Stories about nonprofit and community organizations that are working to improve the neighborhood and help others.

Run, Walk, Trot or Cheer 

BAPA Hosts 42nd Annual Ridge Run on Memorial Day 

Expect some new challenges and fun changes at BAPA’s 42nd Annual Ridge Run on Mon., May 27. The race course has been recertified and will take 10K runners on a slightly different route, and the festival will offer new vendors and kid-friendly activities.  

We keep the event fresh and exciting for participants, but some things will never change for the Ridge Run,” said BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood. “The spirits of the runners will always be lifted by cheers from the spectators and beauty of our neighborhood, and participants will always be challenged by making it up Chicago’s highest hill.” 

The community’s signature event takes runners, walkers and marchers through the historic district to run the 10K, 5K and Youth Mile Ridge Runs followed by the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade down Longwood Drive. 

The Ridge Run is Chicago’s favorite neighborhood race because it expresses such a strong sense of community,” Flood said. “The cheering spectators all along the route are neighbors who have become friends and friends who have become family. It’s a symbol of belonging that, like the race, runs through the heart of our neighborhood. 

The presenting sponsor of the Ridge Run is Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers (LCMH), which generously provides the day’s health necessities including the Ridge Run doctor and first aid tent, as well as with general health information.  

A Catholic, not-for-profit hospital, LCMH been a vital health resource for the community for nearly 90 years. LCMH continues to achieve accolades for quality through its revolutionary medical technologies and services both at its home and satellite locations and was recently named among best hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. 

Presenting sponsor of the parade is the Road Home Program Center for Veterans and their Families at Rush University Medical Center (find more information on page ).  

Start Training Now! 

April is the time to get in the full swing of training for the Ridge Run. If you’ve never run before, check out the new 5K training at Running Excels, 10328 S. Western (read more on page __.) 

Students and families at local schools are also training to run as teams and compete for the 2019 school team trophy presented by BAPA. School teams are supervised by volunteers and training guides developed by Jenny Harkins of Treadfit Beverly are available for free from BAPA, contact Gary Jenkins, 


Ridge Run registration continues until race day for participants signing up for the 10K run, 5K run or untimed walk, Ridge Run Challenge 5K and 10K, and, for kids up to age 12, the untimed Youth Mile. (The wee ones can compete in the Tot Trot in the kids’ zone).  Register by May 1 to guarantee getting your Ridge Run t-shirt. Sign up online until May 20 at, then sign-up and pick up race packets through May 26 (see for registration schedule). Fees increase for race-day registration.  

Registration for participating in the Memorial Day Parade continues through May 20. Applications are available online at  on the Ridge Run page or you can request a paper application by emailing 

Race Day 

The Ridge Run begins with the 10K at 8 a.m. followed by the Youth Mile at 8:10 a.m. The Memorial Day Ceremony begins at 9 a.m. in Ridge Park and the 5K run and walk starts at 9:30 a.m.  

Make your way or stay on Longwood Drive once the 5K runners pass by! The Memorial Day Parade steps off immediately following the last runner at about 10:30 a.m., starting from 110th and Longwood Drive and proceeding north to Ridge Park.  

Post-race festivities at Ridge Park feature runner awards, food trucks and children’s activities 

Be a Ridge Run Volunteer 

BAPA’s neighborhood race travels through the heart of our community, and we need volunteers to help as course marshals at selected corners to make sure runners stay on the route, at aid stations where they hand out water and at Ridge Park. Volunteers get a great volunteer t-shirt. Interested? If you have questions, call BAPA, 773-233-3100.Sign up to volunteer at www.bapa,org on the Ridge Run page.   


Thank You Sponsors  

Ridge Run sponsors help to ensure the success of the event, and sponsorships are still available; for information contact Anna Fratto, 773-233-3100 or 

Thank you to Little Company of Mary Hospital, Mike Haggerty Buick GMC Volkswagen of Oak Lawn, Beverly Bank, Road Home Program, Southtown Health Foods, CIBC, County Fair, 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Marquette Bank, Smith Village, Whole Foods, ExcellCare Physical Therapy, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services – Biros Real Estate, Beverly Hills Animal Hospital, Home Run Inn, Chicago Park District, 670 Score Sports Radio, State Farm Agent John Harrell, IMPACT Physical Therapy, Chicago Recovery Room, Calabria Imports, Running Excels, The Beverly Review and Beverly Records.  

