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Alt Walk and Pandemograms: How The Alliance is Transforming Art Appreciation in a Pandemic 

By Kristin Boza 

Everyone is feeling the pinch in this pandemic, but artists, musicians, and service industry workers have seen every avenue to promote their livelihood eliminated in recent months. Festivals are cancelled, music venues and art galleries are closed, and restaurants and bars — the ‘day job’ of many professionals in the arts community — have limited operations or reduced hours.  

The Beverly Area Arts Alliance (The Alliance) is using their creative power to provide artists and musicians with opportunities to showcase their work outside of the now-cancelled Beverly Art Walk and Uprising Market events to ensure they can continue to earn a living.  

“So many things have been cancelled for artists and musicians; it’s been devastating for them to lose opportunities to exhibit and sell work,” said Monica Wilczak, co-creator of The Alliance. “When we first started the Art Walk, it was all about how to use art as a means of economic development in the neighborhood. Many businesses who participated noted that the Art Walk day was often their best sales day of the year. We are proud of that, and are seeking alternative ways to ensure both the arts community and our neighborhood businesses, both of which are struggling, can be supported.” 

The Alliance launched a backyard concert series, selling a very limited number of tickets to ensure they remain at the 50-person cap outlined by the State of Illinois in this stage of pandemic reopening. “We are planning a couple more in September, and we’re thinking through the process of what Art Walk can look like since we can’t have groups of people coming together or have businesses at full capacity,” Wilczak said.  

Hence, the birth of Pandemograms in partnership with the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association. This public art project fosters connection between artists and community members, and activates small business hubs to support the local economy. The Alliance commissions local artists to create displays for select business windows and create sites where artists and community members can creatively bridge separation. Window Walks to see the Pandemograms are encouraged.  

Four Pandemograms installations can already be found, including: 

Dorothy Straughter’s “Homage To Humanity” quilt at Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St. (Dorothy creates extraordinary quilts that delve into history; as she says, it’s not just African American history, it’s American History,” said Sal Campbell,  Alliance co-creator); Tim Anderson’s paintings at Two Mile Coffee Bar, 9907 S. Walden Pkwy.TC English-Dumont’s paintings and Robin Power’s ceramics at The Blossom Boys, 1810 W. 103rd St.; and patio murals by Katherine Kampf, Phil Cotton, Matthew Dicks, Brendan McAlinden, Jay Williams, and Jeremy Craig Michael at Horse Thief Hollow, 10426 S. Western Ave. 

Numerous other local businesses will have installations in the coming weeks. In place of the Beverly Art Walk, the Alt Walk will be a Pandemograms explosion throughout the neighborhood. “We will put out a map of all locations so people can go on self-guided tours,” Wilczak said. “We also hope to have a dedicated space curated by The Alliance that works with local artists to showcase their work. This would be a space where the community is invited to be interactive and share their feelings about what’s gong on. It will be a safe space to use arts and music to deal with all that we’re dealing with and reflect and respond to it in a creative way.” 

Since the Alt Walk won’t be limited to one day, Campbell said there will be QR codes for the installations so people can learn more, connect with the artist, and purchase the art. “This way, people can access art on their own time; it really opens it up and makes Art Walk a 24/7 event,” Campbell said. “We hope people will set aside an evening when everything will be lit up and they can bike, walk, or scooter around the neighborhood and check it all out. We’re adapting and doing the best we can to support local businesses, artists, and each other.”  

Stay connected to The Alliance, Pandemograms,  and the Alt Walk by following them on Facebook, Instagram @bev_artalliance, and BeverlyArts.org. Donate to the Arts for Illinois relief fund through ArtsForIllinois.org/Donate. 

Beverly Art Walk #5

The Beverly Area Arts Alliance (The Alliance) is gearing up for Beverly Art Walk Week at the end of this month. This year carries with it a hint of something special, as 2018 marks the organization’s fifth anniversary.  

For the first time, the popular Beverly Art Walk artist studio tours will take place on a different day to allow visitors more time to appreciate the artists’ and their places of work. Ten artists will showcase their studios, located from 90th and Oakley to 111th and Hoyne, on Sun., Sept. 23, noon to 5 p.m. Artists will provide guests with unique insights into their creative processes, their inspirations and the work they produce. Studios will feature artist collaborations and live music. Libations will also be served. A reception at Wild Blossom Meadery, 9030 S. Hermitage, will follow the Artist Studio Tour from 5 to 7 p.m.  

