Previews of upcoming arts events

Boundary Art Space Opens in Morgan Park Garage

By Carol Flynn

Boundary, a new art exhibit space, opened in June in the garage of the Chicago bungalow at 2334 W. 111th Pl. The co-directors are Susannah Papish, who owns and lives at the property, and Larry Lee.

Papish and Lee are not new to Chicago’s art scene. Both hold Masters in Fine Arts degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and are accomplished artists. They have distinguished careers in academia and administration. Lee is associate director of undergraduate admissions for SAIC, and is a lecturer on art history, theory and criticism. Papish is an undergraduate alumni recruiter for SAIC and reviews portfolios of prospective students. She has taught at a number of colleges.

Both are passionate about nurturing and supporting artists. Lee is careful not to refer to Boundary as a “gallery” because the concept is broader than a commercial enterprise for selling art.

“Boundary is an art project space that allows artists to ‘incubate’,” said Lee. “We serve as an advocate for the individual artists who exhibit with us.”

The idea for Boundary grew out of Lee’s and Papish’s visits to alternative art spaces and pop-up galleries. They both believe that one of the wonderful things about Chicago is the positive encouragement for artists and alternative settings. This has helped to bring art out of downtown and into neighborhoods, making it more accessible and less intimidating to people.

“I like to keep my finger on the pulse of the city’s art scene, and when I travel, I love to walk through museums to see what is going on,” said Lee. “The alternative spaces and pop-ups represent the vanguard for the next generation of artists; they empower the artists to operate on the fringes or along side the existing system.”

Both add that many spaces and art districts that start out as alternative become main stream. Lee referred to this as “the natural cycle.”

In 2005, Lee began Molar Productions, which he described as a “mobile curatorial project” that allowed him to stage pop-up shows. He has helped a number of friends build out artist spaces. Lee had his eye on his long-time friend Papish’s garage for years. Papish used the garage as her studio, but after she moved her studio to her basement, Lee was finally able to convert the garage into a 420-square foot project and exhibit space.

The name Boundary was chosen because the location is on the far outskirts of the city. But the word also means a frontier, unchartered and unexplored territory beyond the edge of the known, an area for discovery. And there is the psychological interpretation of “personal boundaries” – the beliefs, opinions, attitudes, etc., that help define a person, always relevant in understanding an artist’s work.

Since the opening, two exhibits have been held. The first was “Off Normal,” featuring Chicago artist John Dodge. The second, closing on Sept. 2, was “Triple Happiness,” featuring works by Annette Hur, Julie Lai and Chinatsu Ikeda.

Preparations are underway for the opening of Boundary’s third exhibit, “ANTI/body,” by Maya Mackrandilal, on Fri., Sept. 8, 6 to 9 p.m. It is for free to the public and the artist will be present. The exhibit runs through Oct. 28 and will be open for the Beverly Art Walk on Sat., Oct. 7.

Mackrandilal is a transdisciplinary artist, writer and arts administrator. She is mixed-race with roots in the Caribbean, South America, South and East Asia, and West Africa. Her artwork explores solidarity and liberation, and radical futures, for women of color. She is the Fine Arts Coordinator for the city of Buena Park, Calif.

Parking is on the street, and visitors are greeted by the family cats while walking down the driveway to the yard and garage. Boundary is informal and approachable, yet unique and cutting edge – a welcome addition to the fluid and ever-evolving art scene in Chicago.

Info on the upcoming exhibit: www.boundarychicago.space. Appointments to visit Boundary: 773-316-0562 or boundarychicago@gmail.com.

Beverly Art Walk #4 Set for Oct. 7

The 4th annual Beverly Art Walk is scheduled for Sat., Oct. 7, 12 to 7 p.m., at sites throughout Beverly/Morgan Park. The Art Walk will feature work by more than 200 talented artists and makers in 55 venues, as well as artist demonstrations, children’s activities, live music, public art, craft beer, and complimentary trolleys. The Art Walk is a free, family-friendly event and attracts more than 6,000 visitors each year.