For more information about participating in or volunteering for the Ridge Run or Memorial Day Parade, contact the Beverly Area Planning Association, 773-233-3100, or 





Art Fair & Festival Returns to Ridge Park this Summer 

The 2nd annual Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival will take place Sat., June 22, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Ridge Park Cultural Center, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. The event is being planned by the Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC) and John H. Vanderpoel Art Association along with the Chicago Park District and will highlight cultural opportunities in Beverly/Morgan Park. 

The Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival will feature Chicago area artists working across a wide variety of media, selling original paintings, sculptures, textiles, photographs, jewelry, art glass, leatherwork and moreThe registration deadline for artists is Apr. 15 

The art fair debut last year was a resounding success, with more than 40 participating artists and a host of activities. According to art fair planners, the festivities will be expanded this year to include more artists, more live music, more kid-friendly options and more food trucks. 

As a Chicago Park District cultural center, Ridge Park offers rich and dynamic programming that will be highlighted throughout the art fair and festival. The John H. Vanderpoel Museum is located in the fieldhouse through the Chicago Park District’s Arts Partners in Residency Program, which unites artists and communities in Chicago’s parks. The Museum hosts a world-class collection of Impressionist paintings and other late 19th and early 20th century paintings and works on paper. Ridge Park Art Fair attendees will have the opportunity to take guided tours of the Vanderpoel Museum, as well as of the park facilities and ceramics studio. 

Information about the Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival is available at Donations and sponsorships are still available. For more information, contact Irene Testa,, or Mary Jo Viero, 

A ‘Chance’ Encounter: Grant Brings Arts Opportunities to Students at Esmond School 

By Grace Kuikman 

“I don’t make songs for free, I make ’em for freedom.” 

Chance the Rapper, “Blessings” (Coloring Book, 2016) 

Chance the Rapper knows Chicago, Chicago youth and Chicago Public Schools. And he knows that the arts can make lessons “sing” for young students.  

In 2017, Chance the Rapper earmarked a generous gift, called the New Chance: Arts & Literature Fund, to underwrite three years of fine arts programming in selected CPS schools. Esmond Elementary, 1865 W. Montvale Ave., is one of those schools.  

The grant enabled Esmond principal Dr. Angela Tucker to hire Sondra Davis to teach music and performance arts at the 265-student, K-8 neighborhood school.  

Last year Davis, a 16-year veteran CPS teacher and adjunct professor at Moody Bible Institute and administrator of their Community Music Schoolbegan teaching general music education with an arts integration to enhance the core curriculum, choir and drama at Esmond. She sees all of the students for instruction at least once a week, and also works with students on choir and drama performances.  

Davis enthusiastically embraces the vision for the arts developed by principal Tucker.  That vision is to use the arts to enhance student learning, tapping the children’s “hunger and thirst” for the arts, Davis said.   

A centerpiece of Davis’s program is the series of school-wide assemblies that combine history with the arts, which was kicked off last year with a Tribute to Motown and followed this winter by a Tribute to Black History. Coming up this spring is a Tribute to Jazz. A Talent Showcase is also being planned.  

According to Davis, Dr. Tucker invites the community in to enjoy the assemblies, bringing school families and neighbors together to showcase student talent and share in the excitement for lessons that are personified in the performances.  

Davis, who holds master’s degrees in vocal performance and music education, said music is excellent for students because it is “a way to bridge the gap socially” and in other ways, and because you need discipline to learn music. Davis, now working on her doctorate in educational leadership, is already seeing how the performing arts program is building self-esteem among the Esmond students while also supporting learning in academic areas.  

Another intrinsic part of the performing arts program underwritten by the New Chance funding is the Esmond School band program taught by is Roxanne Stevenson, a professor at Chicago State University.  

