverly Review,

BAPA hosts the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic as a community-building summer event, the suggested donation for admission to the Bikes & Brews festival area is $5 and supports BAPA’s community-based programs.

For more information or to volunteer to help with Bikes and Brews, call 773-233-3100 or email

Free Family Fun Nights Start June 8

Make a date with your kids for Family Fun Nights, Thursdays, June 8, 15. 22 and 29, 5:30 to 7p.m., across from the Metra Station adjacent to the Beverly Bank parking lot, 1908 W. 103rd St.

Every week a different theme will be celebrated with special guests, activities, music, fun and food. Little Company of Mary Hospital will be handing out giveaways to the kids and doctors will be available to talk about family health.

On June 8, Miss Jamie’s Farm will hold a Rootin’ Tootin’ Hoedown with songs and activities sure to appeal to all her barnyard buddies. Jamie performs at parties around Chicagoland, and is a favorite among kids and their parents.

The DJ John from Beverly Records will be playing the tunes for a Dance Party on June 15.

The June 22 event features No Business Like Show Business, a performance by the Storybox Improv Theater. Actors will create a story from an audience suggestion in this imaginative and fully improvised show.

On June 29, families will join in the official Summer Kick-Off Party! Music and lots of fun activities are in store as we celebrate everyone’s favorite time of year.

Each week Pedalheads will be offering tips on bike safety and more, and Calabria Imports will be selling food and beverages. Bring your chairs and blankets, and get ready for a good time!

Family Fun Nights are co-sponsored by the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA), Little Company of Mary Hospital, University of Chicago Medicine/Comer Children’s Hospital, Beverly Bank and Trust, 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Calabria Imports, People’s Gas and Mike Haggerty Buick-GMC-Volkswagen.

Family Fun Nights will be presented as planned, weather permitting.

‘The Last Picture Show’ Retrospective of Bill and Judie Anderson Comes to BAC

By Kristin Boza

Bill and Judie Anderson enjoyed an incredible career together, and separately, as artists. Bill passed away in 2009 after suffering from a debilitating stroke and subsequent illnesses, and he left a legacy of commercial and fine art produced with his beloved wife of 51 years, Judie. “The Last Picture Show,” a culmination of the art the two created together, opens on Sun., June 25 at the Beverly Arts Center, with an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m.

“I’m trying to perpetuate his memory by doing this show,” Anderson said. “I thought this would be a great culmination to our life here in Beverly. We started out here in 1966; we had a good life here and the community has been good to us — and we’ve been good to the community. We started the art school at the Beverly Arts Center; we began there and this show will end it there.”

Judie and Bill met while they were students at the Art Institute of Chicago. Bill, a painting major, was two years ahead of Judie, an advertising and fashion illustration major, although she ended up graduating before him due to Bill’s two-and-a-half year service in the Korean War. The pair went on one official date before Bill shipped out, but their love grew and grew through the letters they wrote to one another. As soon as Bill returned home, he proposed to Judie. A collection of those letters, which Judie calls “A Paper Courtship,” will be a part of the exhibit.

Once their married life began, Bill worked for Lyon Healy music store as their display manager and store designer. Meanwhile, Judie worked for” Chicago American” newspaper as a fashion illustrator. Soon, they began working together on cartoon drawings for “Chicago Magazine” and volunteer work for BAPA. They created the first-ever map of the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood for BAPA in painstaking detail.

As the fashion illustration industry began dwindling and the couple added two children to their family, Judie began illustrating educational materials for an Oak Lawn-based company as well as taking on other freelance work. “I had taken on this job to develop a spec that I worked on over the weekend and was due Monday morning. I was just about done with it and I put frisket paper over the illustration so I could wash in the background. When I went to peel it off, I peeled off the drawing too. I screamed and went ballistic,” she said. But Bill had an idea to salvage the project. “He said ‘you draw the left side and I’ll get the right side and we’ll work together until we get to the middle.’ We got it done, but we didn’t get the job! But that’s what started us working together in children’s illustration.”