The Alliance, which was formed by local artists and community activists, has seen a tremendous growth since its inception in 2014. Alliance cofounder Monica Wilczak said this growth spike is why the Artist Studio Tour is being held on a separate day this year. With such a high number of participating businesses and art activities on the day of the Beverly Art Walk, the studios themselves would be overlooked, she said. 

“These studios should be highlighted,” Wilczak said. “They’re the backbone of the art in our neighborhood. It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t make time for them.” 

As part of the Artist Studio Tour day, The Alliance and the Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative will partner on Terrain Fest, an event that celebrates diversity and imagines a more walk-able, bike-friendly community, 2 to 4:30 p.m. Ride your bike to the corner of 95th and Hamilton for an afternoon of food, music and art. Learn how you can support more bike lanes in the 19th ward. A group will then ride bikes to the reception at Wild Blossom Meadery 

Beverly Art Walk Week continues with a special edition of The Frunchroom Tues., Sept 25, 7:30 p.m., Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Presented by The Alliance, The Frunchroom is a quarterly event that brings live stories of the South Side to the stage from writers, business owners, artists, teachers and others. Storytellers for the evening include Clare Hartfield, author of “A Few Red Drops,” and writer/researcher Rayshauna Gray whose forthcoming book is titled “Roseland.”  A $5 donation is requested to support the work of The Alliance. 

The Beverly Art Walk will be held Sat., Sept. 29, 12 to 7 p.m. Exhibitions of works by more than 200 artists will be showcased in 50+ local businesses and vacant storefronts across the commercial corridors of Beverly/Morgan Park. Special Art Walk events include the Uprising Craft Market, live music on two main stages, interactive art activities for children at Clissold Elementary School, and food and beverages at several locations. People can start the Art Walk at any participating location where they can pick up a program that includes a map of venues and information about the artists and activities.  

Three free trolleys will provide transportation between participating venues during the event, and The Alliance also encourages biking or walking during the event. It’s a great way to see the neighborhood, said Wilczak. 

“The whole point of the Art Walk is to engage with the businesses and people in our community,” she said. “If you take your time walking or riding a bike, you might stumble across someone or something you’ve never seen before. 

The Beverly Art Walk is free and all are welcome. Cofounder Sal Campbell said this inclusivity is what makes The Alliance so excited about this event every year.  

“We have a diverse neighborhood and a diverse art scene,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to come together and celebrate something that we can all appreciate.” 

For more info, visit www.beverlyarts.org 

Public Art Installation Coming to 99th Street

Quantum Me, a permanent piece of public art created by Chicago artist Davis McCarty will be unveiled at 99th and Walden Parkway amid a community celebration on Sat., May 19 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Quantum Me s a sculpture fabricated from mirror polished stainless steel and dichroic Plexiglas, is the 19th Ward’s installation through the City of Chicago’s 50×50 Neighborhood Arts Project.

Among the people planning to gather for the installation are Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), artist Davis McCarty, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association Executive Director Caroline Connors, and Co-Directors of the Beverly Area Arts Alliance Monica Wilczak and Sal Campbell. The public is invited to the installation which will be followed by a block-party style celebration between 99th and 100th Streets on Walden Parkway.

‘This is a great opportunity for us to come together and show Mark Kelly and the City that we are a neighborhood that loves and supports art,” Campbell said.

Quantum Me is a piece of art that will be easy to love” Colorful, ever-changing and offering a reflective perspective of viewers and the environment.

“If you walk around Quantum Me, the colors will magically change before your eyes,” McCarty said. “Two people standing in different locations can actually see different colors looking at the same spot.”

People who gather for the celebration will be among the first to have a close-up look at the sculpture that is sure to draw a lot of attention and visitors at its spot just across the street from the 99th Street Metra Station.  The celebration will include live music by blues vocalist Sheryl Youngblood, micro-brews from Horse Thief Hollow and Open Outcry Brewing Company, food from local establishments, and a preview of the Brews, Bags and Art competition coming up on May 20. All of the 99th and Walden businesses will stay open late for the event.

McCarty’s companion piece to Quantum Me is installed in Rogers Park, book-ending the city. Quantum Me is a giant spherical ball that transports the viewer into the sky. The Rogers Park sculpture is reversed, with the ball on the ground.

McCarty grew up in Southeast Asia where his parents were missionaries. He moved back to the United States to attend school at Beloit College in Wisconsin, majoring in computer science.  His work is influenced by Asian temples as well as science and technology.

The sculptures McCarty created for the 19th Ward and Rogers Park will last for decades because of the materials used to create them. “They will look as great in 50 years as they do today,” McCarty said.