Grammy Award-winning music artist and community activist Chance the Rapper was born and raised in Chicago. He recorded his first full length mixtape while a senior at Jones College Prep High School in 2011, and within the year started earning recognition and awards for his music. He has performed throughout the world. Through his Social Works Chicago organization, Chance the Rapper supports initiatives designed to empower young people through arts, education and civic engagement. 

According to Davis, some of the benefits of the arts programming funded by New Chance include enlarging students capacity of learning, promoting their ability to express themselves, [allowing] them to make real world connections and [broadening] their scope of engagement to encompass the ideas and talents of their peers.”   

Or, as the Social Works Chicago website says, “To inspire creativity, to build dreams, to let you be you. 

Learn more about the initiative at Learn more about Esmond School at 




Client Choice Model New Standard at Food Pantry 

By Kristin Boza 

The Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry, located in Morgan Park United Methodist Church at 11030 S. Longwood Dr., has shifted its services to the Client Choice model, per the Greater Chicago Food Depository updated standards. The Client Choice program allows needful families and individuals to shop the pantry just like a supermarket, giving clients numerous choices that will better serve their needs. 

“The Client Choice model gives clients with food insecurities the dignity and choice of food and the innovative experience of being in a grocery store,” said Karen Overstreet, director of the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry. “Our clients are a mix of people down on their luck, senior citizens trying to make it month-to-month, or people who are sick. This model gives our clients a sense of self-worth.” 

It has taken the 36-year-old food pantry nearly a year to revamp and reorganize the existing space to adhere to the new layout guidelines, including providing additional floor space, storage, refrigeration and shelving units.  

Each client can choose a specified number of food and personal care items based on their family size.  

“Clients can now choose between varieties of hot and cold cereal, oats and grits, tomato sauces, and numerous other options,” Overstreet said. The biggest change for volunteers and organizers is ensuring that the shelves are well-stocked with a great variety of items. No longer will clients be simply given a bag of food, some of which they don’t need, want or even like. 

“Our clients are absolutely loving this new layout,” Overstreet said. “It has empowered them and gives them choices so there’s less waste. We serve 60655 and 60643 zip codes, and there’s a lot of food insecurity here. Our clients are so glad to be able to choose fresh produce, butter or margarine, eggs, fresh bread, and even deciding between apples and pears and red potatoes or white. These choices make a big difference in their lives.”  

Perhaps the only downside to the Client Choice model is keeping a variety of items in stock. “We are bursting at the seams, since we need to have so much more on hand than we did before in order to accommodate our clients,” Overstreet said. “We’re constantly in fundraising mode and we’re looking for different organizations, schools and churches to help us out and hold food drives for us so we can keep our shelves stocked.” 

The Morgan Park Juniors have stepped up to this challenge in a new fundraising effort to support the food pantry. The group will host the movie “Big Night” on Weds., Apr. 10, 7:30 p.m. at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W, 111th St. This 1996 comedy/drama film follows two brothers who run an Italian restaurant in financial trouble, and their preparation for a feast to prove their worth to the communityTickets are $10, and a cash bar is available. The Beverly Arts Center is donating the use of the Baffes Theatre, and all proceeds will help the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry. Tickets can be purchased on the BAC website or at the door.  

“The Morgan Park Juniors used to host a community garage sale in the fall, but this year we wanted to change it up a bit,” said Virginia Siegel, Morgan Park Juniors member. “We also recognize that food necessity goes on all year long, so an April fundraiser would be welcomed as families prepare for their Easter meals.” 

For those seeking to support the food pantry on a regular basis, Overstreet is hoping for 300 households to commit to donating money each month. “Our needs have changed so much that monthly contributors are welcome so we can renovate our space and continue to accommodate the community,” she said. 

For those needing food assistance, simply stop by the food pantry on Tuesdays or Fridays between 1 and 3 p.m. or call 773-239-3013 for information. 

Program Highlights Chicago’s First African-American Banker 


The Ridge Historical Society (RHS) is sponsoring a program on Jesse Binga, Chicago’s first African-American bankerat the Givins Castle, 10244 S. Longwood Dr., Sun., Apr. 7, 2 p.mPresenter Don Hayner will discuss his book, Binga, The Rise and Fall of Chicago’s First Black Banker, scheduled for release in November.  