One memorable job was illustrating educational materials for National Dairy. “We hired all the kids in the neighborhood to model for us,” she said. “We started having them pose, but they were so stiff. So I gave them the story to read and act out like a play. We took Polaroids of them and were able to draw from there.”

As their joint freelance art business took off, Bill and Judie decided to turn their screened-in porch into a beautiful, sun-lit studio. “And three months after we built it, the recession hit and the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook anymore,” Anderson said. “We didn’t know what was going to happen, but then I got a call from the “Chicago Tribune.’”

What Judie thought would be a six-month full-time Art Director position turned into 20 years. Bill continued to work from home and took on a “Mr. Mom” role with their children. The day before Christmas Eve one year, Judie got a call from work asking her to implement an idea by New Year’s. With no illustrators or designers available during the holidays, Judie enlisted Bill’s help in creating SPOTS, a children’s activity page that ran weekly in the Tribune. Bill created SPOTS for an entire year, before the paper decided to bring it to an in-house illustrator instead.

The Andersons gave another gift to the neighborhood in the form of a highly successful art school now known as the  Beverly Arts Center School of the Arts. Along with other neighborhood artists, the school was directed by Bill and Judie taught classes there as well.

At the age of 56, Bill suffered a stroke. Paralyzed from the neck down, he had to learn to swallow, walk and care for himself all over again. But the same day he had the stroke, he asked Judie to bring his sketchpad and pencils to the hospital. “I said ‘you can’t even lift your arm!’ and he said ‘watch me.’ He had such determination,” Anderson said.

Despite not being able to feel anything in his hand, Bill relearned how to paint and finally began creating art for himself. He created The Stroke Series, which is a series of paintings interpreting how he felt during the stroke and recovery process. It was on exhibit at the University of Chicago for years and now will be exhibited once again at the Beverly Arts Center.

“Bill was amazing, he was a profile in courage. He never complained or felt sorry for himself. He was always a good artist, but to do this after a stroke was just amazing,” Anderson said. Judie also created her own art similar to Bill’s stroke interpretation as she recovered from a heart attack a couple of years later.

Anderson was motivated to put their joint artwork on display as a way to showcase their life together. “It’s phenomenal what we did together. He was my rock; he was my art director. We would critique each other’s work or what we were doing together because we did it for the good of the product,” she said. “There was just a magic that happened; I can’t explain it. This was something that was so special. When I lost him, I lost half of me. But I was so fortunate to have had him for 50 years.”

“The Last Picture Show” will be on exhibit through July at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.


‘Untouchable’ Gangster Tour Turning 30

Beverly/Morgan Park-based Untouchable Tours is preparing to celebrate its 30th anniversary as one of the top-rated downtown bus tours. With its distinct black bus and cast of theatre-trained guides, the company credits its success to a unique entertainment philosophy.

“The production level of our tour is second-to-none,” said co-owner Craig Alton of the theatre-on-wheels tour. “Our guides are talented actors who have studied Chicago crime chronicles and Prohibition society and conventions. They have truly perfected their personas and offer plenty of laughs while providing a knowledgeable voice on the rise of the Chicago mob.”

This formula has proven a hit since Alton, along with his sister and brother-in-law, Cindy and Don Fielding, first launched the concept.

The live action tour continues to sell out regularly and reflects an unwavering interest in Chicago mob history.

From Dion O’Banion’s flower shop to Holy Name Cathedral, the 18- mile journey takes passengers on a comprehensive and compelling trip back in time to Al Capone’s Chicago. Guides with names like “Johnny Three Knives” and “Matches Malone” provide multi-generational appeal to new and repeat customers. In addition to regular public tours, the company also offers private tours to groups.

“While we do go over some rather unsavory moments in Chicago history, the tone of the tour is still light and fun. We book many private tours including school-aged children as well as seniors,” said Don Fielding. “We felt it was important to reiterate how the ultimate result of crime is prison or worse. This is the reason we embraced the word ‘Untouchable.’ Eliot Ness and his colleagues did incredible work in ridding Chicago of Organized Crime. We wanted to tip our hats to them.”

