Please Support BAPA’s Work in Our Community


The pandemic forced the cancellation of BAPA’s major fundraising events – Home Tour, Ridge Run & Memorial Day Parade, and Beverly Hills Cycling Classic Bikes & Brews – eliminating funding sources vital to our operations.


Restrictions inspired BAPA to invest our scarce resources into free programs to meet the changing needs of our neighborhood. Here are some of the things we accomplished:

Small Business Support

  • Promoting your business on Instagram webinar with expert Maggie O’Reilly
  • Digital marketing webinar with expert Jason Wiley
  • Business planning webinar with Ivan Ruiz from Beverly Bank & Trust
  • Special business coverage in The Villager

Community Spirit

  • Bike Beverly initiative with online maps of safe local bike routes
  • Support of Divvy bikes
  • Retooled History Mystery Bike Adventure for summer/fall family-friendly games
  • Friday Night Live livestreamed porch concert series supporting local musicians
  • We Love Smith Village vehicle parade
  • Happy Birthday to Korean War vet Rico Miller vehicle parade
  • Remembering Brian Piccolo vehicle parade

Community Outreach

  • Donated Home Tour booties to a hospital in need during COVID-19 treatment crisis
  • Slow Down safe driving campaign
  • Delivered senior meals donated by Franconello restaurant
  • Supported 19th Ward Youth Foundation free meals to area first responders and medical personnel
  • Donated to and supported Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry
  • Brought Beverly Bakery donuts to 22nd District police officers
  • Developed BAPA Cares COVID-19 Response resources at
  • Co-hosts weekly Free Store with Turpin Cares and 19th Ward Mutual Aid
  • Hosted a job search webinar with expert Megan Connolly
  • Listed local business/restaurant updates to promote shopping and eating locally in weekly enews and The Villager

School and Teens

  • Presented CPS Community Service Awards to students in neighborhood public schools
  • Launched the BAPA Teen Service Corps volunteer group
  • Presented the BAPA Cares pandemic response webinar


  • Socially distant spring clean and green clean-ups
  • Weeding Wednesdays at area parks and public areas
  • Pitch in for the Parks special park clean-ups


As a not-for-profit organization, BAPA depends on donations from residents and businesses to continue working on the issues that keep our community strong, safe, connected and thriving. Support us by making a donation or joining as a BAPA residential or business member.

Camping Out at a (Social) Distance

The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared” and scouts from Troop 607 at Bethany Union Church were well prepared when they organized a troop campout in mid-April. The Troop usually camps out at least once a month, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the March outing was cancelled.

“We were not going to be deterred by a pandemic for April, so we got creative with an old fashioned (socially distant) backyard camp out,” said Michael Rudd, Scoutmaster for Troop 607. The troop has been using the Zoom platform to hold weekly meetings and Rudd thought that connection could be extended to the scouts’ backyards. He presented his idea to the Youth Leaders at the Patrol Leaders Council Meeting, and the “social distancing” campout planning was put into action.

“The scouts applied their scouting skills to do the menu and activity planning on our Wednesday night Zoom troop meetings and individually leading up to the April campout,” Rudd said.

The outing brought the scouts “together” to have some fun and share the campfires they built.

Working with Assistant Scout Masters Michael Crispo (also Cubmaster for Pack 3607) and Olivia Patch Stevenson as well as parents and scouts, they put together a pandemic-appropriate event.

“It brought the families together for fun and fellowship through the scouting program, which was very much welcomed in these stressful times, Rudd said. The scouts prepared dinner and breakfast for their families using a combination of campfires and their home kitchens.

The April campout included eight scouts, three leaders, several siblings (including cub scouts) and about eight parents.

“Even though the temperature was cold, hearts were warm with family time and the Zoom virtual campfire hanging out with their friends,” Rudd said. 

On May 19, Troop 607 will be 99 years old! The scouts and leaders have already begun planning

The 100th anniversary celebration for next year, organizing 10 months for 10 decades of service projects to give back to the community starting in August. Share ideas for the projects and connect with past Troop members on Facebook at Bethany Union Church Troop 607 100th Anniversary.

A Message from BAPA’s Board President

By Maureen Gainer Reilly


It’s a word that most of us almost never used to use, and now it’s become the word we call on every day as our community, city, state and country respond to the novel coronavirus. It’s a word that has grown to evoke negative connotations, but it is also a word of hope.

As our community has grappled with unprecedented stay-at-home orders, catastrophic unemployment and school closures, we have also stepped up to the plate with unprecedented generosity.  We’ve rallied in support of local businesses, cared for our neighbors and committed to finding a way to be the best parents, workers and teachers we can be every day. We have filled our windows and yards with messages of hope and gratitude for first responders, healthcare and essential workers. We have opened our hearts to people who are struggling through grief, separation from loved ones and isolation. We have embraced who we are as a community and – coming together even as we are apart – created a community that is even stronger and more resilient.