Jesse Binga (1865 – 1950) was a prominent real estate businessman who founded the first privately owned African-American bank in Chicago in 1908 to serve black clients denied service at white-owned banks. 

According to an article written by Hayner for The VillagerJesse Binga came to Chicago in 1892 with 10 dollars in his pocket and by 1919 he was a wealthy realtor, Chicago’s first black banker and a lightning rod for the worst race riot in Chicago history.” 

In 1908. Binga opened a bank at 36th and State — the first black-owned bank in Chicago. He built a home in a white area and his house and offices were bombed numerous times. Animosity between whites and blacks led to a major Chicago race riot in 1919. 

Hayner, a lifelong Chicagoan and Beverly/Morgan Park resident, retired as editor-in-chief of the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper in 2012. He has co-authored three books including Streetwise Chicago, A History of Chicago Street Names. 

The cost of the RHS program is $10 per person and all proceeds will go to the Givins Castle Restoration Fund. The Beverly Unitarian Church, owner of the Castle, has started an initiative to raise money for repairs to the Castle turrets. Donations to this fund will be used for preservation of the Castle, not for church operations.  

As space is limited, program reservations are suggested. Call 773881-1675 or email Tours of the Castle will be available following the program.  

You Are My Neighbor Explores Boundless Compassion

The Southside Catholic Peace and Justice Committee, in coordination with local organizations and faith groups, will host the next You Are My Neighbor event, “Disrupting Violence,” Thurs., Apr. 11, 7 p.m., St. Barnabas Church, 10134 S. Longwood Dr. The presentation features Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., author and founder of Homeboy Industries, along with local Chicagoans working on anti-violence initiatives.   

Fr. Boyle is the author of the New York Times-bestseller “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion” and founder of Homeboy Industries in East Los Angeles, the largest gang intervention program in the world. In his Apr. 11 presentation, he will talk about his experiences in the poor and violence-prone neighborhoods where he began his ministry 30 years ago which led to founding Homeboy Industries.  

With Father Boyle as its leader, Homeboy Industries has grown from a small community effort to a $20 million organization that provides opportunities for young people in poor and isolated neighborhoods to change the direction of their lives through resources that “disrupt” the effects of past violence and trauma. 

Leading up to the event, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 9401 S. Oakley, invites are residents to join in exploring the theme “Boundless” at midweek Lenten discussions Wednesdays through Apr. 10. “At a time when the divisions between people seem to be growing stronger and more painful, Father Boyle’s work reminds us that God calls us to boundless love. We hope to explore practical ways to build peace by ‘standing with’ one another in solidarity and love,” said Bethlehem Pastor Jennie English-Dumont. More details can be found on the congregation’s web site, 

In his presentation in April, area residents will hear Father Boyle tells the stories of trauma and hope, and how a community built on the virtues of boundless love and radical kinship encourages us all to embrace the humanity and dignity of all of our neighbors, no matter how we differ by race, income, class and experience.   

Homeboy Industries provides opportunities for young people in poor and isolated neighborhoods to change the direction of their lives through resources that “disrupt” the effects of past violence and trauma. Services include counseling, high school classes, job readiness preparation, day care services and tattoo removal.  

Southside Catholic Peace and Justice, together with a coalition of local churches and organizations, has hosted two You Are My Neighbor events focusing on the plight of refugees and immigrants in our country. Both events drew close to 1000 attendees 

“The success of these events is the result of the community collaboration that took place among our churches and grass roots organizations,” said Maureen Gainer Reilly, one of the organizers. “The invisible lines that sometimes exist in Beverly/Morgan Park between residents and faith communities are fading by building relationships and focusing on our shared hopes for our neighborhood and City.  

These groups followed the example set by the community leaders who hosted the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” campaign, a collaborative neighborhood effort in 2016 to raise awareness and stem gun violence in the city for a single day.  

April Nightlife

Beverly Arts Center 

2407 W. 111th St. 

The Special Consensus performs acoustic bluegrass, Sat., Apr. 6, 8 p.m.  The Leadfoot Band opens. $25 in advance ($23 for BAC members); all tickets $30 at the door.  