The polished steel portion of Quantum Me is made from the same material as the Bean in Millennium Park. “As a society, we use images to share our experience with others,” McCarty said. “Creating a sculpture that allows people to photograph themselves in the art while simultaneously capturing the city is a great way to commemorate the experience of visiting Beverly. I hope to make people ask ‘where is that?’ and want to plan their own visit.”

McCarty’s Quantum Me was selected for the 19th Ward by a panel of community members, including representatives from BAPA, the Ward office, residents and artists. The project was spearheaded by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

Public Art Installation Coming to 99th Street in November

By Kristin Boza

A permanent piece of public art will be unveiled at 99th and Walden Parkway in November. “Quantum Me” is an impressive sculpture fabricated from mirror polished stainless steel (similar to “Cloud Gate” — The Bean — in Millennium Park) and dichroic Plexiglas, and the creation of Chicago artist Davis McCarty. The piece is the 19th Ward’s installation through the City of Chicago’s 50×50 Neighborhood Arts Project.

“Quantum Me” will give viewers an incredible color-changing perspective on themselves and the environment.

“I was inspired by the idea of bending spacetime to jump from one location to another faster than the speed of light,” McCarty said. “If you walk around ‘Quantum Me,’ the colors will magically change before your eyes. Two people standing in different locations can actually see different colors looking at the same spot.”

McCarty explains that this phenomenon is just how sub-atomic particles behave. “We get to witness on a large scale a very amazing part of the universe through this sculpture,” he said.

The idea of teleporting is carried through McCarty’s companion piece, to be installed in Rogers Park. “Because my sculptures are book-ending the city on the north and south, they speak to each other. The idea is that you can stare into one and teleport yourself into the other,” he said. “With ‘Quantum Me,’ people will look up into a giant spherical ball that warps them into the sky. The Rogers Park sculpture is reversed; the ball is on the ground. Viewers will have a similar but different experience.”

McCarty grew up in Southeast Asia where his missionary parents started schools in Thailand and the Philippines. He moved back to the United States to attend school at Beloit College in Wisconsin. “A lot of east Asian temples influence my art. I appreciated the temple that people built that took hundreds of laborers 40-50 years to complete. I love a plain, modern design aesthetic, but I always add extra scroll work and other details to show people the time that it took to create,” he said.

Science and technology are infused within McCarty’s art. “I used to be a lot more of a nerd; I was a computer science major in college, but after doing that for a few years I realized I liked gaming but not coding,” he said. “I had a corporate job for nine years, and made the leap to full-time artist about two months ago. It was one of those things where I got two big commissions and thought ‘if there’s ever a time to do it, now is the time.'”

The sculptures for the 19th Ward and Rogers Park took McCarty about four months to complete and, because of the materials used to create them, they will last for decades.

“They will look as great in 50 years as they do today,” McCarty said. “As a society, we use images to share our experience with others. Creating a sculpture that allows people to photograph themselves in the art while simultaneously capturing the city is a great way to commemorate the experience of visiting Beverly. I hope to make people ask ‘where is that?’ and want to plan their own visit.”

McCarty’s “Quantum Me” was selected for the 19th Ward by a panel of community members, including representatives from BAPA, the Ward office, residents and artists. The project was spearheaded by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

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.

 

Neighborhood Notes

Live Music Sundays. Cork & Kerry, 10614 S. Western, hosts Live Music Sundays this summer, 3 to 5 p.m. This month: Joe Fascetta, July 2; Eric Ortiz, July 9 and 16; Jay O’Malley, July 23; and John and Phil, July 30. Next month: Joe Facetta, Aug. 6 and 27; Jay O’Malley, Aug. 13; and Dan Harvey, Aug. 20.

July at the BAC. Free Live Music Mondays continue through the summer in the Beverly Arts Center courtyard, 7 p.m.; no concert July 3.  Performing on the main stage are John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band performs Fri., July 14, 8 p.m. and Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, Sat., July 29, 7:30 p.m. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W.111th St., 773-445-3838. Info and tickets: www.beverlyartcenter.org.

Memory Care Support Group. Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Pl., invites area residents who are caregivers for older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to a free memory care support group Wed., July 5, 6:30 p.m. Smith Village memory support coordinator Diane Morgan will talk about the stages of dementia, different types of behavior and a variety of communication techniques. Caregivers will be able to ask questions. Reservations: 773-474-7300 or familyandfriends@smithvillage.org.