Yes, what is happening around the world and in our little corner of the globe is an unprecedented crisis, but there is also beauty and powerful connection. I love where I live now more than ever before. And I love the opportunity as BAPA Board President to work hand-in-hand as BAPA’s small but mighty staff has responded to COVID-19. They’ve developed comprehensive online resource guides for small businesses and residents, delivered pasta dinners to seniors unsettled by the order to shelter in place, traversed the neighborhood on personal clean-and-greens, organized a car parade that gave hundreds of local residents the chance to lovingly (and loudly!) support Smith Village, and even answered calls for referrals to trusted tradespeople for emergency home projects.

The staff at BAPA has been busier than ever helping our community stay strong and connected during these unprecedented times. But the organization is also facing unprecedented challenges. For the first time in 44 years, there will be no Ridge Run or parade on Memorial Day, and no Home Tour on the third Sunday in May – events that provide critical funding for BAPA. We’re hoping to reschedule for the fall, but there’s no way of knowing when we’ll be able to safely host these events.

We know many of our loyal and generous supporters are hurting right now. People are laid off or have lost jobs, their businesses’ doors have been closed, or their medical bills have been rising. Please know that we are not asking for financial support from our neighbors who can’t help BAPA this year. We are hoping those of you who can support us, will.

Now more than ever before, Beverly/Morgan Park needs BAPA to be keeping our community connected, positive and purposeful during this crisis.

Please join me and my family in making a 2020 membership contribution to BAPA in any amount that’s affordable. If you’re able, considering covering those neighbors who will not be able to give to BAPA this year.  You can use the membership envelope inserted in this issue of The Villager or join online at If you have any questions or need more information, please call on BAPA Executive Director Mary Jo Viero, 773-233-3100 or

Together, as neighbors helping neighbors, we’ll make it through these unprecedented times to a bright and better future.


Neighbors Helping Neighbors – Update

As we all keep our social distance it’s more important than ever that we are a community of neighbors helping neighbors: check on one another, follow the common-sense rules for keeping yourself and others safe, and remember to support local businesses. Thank you to all medical people, first responders and others who are staying on the job to make sure our country keeps running. BAPA will keep sharing community information and updates in The Villager, in our weekly enews, on social media and at

 BAPA staff is currently working from home and can be reached via email: Mary Jo Viero, Executive Director,; Grace Kuikman, Assistant Director and Villager editor,; Brittany Wiley, Business Liaison,; Cathriona Fey, Community Outreach and Improvement,; Tina Jenkins Bell, School Liaison,; Gary Jenkins, Community Safety Liaison,; and Talie Leeb, office manager,  

BAPA Cares Resources

Now more than ever, businesses and community residents need access to resources that will help them weather the pandemic financially, physically and emotionally. The new BAPA Cares resources website provides links to a wide variety of local, city, state and federal programs that can provide the kind of help you need. Click here to connect.

Ways to Help

Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry, 11030 S. Longwood Dr., needs donations of money and dry goods to meet increased emergency needs for people in 60643 and 60655. Needed are boxed cereal, canned chicken, tuna and salmon, bottled water and juice, pancake mix and pasta, as well as cleaning and hygiene products such as soap, disposable face masks, sanitizing wipes and diapers. Monetary donations also needed to purchase food from the Greater Chicago Food Depository; place cash and checks made out to Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry in sealed envelopes. Info: 773-239-3013 or Karen Overstreet

19th Ward Office staff and volunteers continue fundraising, organizing and delivering meals that are prepared by local restaurants for first responders, medical personnel and seniors. Support this ongoing effort through the GoFundMe

Turpin Cares is collecting food, hygiene products and donations to help homeless people and others in need in nearly communities. Find out what they need and how to donate

Get details and sign up for the Meal Train providing meals for OSF Little Company of Mary ICU, Emergency Room and Nursing Staff.

Quilters Trunk, 10352 S. Western, and 19th Ward Office are providing fabric to make face masks for medical personnel and first responders. Here is how it works:  Find plastic bags with 4 pieces of fabric (enough for 8 masks) in the blue tub that is being placed at The Quilter’s Trunk front door; make masks with two different fabrics (inside and outside); place completed masks back in the plastic bag and return them to the blue tub.  Questions?

At Beverly Bakery, 10528 S Western, the little food pantry in the front hall is open for those in need, accepting donations and giving food away, weekdays, 2 to 4 p.m. Beverly Bakery is also taking orders for carryout food weekdays until 1 p.m. Info: 773-238-5580.