In addition to hubs of activity from 95th to 111th, Western to Wood, the Art Walk will feature the MT Walk on Walden Festival, presented by the Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative, at 103rd Street. The multi-media celebration of walkable, bikable diversity in our community is sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust Acting Up Award.

Beyond our commercial corridors, artists will open their home studios for an insight into their artistic processes, inspirations and work.

A highlight of the 99th and Walden hub will be “Quantum Me,” the public art piece by Chicago artist Davis McCarty that will be installed there. Members of the Beverly Area Art Alliance spearheaded the project, working with Ald. Matt O’Shea and a volunteer committee of local residents, business owners and civic representatives. The project is funded by the City of Chicago’s 50×50 Neighborhood Arts Initiative.

Alternative exhibition spaces will also be featured, including Boundary, a Morgan Park garage that has been transformed into a gallery, and a live performance/sound piece outside a home in East Beverly by the artist Brother El, in partnership with Terrain Exhibitions.

Free live music performances, from blues to folk, jazz to rock n roll, as well as The School of Rock and Ayana Contreras, a producer, host, and dj at WBEZ, will be showcased throughout the day. Art Walk festivities end with a closing party at Horse Thief Hollow, 10426 S. Western, 7 to 10 p.m., featuring the New Orleans-influenced funk, R&B, and jazz tunes of The Big Lagniappe.

The Beverly Art Walk is organized by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, a volunteer-run 501c3 not for profit organization that relies on the support and participation of Beverly/Morgan Park’s residents and business community. This year, organizers are excited to welcome some of the neighborhood’s newest small businesses, including Open Outcry Brewing Co., Marlo Hair Salon, Capsule, and B-Sides Coffee + Tea, in addition to returning venues and pop-up galleries. Artists from the Chicagoland area, as well as surrounding states, will display work ranging from paintings and sculpture to handmade candles and jewelry. Artists will be present to talk about their work, most of which will be available for purchase.

For more information about the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, visit www.beverlyarts.org.

 

‘Elevation’ Explores The Rise of Beverly/Morgan Park

Beverly Arts Center is anchor site for Chicago Architecture Biennial

By Grace Kuikman

Long, long before the architects designed the hilltop mansions that help to define the built form of what is now Beverly/Morgan Park, glaciers carved out the topography of the area, inch by inch, leaving behind the highest hill in Chicago.

“Elevation,” a major exhibition that opens on Sept. 17 at the Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St., captures the impressive rise of Beverly/Morgan Park and how its elevation continues to inspire the beauty and culture of the community. The exhibit is the central focus of the BAC’s contribution to the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, a city-wide exploration of how the past, present and future converge to create Chicago’s neighborhoods. The Biennial runs mid-September through early January, with the Chicago Cultural Center as the central location, and several anchor sites – including the BAC – that will offer a variety of artistic and inventive programming around the theme “Make New History.”

The inaugural Biennial was held in 2015, the manifestation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision for an international architecture event. The successful Biennial was developed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. This year’s event brings the focus out into Chicago’s neighborhoods. It is the largest architecture and design exhibition in North America, and features presentations by more than 140 participants from 20+ countries.

The Beverly Arts Center’s selection as one of a half dozen anchor sites is quite prestigious, and provides a spectacular opportunity to showcase the neighborhood.

“Beverly/Morgan Park is arguably the most architecturally significant residential neighborhood in the city,” said architect James Gorski, founding principal of Bureau of Architecture and Design and Beverly/Morgan Park resident. Gorski is the visionary talent behind the “Elevation” exhibit at the BAC.  “[The community’s] extraordinary glacial beginnings and resulting topography combined with the mid-19th century introduction of the Rock Island commuter rail spurred a steady development of well-designed and crafted residences from the late 19th century through the building boom of post-World War II.”