With a three decade history of delighted customers, Untouchable Tours is now active on social media.  “We always knew our passengers enjoyed our tours, but we have been astounded by the overwhelmingly positive and thoughtful comments left on sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp,” said Alton. “So many people have shared how much they love the tour and how eager they are to bring friends and family back to do it again. It means a lot to us.”

To commemorate its 30th year anniversary, Untouchable Tours is offering a $2 discount to Beverly/Morgan Park residents who book any tour online before June 15. Enter the code BEVERLY at

‘A Constant Struggle: Exhibit Focus is Race and Identity

By Scott Smith

“A Constant Struggle,” a multi-form art exhibition about racism, equality and identity, is open through June 8 in the Simmerling Gallery at the Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.  The exhibit is co-produced by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance (The Alliance), and two live events at the BAC will build on the show’s themes.

The show is anchored by the work of three artists who explore “the insidious reach of racism woven deeply into our nation’s history and culture, and its continuing legacy of inequality in America today,” according to an exhibit statement. The artists are Dorothy C. Straughter, Jomo Cheatham and Dawn Liddicoat.

Straughter is an artist, educator, occupational therapist and researcher whose detailed quilts tell stories of the Underground Railroad, the Great Migration and the stereotypes behind “negrobilia” artifacts. Straughter debuted many new quilts as part of “A Constant Struggle,” including one which pays tribute to first responders throughout history, from Harriet Tubman to police officers and firefighters who have died in the line of duty.

Cheatham is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an arts educator whose work “Reparations for Interruptions” continues his intensive investigation of lynching in North America.

Liddicoat is a ceramicist who created the “Lynch Pots” series to visually represent the racial disparity of fatal police killings

The exhibition is co-curated by Straughter and Sal Campbell, a co-founder of The Alliance.

“The strength of the Alliance comes from celebrating the wide range of voices and perspectives among our local artists,” said Campbell. “We believe art can be a powerful way to engage in dialogue about difficult issues and we’re honored to work with Dorothy, Jomo and Dawn on this and to present it at the Beverly Arts Center.”

Additional work on display at the BAC includes photography documenting life in the neighborhood by Tonika Johnson of Englewood, and a series of pieces by artist Cathy Sorich, inspired by the “Constant Struggle” exhibit, which move to the Edna White Garden on Monterey Avenue after the reception.

In addition to the visual art of the exhibit, the Alliance will hold an open mic storytelling event on Thurs., May 18 and a panel on youth empowerment on Wed., May 31. Both events will take place at 7 p.m. in the BAC’s Simmerling Gallery.

The open mic topic is “Where Are You From?” and it will be emceed by Cole Lavalais, author and founder of Chicago Writers’ Studio. Poet Bryant Smith a.k.a. B Love, and Sandra Jackson Opoku, a poet, screenwriter, journalist and award-winning author of “The River Where Blood Is Born,” are scheduled to perform.

The youth empowerment panel will discuss ways to create programs that motivate and celebrate youth of color. The panel will include: Dr. Pancho MacFarland, head of sociology from Chicago State University, a published author who is active in food and social justice movements; Christopher Rudd, a youth and community program designer who ran a successful 10-month teen empowerment program as part of the Civic Innovation Fellowship at the Stanford Design School; Shaka Rawls, principal of Leo High School, who founded a program called IMPACT (Inspiring and Motivating Positive Actions for City Teens); Dr. Kathleen McInerney, a professor from Saint Xavier University who has been named to the Fulbright Specialist Roster by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, and whose current interests include issues of power, privilege, and education policy in communities and their schools.

“We’re glad to once again host the Beverly Area Arts Alliance in the Simmerling Gallery,” said Shellee Frazee, BAC Interim Executive and Artistic Director. “The Beverly Arts Center’s mission focuses on building community through this kind of diverse, quality arts programming and education.”