Ways to Stay Healthy

Find teletherapy opportunities locally and learn about staying mentally healthy in The Villager

Telehealth services for those at risk of COVID-19 are available through OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center for people who show COVID-19 symptoms or are at a high risk for contracting the virus, but do not require emergency or inpatient care. To seek care through the program, call 833-673-5669. OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary also offers expert advice on staying well during the pandemic, including a live chat. Click here to access the website

Beverly Yoga Center is offering classes online through their website

Barre it All Fitness offers online classes at  and click “on demand access” to sign up.

Do Good Movement, daily yoga for adults and children at

CORE Fitness and Physical Therapy offers a “virtual studio” option, Pilates and fitness classes 7 days a week, and physical therapy and telehealth appointments. Registration/info

Beverly Barre offers live Instagram workouts; get details at

Treadfit is posting workout challenges on Facebook,

Things to Do At a Distance

The Great Connections Beverly Discussion Group is now online to read and discuss excerpts from classic texts with powerful relevance to modern life. To join, RSVP Questions? Email Felicia or call 773-677-6418.

Chicago Public Schools remote learning continues. Visit your child’s school website, and .

Edna White Community Garden and Illinois Extension Master Gardeners will be planting gardens to supply fresh produce to the Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry. Keep up on the details and learn how to volunteer at the Edna White Garden Facebook page

Chicago Public Library tutoring and homework assistance through Brainfuse, 2 to 11 p.m. A valid library card may be necessary to access services. Visit

The Chicago Police Department has compiled a list of Internet Safety tips for parents and school aged youth

Community Resources

The City of Chicago has a created a Coronavirus Response Center website to provide residents with access to the latest information on a range of topics regarding COVID-19.

19th Ward Service Offices, 773-238-8766 or

Get COVID-19 updates from the Chicago Department of Public Health at

Eat, Drink and Shop Local

Our restaurants and stores need your business! Purchase gift certificates, order carryout meals from restaurants, shop online. Dollars spent helping our business neighbors helps our community stay strong. BAPA is updating local business info If you have a business update, email info to Brittany Wiley, BAPA Business Liaison,

Food and Drink

For many of the following businesses, details about their hours and offerings are available on their Facebook pages.

County Fair Foods, 10800 S. Western, is open from 7 to 8 a.m. for senior shoppers only; all others can shop after 8.

Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St., is now limiting 10 customers at a time in the store. Curbside pickup and juice bar orders accepted via phone, 773-233-1856.

Markland Hubbard Gourmet Provisions, 1739 W. 99th St., 773-233-0632, is selling coffee by the cup or by the pound, as well as some pastries and gourmet packaged foods from Stonewall Kitchen and Frontier Soups. More about Markland Hubbard

 Ain’t She Sweet Café, Beverly, 773-840-3309. Carryout & Delivery through GrubHub.  Details

AndySunflower Café, 312-961-3171. Mobile, drive-up orders.

 Bani’s Beets, 773-599-9764. Curbside pickup and delivery.

Nine One One BBQ Shack, 773-238-9111. No-contact curbside delivery.

Americanos, 773-941-6787. No-contact curbside delivery and margaritas-to-go.

Original Rainbow Cone, 773-238-7075. Carry-out or delivery.

Waldo Cooney’s Pizza, 773-233-9781. Delivery.

Pizzeria Deepo, 773-840-3087. Curbside pick-up.

Horse Thief Hollow, 773-779-2739. Curbside pick-up Tues. through Sat., 4 to 9 p.m. New carryout menu.

 Nicky’s Grill, 773-233-3072. Carryout & delivery.

 Fox’s Beverly Pub, 773-239-3212. Carryout & delivery.

 Franconello, 773-881-4100. Curbside pickup and delivery.

Beverly Bakery and Café, 773-238-5580. Pick-up and delivery, until 1 p.m.

Calabria Imports, 773-396-5800. Curbside pickup and delivery, Mon through Fri., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Manzo’s Burger was temporarily closed; check in at 773-779-5945 or

Swanson’s Deli, 2414 W. 103rd St., 773-239-1197, is open for pickup and delivery, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mon. through Fri., and is now offering meal kits along with regular menu and take home meals.

Open Outcry Brewing Co., 773-629-6055. Curbside pick-up and delivery.

 Two Mile Coffee Bar, 773-614-8115. Order over the phone for pick up (assistance available on request).

Ken’s on Western, 773-238-0234: Free delivery and curbside pick-up, 4 to 8 p.m.; daily specials in addition to the regular menu.

Top Notch, 773-445-7218. Carryout.