Andrea Robinson performs sMOkeyTOWN, a tribute to Motown and the music of Smokey Robinson, Fri., Apr. 12, 7:30 p.m.  $25 ($23 for BAC members). 

Tributosaurus becomes The Band Sat., Apr. 23. 8 p.m. Don’t miss Chicago’s favorite cover band performing The Band’s hall of fame hits from the 60’s and 70’s. $40 ($36 for BAC members). 

Stomping Grounds, featuring dance companies from a variety of world cultures participating in a narrated performance and Q&A with the audience, comes to the BAC Sun., Apr. 13, 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are free on a first come, first serve basis. 

BACinema is hosting Appetizing April – two outstanding movies about cooking. “Big Night” with Stanley Tucci, and Tony Shalhoub, is Wed., Apr. 10 and “Julie & Julia” starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams is Wed., Apr. 24. Both showings are 7:30 p.m. The “Big Night” screening is a fundraiser for the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry hosted by the Morgan Park Juniors, tickets $10. Admission to “Julie & Julia” is $6 ($5 for BAC members).  

115 Bourbon Street 

3359 W. 115th St.  

A 5-week trivia competition for “Friends” fans starts Thurs., Apr. 11, 7:30 p.m. Test your knowledge of the ins and outs of Ross and Rachel’s relationship for the chance at a $5,000 grand prize. Info and sign-up online.  

Live music every Thursday and Friday starting at 10:30 p.m. Swing by to listen to 80s and 9’s cover-bands as well as original music by local musicians. 

Harte’s Saloon 

9858 S. Artesian 

Saturday, April 20 at 10pm, Harte’s Rocks Off, Rolling Stone tribute group, Sat., Apr. 20, 10 p.m.  $5 cover.  Band info 


O’Brews & Views & YOU! 

Join BAPA to raise a pint on the Open Outcry rooftop, cheering our community and watching the South Side Irish Parade, Sun., Mar 17 

The 21 and over party begins at 10:30 a.m. and features eats, beats, brews and an exclusive birds-eye view of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade from the new rooftop seating area at the brewpub, 10934 S. Western. The ticket price includes a delicious spread of Irish favorite foods, two complimentary drinks plus drink specials, Irish coffee bar, live Irish music by Bohola, Irish dancers, and a wrist band that gives revelers the option to roam and then return to the rooftop.  

Call your clan and make a date to enjoy the festive South Side Irish atmosphere. Wondering about the weather? Don’t be! All rooftop guests are invited to drop in downstairs at Open Outcry if parade day is chilly or damp.  

Tickets are $75 for BAPA members or $85 for non-members and available at Sorry, no children. Proceeds will benefit BAPA’s work in Beverly/Morgan Park. Many thanks to Compass – Jeni Nelson Real Estate, O’Brews and Views Sponsor. 



Alexa, Did You Just Say ‘Visit the Village in the City?’  

BAPA and the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association have partnered on a year-long campaign to promote The Village in the City, Beverly/Morgan Park. Geared to encouraging people to visit for the neighborhood’s wide variety of events and entertainments, audio spots will stream on the digital formats of WXRT, WBBM, SCORE and B96. Spots will change frequently, but messaging will focus on Beverly/Morgan Park as a great place to visit, live, play, shop and open a business. All spots will direct listeners to learn more at March spots will promote Irish culture events including the South Side Irish Parade and Liz Carroll concert at the Beverly Arts Center. Tune in to any of the participating stations on your streaming devices to hear the spots.  



Get in Step for the Ridge Run. BAPA and Running Excels offer Walk to Run Training that can take you from the couch to the finish line for the Ridge Run 5K on Memorial Day. Weekly training sessions begin Sat., Apr. 6. Details and sign-up  or call 773-233-3100.  


March to Remember 

The Beverly/Morgan Park Memorial Day Parade is one of the oldest neighborhood parades in Chicago, and its purpose is to remember the men and woman who fought and died for our freedom. Be a part of the event that brings our community together to honor our United States Armed Forces. For an application or information, contact Grace Kuikman, 773-233-3100 or 


42nd Annual Ridge Run is May 27 

Registration is underway for BAPA’s 42nd Annual Ridge Run on Memorial Day, Mon., May 27. Choose from the 10K run, 5K run/walk, 10K/5K Ridge Run Challenge or 1 mile youth run to challenge your athletic skills or just have fun. Sign up is easy online at Register by May 1 to guarantee getting your Ridge Run t-shirt.  