A closing reception is planned for the exhibit. Campbell said the Alliance has been in discussions with the Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative, a local group that advocates for diversity issues, on participating in the closing event.

For more information about “A Constant Struggle,” visit or

Plein Air Artist Exhibits Work at Vanderpoel Gallery

By Kristin Boza

The next exhibit at Vanderpoel Art Association Gallery in Ridge Park is the perfect inspiration to enjoy the great outdoors. Wisconsin artist Steve Gerhartz is a plein air artist — a French expression meaning “in the open air” — and an opening reception for his work will take place during BAPA’s Home Tour on Sun., May 21. People participating in BAPA’s tour are encouraged to enjoy the exhibit and the gallery.

Gerhartz began painting at the age of 14 with his older brother, Dan, using oil paint to create a landscape painting while outdoors during a November snow storm. This experience was pivotal in Gerhartz’s life and subsequent career. He attended Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Old Lyme, Conn., studying figure drawing, painting and sculpture in figure and portrait subjects.

With a solid background in the arts, Gerhartz now focuses all of his work on landscape painting, he said. This focus was solidified after he earned the John Stobart Outdoor Painting Fellowship in the year after his training at the Academy was complete.

Gerhartz’s exhibit at Vanderpoel Art Association is the latest of numerous exhibits over the last 30 years across the country.

“I am collected by major corporations in Wisconsin, and I have work in the Museum of Wisconsin Art,” Gerhartz said. “The thing I enjoy most about painting is being in the company of all of nature and being able to experience the relationships in nature.”

Gerhartz is moved most by the light present at different times of the day and as the seasons change. “The different effects of light are a major source of inspiration to me,” he said. “My favorite painters are many from the 19th century who were true to the subject matter they saw, whose brushwork captured the life of the subject.”

At the exhibit opening, Gerhartz will be in attendance. People on the Home Tour and the community can view Gerhartz’s work and meet him in person.

Dance, Bid and Party the Night Away at BAC Gala & Auction

Graham Elliot and his wife Allie are big fans of the Beverly Arts Center. When she was still Allie Mundell, Allie spent a lot of time taking art classes and performing in plays at the BAC. As parents, Graham and Allie are providing their children with opportunities to expand their creativity just a few blocks from their home.

“The BAC is an integral part of our community, city and our family,” said Elliot, better known to the neighborhood and the nation as Chef Graham Elliot. On Sat., Apr. 1, Graham and Allie will co-chair the BAC’s all new Gala & Auction with 19th Ward. Ald. Matthew O’Shea and his wife Cara.

“We are so honored to be involved with their fundraising event this year,” Elliot said. “We hope we see the community gather around for their event and support the BAC!”

“The Beverly Arts Center is one of the 19th Ward’s true treasures,” Ald. O’Shea said. “Even though we share it with audiences and students from throughout the city, it was our community that built the BAC – both times! – and it’s the generous arts patrons, families, institutions and businesses in our community that support it, sustain it and make it great.”

Love Shack Dance Party

The event debuts as Love Shack, a 1970s dance party Sat., Apr. 1 at the BAC, 2407 W. 111th St. The party will rock with music by ReTurn2SouL. This high energy six-piece band covers favorite R&B, Jazz and pop tunes from top talents like James Brown, Prince, Steely Dan and The Temptations. Party-goers, get ready to dance!

With the price of admission, revelers can enjoy open bar and hors d’oeuvres by Private Chef Alvin Green, and engage in friendly-to-fierce competition in the live auction that features a five-day, four-night trip including airfare to Casona Rosa B&B in the heart of Morelia, Mexico, a UNESCO-designated, 16th century historic resort at the foot of the Sierra Madre Occidental — an ideal base for witnessing the famous migration of the Monarch butterflies.

Other auction items include: two round trip tickets to Europe on a major airline exclusively planned by IRI Worldwide’s Travel Department, White Sox Diamond Suite Skybox, a Jerrell Freeman autographed Chicago Bears helmet, and – in keeping with the dance party theme! – a Dean Zelinsky guitar. Silent auction items include a variety of museum and theater tickets and dinner certificates.