 Hearty Café, 773-881-1000 carry outs; delivery via Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grub Hub.

 Lume’s Pancake House, 773-233-2323.  Curbside pickup, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 Barracos 95th Street, 773-881-4040. Area locations open 24 hours for carryout and delivery.

Business Services

SCORE mentor Kevin Scanlan is offering free virtual mentoring.  See Kevin’s profile here.  For more information, email

Support Local Businesses

Despite closures, businesses owners are staying connected with customers. Check out these options.

 Brach’s Auto Center, 10333 S. Western, provides all repair services with free vehicle pickup and drop off, no contact dropbox, and vehicle sanitization after service. Info: 773-238-0606 or

 Beverly Records, 773-779-0066. Shop via Facetime appointments.

 Turkey Chicago, 773-941-4751. Shop online or via social media.

 Belle Up, 773- 233-2442. Shop online or via social media.

Bookie’s – Chicago.  Shop online including digital and audio books.

Tranquility Salon.  Shop online.

Olivia’s Garden, 10730 S. Western, opens Sat., May 2, 10 to 4 p.m., limit of 12 customers at a time for social distancing. Details on Facebook

City Grange Beverly will be opening May 9 at 1818 W. 99th Street, using social distancing with customers and delivery  Find more info on Facebook  or the website 

Running Excels, 773-629-8587. Curbside pickup and delivery within a 5 mile radius; regular store hours open. Details

C&D Family Farms offers products from some of the favorite vendors from the 95th Street Farmers Market on their website The opening of the market has been postponed until further notice, but items ordered through C&D will be delivered to Beverly/Morgan Park on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Check in at the 95th Street Farmers Market Facebook for updates.



Beverly Unitarian Church is offering worship services via Facebook on Sundays, 10:30 a.m. followed by Zoom coffee hour chat. Archived services are available on the church’s YouTube page).

Trinity United Methodist Church, offering services at and church Facebook, Sundays 9:30 a.m.

Morgan Park Presbyterian Church is offering video streaming and phone-in worship. Details

Eat, Drink and Shop Local

Responding to the coronavirus requires us to maintain a safe distance – not what we’re used to in our close-knit, sociable community. Even from home we can work together to make it through these unprecedented times and stay informed on what is changing and what is needed. Below is a list of Beverly/Morgan Park restaurants offering carry outs & delivery and businesses offering special ways to shop. 

For many of the following businesses, details about their hours and offerings are available on their websites or Facebook pages.

County Fair Foods, 10800 S. Western, is open from 7 to 8 a.m. for senior shoppers only; all others can shop after 8.

Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St., is open. Reach them on Facebook or at Offering groceries as well as a variety of beauty and healthcare products.


Ain’t She Sweet Café, Beverly, 773-840-3309. Carryout and delivery through Grubhub. Details

Beverly Bakery & Café, 773-238-5580. Carryout and Delivery. 7am-2pm Weekdays, 7am-1pm Weekends. Details

Barney Callaghan’s Pub -773.233.6829 – open 3pm – 7pm for curbside beer pickup.  $15 domestic cases, $25 import cases.

Horse Thief Hollow, 773-779-2739. Carryout and free local delivery Tuesday-Sunday 4PM-9PM, 25% off Crowlers on Tuesdays, merchandise available for purchase. Details

Open Outcry Brewing Co., 773-629-6055. daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., delivery or curbside pickup. Order 32-oz Crowler cans, kitchen menus items, gift certificates and merchandise. Credit card only.  Details

Swanson’s Deli, 773.239.1197 – open for pickup and delivery 10am – 3pm.  Now offering meal kits along with regular menu and take home meals. Details.

Pizzeria Deepo, 773-840-3087. Carryouts, curbside pickup. Details

Nine One One BBQ Shack, 773-238-9111. No-contact curbside delivery. Carryout. Facebook page 

Top Notch, 773-445-7218. Carryout.

Barracos 95th Street, 773-881-4040. Area locations open 24 hours for carryout and delivery.  Details

AndySunflower Cafe: 9920 S. Western Ave. Accepting mobile, drive-up orders. Details

Manzo’s Burger – 773.779.5945 – open for curbside pickup and delivery – For delivery orders please text your order and address to 773-349-0453. We will be delivering from 95th st. to 127th st. from Pulaski to Ashland  Details

Nicky’s Grill, 773-233-3072. Carry out and delivery. Details and menu

Ken’s on Western, 773-238-0234. Free delivery within 2 miles or curbside pick-up, 4 to 9 p.m. Details

Calabria Imports, 773-396-5800. carry out or delivery. Details

Fox’s Beverly Pub, 773-239-3212. Carryout and delivery, lunch and dinner. Details