Using architectural installations, maps and photographs, “Elevation” will be located the BAC’s Simmerling Gallery and offer a compelling encounter that illustrates how the massive glaciers literally shaped our community and, millions of years later, provided an inspiring palate for renowned architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, H.H. Waterman, Walter Burley Griffin, G. W. Maher, Edward Dart and many others.

“The exhibition celebrates Beverly/Morgan Park’s exceptional history and architectural pedigree while seeking to engage the local and visiting community in a dialog for the future vision of the neighborhood,” Gorski said.

Gorski designed the exhibition and has worked closely with other local talents whose efforts are bringing “Elevation” to reality. Photographer Rebecca Healy has photographed more than 60 local buildings, capturing the artistry and unique design elements of their craftmanship. Her photos will reflect how today’s community has evolved from its historical roots.

“I approached shooting each piece of architecture from an artistic prospective, making sure to include the defining aspects of each building,” Healy said. She considered not just the building but the context of surrounding environment that, in a neighborhood like this, contributes so much to the overall artistry and impact.

Edris Hoover of Ridge Historical Society assisted Gorski with research into the earliest days of the area, helping to uncover information about the path of the glacier that created the Blue Island Ridge and the shores of Lake Chicago which once reached way beyond Longwood Drive then receded to what we know as Lake Michigan; the history of the area’s early native American residents and the influx of the pioneers who first built log cabins in the heavily wooded surroundings once known as Horse Thief Hollow; and the profound influence of the architects and home builders who, following the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, were so attracted to the hilly, rustic area just 30 minutes from the the city on the new commuter train.

Mauricio Caslan, a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who works with Gorski at his architecture firm, helped to design the exhibit installations. Andy Horin of Plateau Properties helped Gorski build them.  Main Street Beverly blogger Jeff Danna provided ideas based on his quest to foster urban walkability and connectedness in residential and commercial areas.

Exhibition visitors will be pivotal in the Make New History component of the Biennial at the BAC. In the gallery, through programs, in poster-making and in other arenas, they will be asked to share their ideas for how Beverly/Morgan Park may look and function in the future.

Chicago Architecture Biennial Schedule at BAC

The official unveiling of the elevation themed mural by Elaine Miller, will be Sept. 10, 10 a.m., in the city parking lot at 95th and Longwood Drive. The mural was commissioned by the Beverly Arts Center as a gift to the community, and funded by a grant from the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

The “Elevation” exhibition will open to the general public on Sept, 17, 2 to 4 p.m., in the Simmerling Gallery at the BAC. In addition to the expansive installation and art in the gallery, the Biennial exhibits in other BAC gallery spaces will feature watercolors of neighborhood institutions by artist Judie Anderson and architectural photographs by Mati Maldre from his comprehensive documentation of Beverly/Morgan Park architecture for exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Foundation in1986. Photos from Maldre’s exhibit are used in BAPA’s Historic Homes brochure which will be available at the BAC to encourage people to continue their “Elevation” experience by exploring the neighborhood.

During the Beverly Art Walk on Oct, 7, BAC Biennial visitors will enjoy hands-on activities for kids that include building a Lego city and creating posters of what Beverly/Morgan Park will look like in the future.

On Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., the BAC will host a panel discussion with the Chicago Architecture Biennial south side anchor sites on how the arts affect neighborhoods. Participating are BAC, Hyde Park Art Center, DuSable Museum and National Museum of Mexican Art.

Planned programs also include a teen studio workshop on Nov. 18, and ongoing activities.

For more information on local Biennial events and programs, contact the Beverly Arts Center, 773-445-3838 or www.beverlyartcenter.org. For information on citywide activities for the Biennial, visit chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org.

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 ewoods75@yahoo.com.

 

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 mholland@bapa.org 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 www.bapa.org or email bapa@bapa.org.

 

 

 

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 bapa@bapa.org.

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 www.gangstertour.com

‘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 beverlyarts.org or beverlyartcenter.org.