New Neighbors Enter the Art Scene

By Kristin Boza 

Dance and art are passions of new neighbors Megan Wright and Nate Otto.  

Wright grew up in Beverly/Morgan Park and built a dance and art career on the foundation she learned at the Beverly Arts Center.  

Otto, who grew up between Deerfield and Michigan, is a talented artist seeking to leave his mark in Beverly/Morgan Park. Along with their toddler son, Oscar, and pup, Rizby, the Otto/Wright family is excited to explore and create in our community. 

The family moved to their new home from Ukrainian Village in March — right at the start of the global pandemic. Subsequent shelter-in-place orders definitely put a damper on the couple’s enjoying the restaurants and shops. However, they have spent a lot of time biking and exploring in and around the Dan Ryan Woods, and they’re looking forward to attending as many community events as possible in 2021.  

“We like to go on bike rides to explore the neighborhood; it really is a beautiful place. It’s nice to have a house and a yard during these strange times,” Otto said. As an artist, Otto enjoys working from home in his basement studio, although he still plans to resume work at his Wicker Park studio in the future. 

Wright grew up here and moved back to be closer to her parents; the large lots satisfied her longing for a yard, and she appreciates the neighborhood’s diversity, architecture and beautiful trees. She is currently on the faculty at the Chicago High School for the Arts, Ballet Chicago and the Beverly Arts Center, and independently offers classes for adults via Remote Ballet. Wright holds a B.A. in psychology from DePaul University, and danced professionally after high school.  

“The Beverly Arts Center gave me my start and I’ve loved coming full circle to teach there. It’s such a gem of a place. We held our wedding reception there in 2012, and it feels nice to give back. I feel great knowing that a lot of my students moved on to teach at the BAC; it’s been a huge part of their lives and many others,” Wright said. 

Otto has been an artist his entire life, turning it into a full-time career eight years ago and selling his pieces through galleries or directly to customers via Instagram @ottonate. A graduate of Columbia College, Otto is known for drawing and painting in his own unique style. His latest passion is creating murals, having completed approximately 40 over the last five years in offices and various outdoor spaces. He hopes to create a mural in Beverly/Morgan Park. 

“Since we moved here at such a strange time, we haven’t engaged as much with the neighborhood as we would in normal times. This is the first time in my adult life living in a place where you know the neighbors. I’m used to being somewhat anonymous,” Otto said. “We are probably mysterious to our neighbors, but hopefully someday the world will return to normal and we will get to know the people on our block.” 

“We’re looking forward to really being a part of a new community, but also keeping our roots and friends in our previous community,” Wright said. “Coming back here is familiar, but also brand new in a lot of ways. Beverly seems to be growing in diversity and small businesses, and we can’t wait to explore them all soon.”