Americano’s, 773-941-6787. 11060 S. Western Ave. No-contact curbside delivery and Margaritas-To-Go! Details

Franconello, 773-881-4100.  Curbside pickup and delivery, heat and serve meals and sauces. Wine Delivery Details

Bani’s Beets, 773- 599-9764. Curbside pick up and delivery. Details

Hearty Café, 773-881-1000 carry outs; delivery via Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grub Hub. Details

Two Mile Coffee Bar, 773-614-8115. Available for carry out. Place an order over the phone or through mobile ordering system for rapid pick up. Curbside assistance available upon request. Details

Pizzeria Deepo, 773-840-3087. Pay and order over the phone for curbside pick-up. Details

Retail Specials

Beverly Records, 773-779-0066. Shop via Facetime appointments or in store. Details

Running Excels, 773-629-8587. Shop by phone or by FB messenger. Curbside pickup contactless payment and free delivery within a 5 mile radius. Details 

Turkey Chicago. Shop online or via social media.  Details

Belle Up, 773- 233-2442. Shop online or via social media.  Details

Bookie’s – Chicago is open for shopping online including digital and audio books.

Steuber Florist 773.238.2013 – taking orders 10am-2pm Monday-Friday

Brach’s Auto – 773.238.0606 – All services available, FREE vehicle pickup and drop off, no contact dropbox, vehicle sanitization after service


Businesses Temporarily Closed

Beverly Arts Center 

Ohana Ice & Treats

Original Pancake House, 773-445-6100

Capsule Chicago

Starbucks 103rd and Longwood Drive

Health and Fitness

Do Good Movement: Daily adult and children yoga. Details

CORE Fitness and Physical Therapy: Posting daily workout challenges on Facebook: Details

Beverly Barre: Live Instagram workouts: Details 

Beverly Yoga Center: Online classes available: Details

Treadfit: Posting workout challenges on Facebook, Details

Barre It All Fitness, (872) 256-1397, 8-10 online live classes a day Sunday-Monday. For details and a free week visit us Here and click “free trial.”

Fit Code: Unlimited Virtual Training Sessions for 21 days with a donation of your choice. 70% of the donation used to buy gift cards from local businesses and 30% goes to trainers at Fit Code. Details

Dance Gallery 773.445.8910 Streaming workouts and dance classes on Facebook Details


Mental Health

Beverly Therapists – 773.310.3488 – offering teletherapy

Begin Within Therapy– offering teletherapy

Mirjam Quinn & Associates – offering teletherapy

C&D Family Farms has made arrangements with a few 95th Street farmers market vendors to distribute their products on their website. Coming soon at will be products from Honey and Jam, Feed Your Head vegan meats, Long Table pancake mixes and bread from Breadman Baking.

Eat, Drink and Shop Local

Our restaurants and stores need your business! Purchase gift certificates, order carryout meals from restaurants, shop online. Dollars spent helping our business neighbors helps our community stay strong. BAPA is updating local business info on this page. If you have a business update, please email info to Brittany Wiley, BAPA Business Liaison,

Infographic with 25 ways to support small businesses



New Neighbors: Jessica and Paul Payne 

New Neighbors 

Jessica and Paul Payne 

Jessica and Paul Payne moved into their Beverly/Morgan Park home on Aug. 21, 2019 and couldn’t be happier to be here. After a dozen years in a South Loop condo near UIC, they were smitten with our friendly neighborhood at first sight. As with many of our new neighbors wharrived here without a history in the community, the Paynes learned about Beverly/Morgan Park from coworkers.  

Paul works for the City of Chicago and many colleagues raved about how wonderful the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood was and we couldn’t agree more!” Jessica said.  

The couple had outgrown the condo lifestyle and were ready house with a garage – Pau’s hobby is woodworking  and space for family and friends to stay when they visit.  Both were both born and raised in Cadillac. Michigan area.  

“We looked at almost 30 homes before finding our dream home, which was nothing we were envisioning!” Jessica said.  

When asked what they like best about living here, Jessica gave an enthusiastic reply “The people!”   

Their block party was held the weekend they moved in “Everyone on the block made sure to greet us and truly welcome us to the neighborhood,” Jessica said.  “The sense of community was prevalent immediately. Our letter carrier made sure to welcome us to the neighborhood and said many residents are second or third generation as people just don’t leave Beverly once they are here. We loved hearing that! 

Although they do not have any childrenJessica and Paul have nieces and nephews ranging from 6 months to 19 years old. “Knowing we were in a safe community with diversity, a yard to play in, and access to incredible healthcare among a plethora of food, shopping, parks, et cetera, made it that much more exciting to be here.,” Jessica said. “Plus, we aren’t that far from the Loop so we really have the best of both worlds.” 

