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Holiday Happenings and Santa Sightings

Get in the holiday spirit with these local events! 

Holiday Stroll. Mount Greenwood Holiday Stroll, Fri., Dec. 1, 4 to 7 p.m., participating businesses on 111th Street between Sacramento and Pulaski. The family-friendly event is sponsored by the Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association and features special offers, visits with life reindeer and holiday characters, music, raffles and more. Info: 773-881-0622 or mgcba2013@gmail.com.

Holiday Musical Theater for Kids. Chicago Kids Company presents “Mrs. Claus: A Holiday Musical,” a one-hour musical geared to children ages 2 to 10, selected dates Dec. 1 through Dec. 23.  Mrs. Claus and the Elf Class of 2017 scramble to find Santa’s list in time to save Christmas. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago. $12 (group rates available). Tickets and information: 773-205-9600 or www.chicagokidscompany.com.

Breakfast with Santa at the Castle. Enjoy a pancake breakfast and visit with Santa Sat., Dec. 2, 8 a.m. to noon, Beverly Unitarian Church, 10244 S. Longwood Dr. Don’t forget to bring your camera! $5 per person. Info: 773-233-7080.

Castle Christmas Tree Sale. Buy your fresh and fragrant Fraser or douglas firs, 5 to 10 feet tall. Sat., Dec. 2, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 3. Sat., Dec. 9 and Sun., Dec. 10, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Beverly Unitarian Church parking lot, 103rd and Seeley. Your purchase helps support the Castle. www.beverlyunitarian.org.

Pictures with Santa. Santa is stopping by Beverly Bank, 10258 S. Western, Sat., Dec. 2, 1 to 3 p.m. to hear children’s Christmas wishes and take pictures.

Uprising Craft Holiday Market. The Beverly Area Arts Alliance will host the 2nd annual Uprising Craft Holiday Market Sun., Dec. 3, 12 to 5 p.m., Olivia’s Garden, 10730 S. Western. More than 40 makers and artisans from Illinois and surrounding states will offer a variety of unique, handmade items ranging from stationary and candles, to jewelry and holiday decorations. Crème of the Crop food truck — a Beverly Art Walk favorite — and Coco’s Tamales will offer tasty treats and Ruta Spenser, DJ at St. Xavier University’s WXAV radio station, will spin not-your-average holiday tunes. List of vendors/info: www.beverlyarts.org.

Party With Santa. Christmas Party meet and greet with Santa, Sun., Dec. 3, 2 to 4 p.m., Barney Callaghan’s, 10618 S. Western.

Handel’s ‘Messiah.’ The 15th annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah” will be presented Sun., Dec. 3, 3:30 p.m. at Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W. 110th Pl. The performance features soloists, a mass choir and orchestra conducted by Charles T. Hayes, and is presented as a beautiful start to the advent season. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and free for children under age 10. Proceeds benefit Morgan Park Presbyterian Church and the church music program. Info/tickets: 773-779-3355.

Christmas Concert. The Southwest Symphony Orchestra along with St. Georges Children’s and Adult Choirs, and Oak Lawn Voices of the Valley present “ Holiday Destination at St. George,” featuring holiday classics, a hand bell choir and a carol festival sing along, Sun., Dec. 3, 4 p.m., St. George Church , 6707 175th St., Tinley Park. Adults and seniors, $20; students, $7; children under age 10, free. Tickets/info: southwestsymphony@gmail.com or 708-802-0686

Holiday Tea. Saint Xavier University (SXU), 3700 W. 103rd St., cordially invites area residents to Holiday Tea, Thurs., Dec. 7, 1 to 3 p.m., Warde Academic Center Butler Reception Room. Admission is $20 and includes assorted finger sandwiches, scones with whipped butter and sweets, a variety of teas, coffee or perhaps a glass of wine. Entertainment will be provided by violinist Miriam-Rose LeDuc. All are welcome the noon liturgy in McDonough Chapel prior to the tea. Register online, www.sxu.edu, keyword: Christmas or 773-298-3316.

Beverly Neighborhood Choir Concert. Chicago Children’s Choir Beverly Neighborhood Choir will perform in a Target Community Concert alongside DiMention and select Voice of Chicago singers in an evening that captures the variety of the Chicago Children’s Choir’s program and repertoire, Thurs., Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m., Kroc Center Chicago, 1250 W. 119th St. Reservations: ccchoir.org/events or 312-849-8300.

Holiday Market. Businesses on Walden Parkway, Wood Street and 99th Street will celebrate the season at a Holiday Market, Thurs., Dec. 14, 6 to 10 p.m. Shop and visit at Beverly Barre, Capsule Chicago, B Sides Coffee + Tea, Cakewalk Chicago, Sweet Freaks, Tranquility Salon and more. Enjoy live music, drinks, desserts, locally sourced products and lots more.

‘A Wonderful Life.’ BAC Professional Theatre, “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” Fri., Dec. 8 and Sat., Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 15 and Sat., Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.; and Sun., Dec. 17, 3:30 p.m.  $22 ($20 for Beverly Arts Center members).  The classic story of George Bailey on a fateful Christmas Eve unfolds as a live 1940s radio broadcast in a family-friendly performance. Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago. Info: 773-445-3838, www.beverlyartcenter.org.

Christmas Open House. Dance Gallery Chicago, 10628 S. Western, hosts a Christmas Open House, Sat. Dec. 9, 4 to 6 p.m. Dancers will enchant visitors and passersby in The Nutcracker Windows, starting at 4:30. The event also features student performances and a visit from Santa. Info: 773-445-8910 or info@dancegallerychicago.com.