Quality Programming at the Heart of the Community

The Beverly Arts Center was founded in 1967 and built by a community committed to serving local families with art classes and cultural activities. It’s likely that no one at the ground-breaking for the original center a half mile east of the current location would have predicted the big and bustling Beverly Art Center of today.

Each year, more than 2,000 children and adults from throughout the area enjoy classes, performances, exhibits and events at the 40,000 square foot building. An additional 3,000 students from across the city receive quality arts education and performances through the BAC’s extensive outreach program.

“We have attended wonderful plays at the Center, enrolled in art and music classes that have enriched our little guys’ day to day lives greatly, and even hosted a few events with them,” Elliot said.  “We are so lucky to have this wonderful establishment in our neighborhood.”

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the new Beverly Arts Center building. The Fund-A-Need in the live auction will raise funds for projects that will improve the look and functionality of the facility’s public spaces. Funds raised from ticket sales, live and silent auctions will support the BAC’s programs and School of the Arts.

Admission to the Love Shack

The Love Shack, the BAC Gala & Auction, will be held 7 to 11 p.m., Sat., Apr. 1. Tickets are $75 and are available at or 773-445-3838.

The Beverly Arts Center is a vibrant and multifaceted not-for-profit organization serving the Chicago metro area with high-quality programs in dance, visual arts, music, film and theater. The facility a 400-seat theatre, art gallery, exhibition spaces, music and dance studios and art classrooms.




Community Choir to Perform Work by Dr. William Crowle

By Janelle Richmond

Dr. William Crowle lets his music talk for him. A highly accomplished musician with degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University, he is the long-time accompanist for the Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir. “Music touches people in a unique manner,” he said “For me, it’s a way to reach out that can’t be accomplished using only language.”

Crowle has been the accompanist for the Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir since 2001, with the exception of a one-year hiatus. This year, the Choir is performing “The Old Irish Blessing,” composed by Crowle, at its annual concert on Sun., Apr. 2, 4 p.m., St. Cajetan Church. It is the first piece of Crowle’s the Choir has performed. It was written as a farewell tribute. “It was a way to say goodbye to a respected colleague and to send her off with a benediction,” Crowle said.

“The Old Irish Blessing” was influenced by the jazz tradition and has unusual rhythms. In rehearsal, the Choir finds it to be an interesting difference from more traditional compositions. “I don’t write simply, I like to challenge,” Crowle points out with a laugh.

Crowle is a prolific composer. He’s been commissioned to write choral, symphonic band, and organ pieces by organizations both in Chicago and throughout the U.S. Most recently, his arrangement of “Amazing Grace” for soprano, clarinet, and piano premiered in mid-February at First Presbyterian Church in Deerfield. In addition to being a highly sought-after accompanist, he is also an accomplished organist.

Concert Performance

The Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir concert will include a mix of traditional, gospel, and other sacred music. The Chatham Choral Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Charles T. Hayes, will join the Community Choir for the “Gospel Trinity” and “Lift Every Voice for Freedom.”

“As a musician, it’s important to embrace diversity of music,” Crowle said. He believes this is one of the strengths of the Community Choir and why he keeps coming back year after year.

The theme of this year’s concert is “One Voice.”  “Music is a way to bring us all together,” Crowle commented. Indeed, the mission of the Choir is to minimize disparities and create connections. The choice of music for the concert celebrates this unity. Each year, the performance draws nearly 400 people.

About the Community Choir

Founded in 1999 to celebrate the millennium, the Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir is sponsored by the Community of Churches. Its purpose is to bring together people of all faiths in song. The Choir has more than 55 volunteer singers and employs a professional music director, Lance Loiselle, in addition to Crowle. “I’ve seen much growth over the years,” Crowle said about his tenure as accompanist.

Crowle believes it’s fitting that “The Old Irish Blessing” will be performed by the Choir. “It is really one voice of blessing for us all.”