The Paynes have been involved with two not-for-profits outside the community and are excited to become volunteers here at home. They will certainly be hearing from BAPA!  

In the few months they’ve been here, Jessica and Paul have discovered a lot to love about where they live. We LOVE to eat (who doesn’t?) and so far, we haven’t had a bad meal,” Jessica said.  Beverly Park has been a top hit with our nieces and nephews and it’s just 2 blocks from our house. We stop at Swanson’s or Nicky’s on the way to the park and a few hours later, we’ll stop at 7-11 for a Slurpee on the way home. Kids love it! 

The Paynes also enjoy events, and cited the Beverly Art Walk, Sip & Shop Girls Night Out, and Breakfast with Santa at the Givens Beverly Castle as part of what makeBeverly/Morgan Park so popular and so inviting.  [We] applaud the everyone that gets involved to keep our neighborhood thriving with excitement and opportunities. 

Jessica and Paul are looking forward to spring. “You’ll be sure to find us out and about exploring everything Beverly/Morgan Park has to offer. 


Are you new to the Beverly/Morgan Park or do you know someone who recently moved here? Let BAPA know! BAPA welcomes new residents to the community and shares information about local organizations, schools, businesses, events and more to help new neighbors become a part of our community. Send contact information to Mary Jo Viero, or call 773-233-3100.  


New Exhibit Decodes Hidden Messages 

By Grace Kuikman 

What could hip hop writes and quilting have in common? Each of these art forms can convey hidden messages. Hidden Messages: Decoding Secrets, a new exhibit opening Fri., Feb. 7, 6 p.m. at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., will reveal through paint, dance and fabric, how the secret languages of symbols, letters and movement connect these wildly different genres 

American history quilts by Beverly/Morgan Park artist Dorothy Straughter and dance and hip hop writes (commonly called graffiti) by Chicago artist Poppin Chuck Bledsoe tell stories using symbols. They first met about three years ago at the Stony Island Arts Bank, and soon after, both artists had their work in a show at the Dorchester Art & Housing Collaborative. “From that grew the realization that our art forms worked together and shared hidden messages,” Straughter said.  

A member of the Beverly Arts Center’s Diversity Committee, Straughter proposed an interactive exhibit, showcasing one art form that people think of as a homey folk art and another that many people think of as an urban street culture. Both are strongly rooted in African American traditions. 

According to Straughter, the symbols stitched into quilts that were used to guide runaway slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad can be linked to centuriesold Andikra symbols from West Africa that held and conveyed special meanings 

When first introduced to the hidden messages in Underground Railroad quilts, Straughter was inspired to research this history. Through the symbols sewn into quilts and painted like simple decorative elements on barn and buildings, valuable information was shared to keep people safe and help them on their journey to freedom. 

A self-taught quilter, Straughter combines her passion for African American history with her remarkable skill to create quilts rich in symbols and stories. The large quilts depict images often steeped in negative stereotypes, yet beautiful because they are crafted in saturated colors and intricate patternsStraughter’s Underground Railroad quilt will be on exhibit at the BAC, and Straughter will provide detailed information on the history connected to each pieceHer quilts have been exhibited throughout Chicago at galleries and art centers as well as museums. 

Poppin Chuck has been in the hip hop world since the 1970s, and is a master of the hidden messages painted into the colorful, explosive tagging known as hip hop writes, as well as hip hop danceAccording to Straughter, the people who built the hip hop culture were outliers who used dance and art to express themselves, create identities and communicate with other outliers.  

There’s a difference between “writes” and “graffiti,” Straughter said. “The word ‘graffiti’ has a bad connotation,” she said. “[‘Writes’} is just a style of writing their name so friends knew they were there.” Bledsoe’s impressive work can be enjoyed and interpreted in the exhibit.  

The unique movements in hip hop dance evolved from a variety of dance forms including the soft shoe, tap dance and even the Lindy Hop. As part of the exhibit, people will view videos of various dances, get a sense of the physical art hip hop, and try to follow some moves using footsteps on the floor as their dance instructor. 

As part of the exhibit experience, the BAC will host two special events. “Decoding the Secrets,” a free artist talk by Dorothy Straughter and Poppin Chuck Bledsoe, will be held Fri., Feb. 21, 6 p.m., and will include a “quilt flip” (Straughter’s American history quilts have related images on both sides). BAC hip hop instructor Chris Nasadowski will lead a Hip Hop Workshop and Dance Battle Fri., Feb. 28, 6:30 p.m.$10.  “Hidden Messages” continues at the BAC through Mar. 8.  



Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir Welcomes New Director 

By Kristin Boza 

Larry Deweese has been named as the new Musical Director for the Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir, currently entering its 21st season. This spring season’s theme is “A New Vision,” which applies to both the new decade and their new leadership. 

Deweese studied music at Millikin University, including choral conducting under the world-renowned choral director Dr. Brad Holmes. He spent 21 years educating elementary and middle school children, with 12 of those years devoted to music education; he currently is the K-3 elementary music teacher in Peotone, Ill. 

“I’ve had many years of experience as a church music director in a variety of denominations,” Deweese said. “I am currently the Minister of Music at the Presbyterian Church in Orland Park, where I’ve led the music ministry for over 13 years.” 

A resident of Willowbrook, engaging with the Beverly/Morgan Park community is new to Deweese. “I am encouraged by the diversity that I find when I am in the area; my taste in choral music is diverse, and I believe that performing diverse music reaches each and every listener, while expanding their musical palettes to new genres,” he said. “It’s like going to a buffet; there’s always something you’ll love, maybe even something that will evoke memories of the past. There are also new dishes to try, and many other dishes will satisfy you!” 

Joining the Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir does not require an audition and membership is open to anyone in the community. The choir usually boasts 50 members that represent 25 churches in the area. The first choir meeting for music pick-up and intriductions to Deweese is Sun., Jan. 12, 3:15 to 5 p.m.Immanuel United Church of Christ, 9815 S. Campbell Ave. Rehearsals will be each Sun., Jan. 19 through Mar. 223:15 to 5:15 p.m. at Immanuel UCC. The spring concert will be held on Sun., Mar. 29, 4 p.m. at St. Cajetan Church, 2445 W. 112th St. 

The community is encouraged to come out and join the choir or attend the concert. For more information on becoming a member, visit 

Chicago Railroad History Posters Available 

Chicago Railroad History Posters Available 

The Blackhawk Railway Historical Society, a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, is selling the poster by Mitch Markovitz celebrating Chicago Railroad History Month and the rich history of Chicago’s railroads. The celebration of October as the month honoring the relationship between the city and the railroads began two years ago, and a larger celebration in 2023, the 175th anniversary of the first train to operate out of Chicago, is being planned. 

The 20×30 inch poster illustrates a number of iconic images of the city’s railroad history. This includes the streamlined diesel Zephyr passenger train, a steam powered freight and the observation car of a Chicago & Alton passenger train. The classic background of the Chicago skyline includes the long lost Union Station Concourse and Grand Central Station. South Shore and Illinois Central electric trains complete the scene. Markovitz’s art includes book covers, illustrations and posters for a number of clients that including railroads. The poster evokes his knowledge and passion for railroads and their history. 

The Blackhawk Railway Historical Society, celebrating its 50th anniversary, has been involved in various aspects of railroad preservation and historical research. They have funded a number of preservation projects and consulted with a variety of groups on local preservation efforts.  

The posters retail for $35 plus shipping and handling. Limited edition, hand-run premium prints signed by the artist are available at prices up to $250. Purchase posters and learn more at www.blackhawkhistoricalsociety.orgMore information on Chicago Railroad History Month can be found at or by contacting David Daruszka, 773-233-8788. 

Santa Sightings and Holiday Happenings

December is a busy month in Beverly/Morgan Park. Here’s a list of events from Christmas tree sales to breakfast with Santa to holiday markets.  


Forty artists will offer high quality artisanal items, from jewelry and knitted items to photography and ceramics at the 5th annual Uprising Holiday Market, Sun., Dec. 1, 12 to 5 p.m., Olivia’s Garden, 10730 S. Western. Find the perfect holiday gift or gift to self. Enjoy live music, raffled gift basket, dining options, and festive cocktail creations by Steering Cocktails. Not your momma’s craft fair! $5 donation requested to support the Beverly Area Arts Alliance. 

Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W. 110th Pl., presents its annual professional performance of Handel’s “Messiah” Sun., Dec. 1, 3:30 p.m. Singers from throughout the community with join the church choir and the Classic Act Ensemble and Chatham Choral Ensemble in the performance which will be conducted by Maestro Charles T. Hayes. The concert will feature Monica Perdue as Soprano, Allison Selby Cook as Alto, Jeffery Burish as Tenor, and Arthur D. Griffin, Jr. as Bass. An orchestra coordinated by David Howard will accompany the musical masterpiece. Tickets are available in advance at or 773-779-3355, $20/adults or $15/seniors and students; children under age 10 free.  