The Ridge Run is one of the best days to be in Beverly/Morgan Park! Whether you’re running or walking in the races, marching in the Memorial Day Parade, or lining the route cheering on the racers and the parade, don’t miss the fun! Join in the fun at Ridge Park too! Food, beverages and family activities continue until 1 p.m.  

For more information about the Ridge Run or Memorial Day Parade, call 773-233-3100 or email 


Help Us Honor Our Veterans 

Ald. Matt O’Shea, State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep.Fran Hurley, BAPA and the Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association, will host the 19th Ward Veterans Day Breakfast in November to honor all those who have served or are currently serving our country. The organizations request that 19th Ward veterans or their families contact Margie Olsen, 773-238-8776 and provide the veteran’s name, address, phone, email and branch served. Information can also be submitted at www.the19thward.comHelp us honor the men and women who have given so much for our country.  


Home Tour Doors Will Be Opening Soon! BAPA’s Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour will be held Sun., May 19, 12 to 5 p.m. One of Chicagoland’s longest running Home Tours, the event will bring visitors into private homes and an historic church and feature a variety of tastings and experiences.  


Grappling With A Luminous Doom 

Five artists meditate on the mystery, magic and beauty of our planet, and the impact of our growing detachment from nature’s wisdom in “Grappling With A Luminous Doom, an exhibit hosted by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., opening Sun., Mar. 3, 2 to 4 p.m.  

The exhibit continues to Apr. 7, and reflects the disconnect between “modern” societies and nature that has led to the decline of important ecological habitats and biodiversity that sustain the earth.  

Artists whose work will be on exhibit are Brian Ritchard and Elaine Miller, both residents of Beverly/Morgan Park, and Sharon Bladholm, Victoria Fuller and Jennifer Cronin.  

“My work has always revolved around the intersection of art and nature,” wrote Brian Rirchard. I am passionately interested in how humankind sees and interacts with the natural world, and how the age-old genre of landscape painting can be updated and reinvigorated. 

Ritchard, a landscape painter with over 20 years of studio and exhibition experience, does deep research on focused subjects to inform his work. For ten years, his paintings documented the explosive growth of wind power across the Great Plains states. His recent explorations along the Colorado River have taken him to Lake Mead, the giant artificial reservoir created by Hoover Dam.  

“Here in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the melted snow that comprises the Colorado River is collected and politically allocated in the form of hydroelectric power and water for the entire American Southwest,” Ritchard wrote. “Lake Mead has been evaporating and losing replacement volume since the 1980s, leaving the distinctive “bathtub ring” that indicates previous highwater marks on the ancient landscape.” 

Ritchard spent many weeks in 2018 out west making site studies and painting watercolors. The intensive work inspired the artist to expand his palette and learn how to paint new landforms, textures and spaces. The resulting oil paintings are being completed in his Beverly/Morgan Park studioand will be debuted in the BAC exhibit.   

“Nature, its tragedies and its glories, has always exhilarated and reassured me,” wrote Elaine Miller. “In my practice, I try to celebrate the magnificence of the natural landscape and to record our impact on it.”  

Miller sees her work as a way to connect people to an earlier time when people were closer to the natural worldand to document the destructive results of indifference. “This exhibit is about is trying to connect people to nature and to an understanding of the huge losses we are experiencing through climate change and habitat degradation,” Miller wrote.   

Miller is fine artist who paints murals (you can see her work in the parking lot at 95th and Longwood Drive). She worked for many years doing backdrops for commercial photographers and painting sets for films and commercials. Since moving to Beverly/Morgan Park, Miller maintains a in studio in historic Blue Island. 

Sharon Bladholm works in a variety of media including cast glass, bronze and ceramic sculpture, as well as printmaking and works on paper. She has run Opal Glass Studios since 1983, and has completed many commissioned pieces for galleries and museums, as well as public art installations at the Garfield Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, France.  