Skate With Santa. Family and friends are invited to enjoy the holiday spirit, skating with Santa to holiday music on Sun., Dec. 10, 3:30 to 4:50 p.m., Morgan Park Sports Center, 11505 S. Western. Event includes cookie decorating in the Winter Wonderland area, and a Blackhawks ticket raffle benefitting Special Olympics Chicago. Admission: Adults/teens, $5, children age 12 and under, $4, seniors, $2. Skate rental: $3.

Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus. Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus presents “Naughty or Nice,” Sun., Dec. 10, 3 p.m. Members of the chorus must choose which list they’ll be on, and there are a lot of naughty and nice musical choices. $28. Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago. Info: 773-445-3838, www.beverlyartcenter.org.

Dodge Ball Tournament. Register by Dec. 18 for Ald. Matt O’Shea’s Holiday Dodge Ball Tournament for 19th Ward elementary school students, Dec. 26 and 27, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St. Players will be grouped randomly and assigned teams. $1 per player. Register at www.the19thward.com. Info: 773-238-8766.

BACinema Screens ‘White Christmas.’ Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” (1954), Wed., Dec. 20, 7 p.m. In this holiday classic a song-and-dance duo (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) team up with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen) to perform a Christmas show in rural Vermont. $6 ($5 for Beverly Arts Center members). Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago. Info: 773-445-3838, www.beverlyartcenter.org.

Christmas Jazz Concert. Sure to delight young and old alike, catch Lowdown Brass Band at Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W. 110th Pl., Fri., Dec. 22, 7 p.m. The all-ages event is a free and will feature Christmas classics and carol singing accompanied by the powerful funky jazz of Lowdown Brass which brandishes a powerful brass frontline of trumpets, trombones, saxophones, with a funky backline of drums and sousaphone.  A freewill offering will be taken during the performance. Info: morganparkpres.org/jazz-christmas

19th Ward Children’s Film Festival. The 19th Ward Youth Foundation presents the 8th annual Children’s Film Festival Thurs., Dec. 28, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. “Despicable Me 3” will be screened at 10 a.m. and “The Nut Job 2” will be screened at 2 p.m. Admission is $1 per person per show, first come, first served, and includes the movie and snacks. Adult chaperones appreciated.

Holidazed and Confused. The Second City presents “Holidazed and Confused,” a hilariously irreverent comedy revue of the holidays, Sat., Dec. 30, 8 p.m. $25 ($23 for Beverly Arts Center members). Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago. Info: 773-445-3838, www.beverlyartcenter.org.

New Year’s Eve Party at Noon. 19th Ward seniors are invited to the New Year’s at Noon Party, Sun., Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m., Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St. The cost is $5, which includes a fried chicken lunch. Reservations are required: 773-238-8766. The event is sponsored by 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Fran Hurley, Smith Village, CHAS and KFC Beverly.

The Neighborhood is the Gallery Beverly Art Walk Day

Start seeing art in unexpected places throughout Beverly/Morgan Park. The 4th annual Beverly Art Walk on Sat., Oct., 7, 12 to 7 p.m., will feature work by more than 200 artists in over 60 alternative exhibition spaces. The Beverly Art Walk is a free family-friendly event. Walk, bike, or park and jump on one of the three free trolleys to experience all the Art Walk has to offer.

Event planners, the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, work with local small business, organizations, and artists to transform the neighborhood into a temporary gallery district. Art is housed in storefronts and restaurants, vacant buildings and outside courtyards, as well as schools and churches.  Not to be missed highlights include an East Beverly yard, which will be transformed into a performance and sound space for artists Cecil McDonald and Brother El; the currently vacant Olivia’s Garden building will be a hub of art from Bridgeport, Blue Island, Pullman, and Cleveland; and the historic Ingersoll-Blackwelder house will return to its artistic roots in displaying work by eight artists, including former owner Jack Simmerling.

Events and activities abound for people of all ages. Trinity Unites Methodist Church, 99th and Winchester, will open its stage for music and performances; at Ridge Historical Society, photographer Mati Maldre will demonstrate how a Deardorff Camera, which uses 4 x 5 sheets of film, is used for architectural photography; and five talented artists in Beverly/Morgan Park, Judie Anderson, Ray Broady, Jomo Cheatham, Pat Egan, and Brian Ritchard open their home studios for an insight on the artistic process, their inspirations, and the work they produce.

Clissold School will host the popular Children’s Park on their front lawn, 110th and Western. Artist Cindy Wirtz and Clissold student and family volunteers will offer a variety of children’s art activities, including kite making, creations from recycled materials, origami peace cranes, and more. Live music, storytelling, a food truck, the Peaceful Playground, a performance by the Pack Drumline, and an interactive public art project will all be featured.

Venues, inside and out, will also be alive with music. More than 30 local music performances will occur throughout the day, including acoustic acts, classical quartets, blues, rap, and rock-n-roll. Chicago’s vibrant music scene will be showcased across the neighborhood and at the Horse Thief Hollow main stage for featured acts. The Beverly Art Walk is also thrilled to host Front Porch Concerts, a pop-up concert series set on front porches throughout Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. Their goal is to create a unique live music experience while building community and promoting city exploration. FPC will perform in Beverly/Morgan Park—for the first time—at two locations, Brian Ritchard’s and Judie Anderson’s home studios.

For more information about Beverly Art Walk events and activities, view the program book and map online at www.beverlyarts.org. Program books will also be available at each participating venue on October 7th.

The Beverly Art Walk would not be possible without the generous financial support of local small businesses and families, as well as countless volunteer hours by the Alliance board, artists, and neighbors. Support the local arts community: purchase art, shop participating venues, and attend Alliance events. They are driven by a love for art and the people who make it, and are thankful for local businesses and organizations who embrace the arts. The Beverly Area Alliance is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.

 

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.