Bethany Union Church, 1750 W. 103rd St., church organized governed and supported by a community of believers who come from many backgrounds and traditions, invites neighbors to join them this month for Advent Sunday services 10:30 a.m., including the annual Build-a-Manger service and Caroling on the Corner on Dec. 22; and the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Dec. 24, 9 p.m. Info: 773-779-0123 or  

The Lutherans have a history of singing hymn and drinking beer. According to legend, Martin Luther, the 16th century Reformer, set some of his hymns to the familiar tunes of drinking songs popular in the tavernsHymns will be returned to the tavern as Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church hosts its second Beer & Hymns, Mon., Dec. 2, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Open Outcry Brewing Co., 10934 S. Western. All are welcome for an evening of fellowship and singing a variety of hymns and holiday songs led by Bethlehem organist David Ritter. Song sheets will be available. Open Outcry serves beverages and food, and is familyfriendlyLocated at 9401 S. Oakley Ave., the church invites area residents to join them this month for Advent Sunday Worship at 9:30 a.m.; Wednesday evening Advent Contemplative Services and Bible study; the Do It Yourself Nativity, Dec. 22, 9:30 a.m.; Christmas Eve services at 3 and 10 p.m.; and Christmas Carol Worship, Dec. 29, 9:30 a.m. Info: 773-445-7558 or  

Chicago Kids Company presents “Mrs. Claus: A Holiday Musical,” selected weekdays 10:30 a.m. and noon; and Sat. Dec. 14 and 21 and Sun., Dec. 22, 1 p.m., Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Geared to younger children, this one-hour musical gets the audience involved in helping Mrs. Claus and the elves help to save Christmas. $14 to $18, and group rates available. Tickets/info: or 773-205-9600.  

Visit participating businesses between Sacramento and Pulaski for the Mount Greenwood Holiday Stroll, Fri., Dec. 6, 4 to 7 p.m. Enjoy music, special characters, raffles and holiday sales.  

Vendors will be selling a wide variety of items for holiday giving, holiday decorating, as well as candy, home décor, fabric items, candles, ceramic pieces, jewelry and more at the 3rd annual Christkindl Market, Sat., Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Olivia’s Garden, 10730 S. Western. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., children can enjoy visits with Santa (with photos by Maplewood Photography), face painting and cookie decorating.  

A holiday tradition that spans generations, Santa will visit the Givins Beverly Castle, 10244 S. Longwood Dr., Sat., Dec. 7, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. to enjoy breakfast with families and hear Christmas wishes from the kids. $5 per personThis event is hosted by Beverly Unitarian Church.  

Volunteers will be selling 100 beautiful Fraser fir Christmas tree sales at the Castle on two weekends: Dec. 7 and 8 and Dec. 14 and 15, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (open earlier on Dec. 7 during Breakfast with Santa) in the church parking lot, 10244 S. Longwood Dr. Don’t wait until the last minute! They expect to sell out! 

The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus performs the holiday extravaganza, “Holidisco,” Sun., Dec. 8, 3 p.m., Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. The performance will bring disco renditions of beloved holiday favorites to the stage with tantalizing glitz and glamour. The show features eight dance numbers, five solos, and over 150 singers performing homages to Gloria Gaynor, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Kool and the Gang, and even a Handel Disco Messiah. “It’s an all-ages show. Tickets are $28 at the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus website, Seating is general admission and on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The businesses at 99th and Walden Parkway invite shoppers and revelers to the Walden Holiday Market, Thurs., Dec. 12, 6 to 9 p.m. Get into the holiday spirit with shopping, musiccraft cocktails and more 

“Elf the Musical Jr.” will be performed Dec. 12 through 15 in the Beverly Arts Center Baffes Theatre, 2407 W. 111th St. Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole where he is raised as an elfWhen his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth that he is humanBuddy embarks on a journey to discover his true identity and bring the true meaning of Christmas to New York City. The show is performed by BAC theatre students. Thurs., Fri. and Sat. curtain time of 7 p.m., and the Sunday matinee starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 ($10 for BAC members) at 773-445-3838, or www. or at the BAC. 

Open Outcry Brewing, 10934 S. Western, and The Christmas Tree-O presents Vince Guaraldi’s timeless, A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Thurs., Dec. 19, 8:30 p.m. All 11 tracks of the 1965 classic will be performed by The Christmas Tree-O. No cover. Seating is first come, first served, and limited.  

Christmas Jazz Concert with the Lowdown Brass Band will be performed at Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W. 110th Pl., Fri., Dec. 22, 7 p.m. Free for all ages, the community is invited join in the carol singing accompanied by Lowdown Brass. The nationally recognized band combines stellar vocal harmonies, adventurous improvisation, movement and grooves to create an infectious sound that has something for every listener. Their Christmas album, very much in the style of New Orleans, features original arrangements of Christmas classics. Free will donations accepted.