Jennifer Cronin’s starkly real paintings and drawings explore what it means to be human.  She recently traveled to a remote Native Alaskan village where she documented the effects of climate change.  Her new work is inspired by her trip and our changing planet. 
Cronin has exhibited widely in the Chicago area, as well as nationally and internationally.  She has been featured in many publications and earned numerous awards.  Most recently, Cronin has been awarded a grant from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation to support the development of her new series of work.   

Victoria Fuller is a sculptor, painter and natural science illustrator. She has studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, Parson’s Paris Program (France) and earned a graduate degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has appeared in galleries, museums and public spaces Internationally. She is best known for Shoe of Shoes, a large-scale shoe-shaped sculpture composed of thousands of aluminum high-heels in front of Brown Shoe Company, and for her large scale sculpture, Canoe Fan, made from canoes forming a fan shape. 

“Grappling With A Luminous Doom” is curated by Carla Winterbottom and Sal Campbell. The exhibit is open during Beverly Arts Center open hours in the Simmerling Gallery. Admission is free. The name of the exhibit is taken from the poem “Sleeping in the Forest” by Mary Oliver.  

Benefits Go Both Ways for Equestrian Therapy Volunteers  

By Grace Kuikman 

Kathy Sanders and Mary Lenzini both looked into the Holistic Riding Equestrian Therapy (HRET) because they love horses. Certainly, getting to work with horses as HRET volunteers is a nice part of the commitment. But what Sanders and Lenzini – and so many other HRET volunteers – have come to really love is the people they serve in this very special program. 

Sanders and Lenzini, both Beverly/Morgan Park residents, have been HRET volunteers for several years, assisting children and young adults with special needs who benefit from the unique therapeutic effects of riding horses. The program, which gives so much joy and health benefits to participants, requires a tremendous amount of organization and a tremendous number of volunteer hours.   

Marlene Karman, HRET Executive Director and Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) certified trainer, started the program several years ago with her husband Art Karman, Equestrian Manager, using their own horses and funding to help just one childToday, the not-for-profit program assists more than 30 riders each week and offers more than 200 classes a year.  

HRET staff and volunteers receive extensive training in order to provide skill-appropriate equestrian therapy services that are designed to improve physical, emotional, cognitive and social aspects of the lives of individuals with special needs and, beginning this year, veterans.   

The ten horses trained for the program range from ponies to a retired Chicago Police Department horse that was donated to the program to a retired thoroughbred polo pony which Sanders share boards. The horses live with a variety of other animals on a farm near the Palos Forest Preserves. HRET classes are held at the farm, using indoor and outdoor arenas, and, when weather permits, nearby horse trails 

Sanders and Lenzini were both impressed by the program from day one of their involvement.  

Sanders is trained as an exerciser and horse leader which allows her to ride the horses, warming them up before classes and cooling them down after. She grew up riding horses, and really enjoys the handson work she does with the animals as well as the clients. In classes, Sanders works with a sidewalker – one of two volunteers per horse who keep the riders stable and secure — to guide the horses through the class sessions and anticipate behaviors that may affect the lessonSanders also puts in a lot of time working with the horses outside of classes 

Lenzini also volunteers as a sidewalker and, in addition, helps with fundraising. Because she works full time, she devotes most of her volunteer time during the summer. She grew up riding horses during vacations at her grandparents’ farm, and said she was “profoundly happy” when she first started volunteering with the equestrian program and seeing how therapeutic the riding sessions were for the clients. 

Through the program, riders can improve their core strength, relax muscles, increase mobility and develop ways to communicate. “It’s heartwarming to be a part of their successes,” Sanders said. Volunteers spend a lot of time with clients and their families, which Sanders and Lenzini agree is a wonderful experience. 

As the program grows, volunteers like Sanders and Lenzini, and other Beverly/Morgan Park neighbors Edris Hoover, Linda Temple, Katie Gervais and Jean Ryan become more and more important. In 2018, volunteers logged 5600 hours with HRET, nearly double the number of hours needed in 2017.  

HRET now offers volunteer training once a month, and is seeking compassionate, dedicated adults who are interested in learning more about the program. For information on volunteer training, email or call 630-878-8096. For more information on the program and other ways in which it can be supported, visit