VIA Block Sale. Vanderpoel Improvement Association (VIA) is planning an association-wide block and yard sale, Sat., July 8. Shop for a variety of items on Wood, Vanderpoel, Prospect and Charles between 95th and 99th streets. Info: Ruta Spencer, 773-351-5460.

How to Be a Beekeeper. The Historic Pullman Beekeepers Club welcomes anyone interested in learning about beekeeping and the wonderful life of bees to their next meeting, Sun., July 9, 12 p.m., 614 E. 113th St. Info: 773-744-8888, 773-259-4439 or BeekeepersinPullman@gmail.com.

Second Sunday Book Club. Open Outcry Brewing Co., Bookies and Beverly Arts Center invite area readers to join them at the Second Sunday Book Club, Sun., July 9, 2 p.m., at Open Outcry, 10934 S. Western. The first book is “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley, the book on which the movie “Lion” was based, available at Bookies, 10324 S. Western. On Wed., July 26, 7:30 p.m., book club participants will receive $1 off on their ticket to see “Lion” at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.

Picnic and Event Permits Available at Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center. Permits for picnics and events in the Forest Preserves can be purchased at the visitor center at Dan Ryan Woods, 87th and Western. The Woods is one of the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s most popular sites. Permit sales at Dan Ryan Visitor Center will be available through Labor Day, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Permit purchases by credit card only. Visitors can also obtain information on other Forest Preserves offerings and upcoming events. Permits can also be purchased online at fpdcc.com/permits, where site availability, grove maps and the various fees associated with grove rentals are also available.  Dan Ryan Woods has long offered visitors a scenic location to gather with family and friends while being surround by nature. Amenities at Dan Ryan Woods include playfields, 16 picnic groves, a 120-guest pavilion and a sledding hill.  Hikers, bikers and walkers can traverse a nearly 1-mile loop trail in Dan Ryan Woods Central, and access the Major Taylor Trail in Dan Ryan Woods North. Dan Ryan Woods South visitors can access various unpaved trails that weave through open and wooded areas. For assistance with online permit purchases, call 800-870-3666. For more information on Dan Ryan Woods or other Forest Preserves locations, visit fpdcc.com.

Food Truck Fridays at Cork & Kerry. Cork & Kerry Tavern, 10614 S. Western, is hosting a summer of family-friendly Food Truck Fridays in the beer garden. Each week a different food truck will be selling and serving Cork & Kerry patrons from 5 to 8 p.m. The July schedule is Bruges Brothers, July 7; Toasty Cheese. July 14; Happy Lobster, July 21; and Aztec Daves, July 28. The July beer specials for Food Trick Fridays are Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy and Berry Weiss.

Big City Basketball Camp. The Church of Chicago will host the Big City Basketball Camp July 10 through 21, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Vanderpoel School, 9510 S. Prospect Ave. The camp welcomes children in 3rd through 8th grades and participants will develop sportsmanship and teamwork through skill training, contests, life lessons and healthy competition. Every camper gets an equal opportunity to play and learn, and a t-shirt, basketball and awards poster. Info: 773-672-7230 or www.churchofchicago.org/bcbc.

Longwood Writers Guild. Longwood Writers Guild, a critique group for adult creative writers, will meet Mon., July 10 and Mon., Aug. 14, 7 p.m., BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Bring a piece you are working to read aloud for critique or work from a prompt. Into: longwoodwritersguild@gmail.com.

Movie in the Park.  The Chicago Park District will screen “The Peanuts Movie” at a free Night Out in the Park Tues., July 11, dusk (about 8:30 p.m.), at Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St. Bring a blanket, lawn chair  and family and friends, and enjoy an evening under the stars watching Charlie  Brown and Snoopy undertake a heroic quest.

Workshop Goal is Student Success. Own It Chicago is offering a series of summer workshops for students ranging from junior high to college that will help students learn organizational skills, develop better study habits, and strengthen time management and self-advocacy. Upcoming workshops will be held Wed., July 26, 3 to 5:30 p.m. for junior high students and 6 to 8:30 p.m. for incoming freshmen; Tues., Aug. 1, 6 to 8:30 p.m. for current high school students; and Wed., Aug. 2, 6 to 8:30 p.m. for college students. All workshops are held at Morgan Park Academy, 2153 W. St., and are designed to help evaluate their own learning styles and build an individualized plan to be successful in the upcoming school year and beyond. Info: www.ownitchicago.com or ownitchicago@gmail.com

Yoga at Edna White Garden. Edna White Garden, 1850 W. Monterey Ave., is hosting a variety of yoga classes this summer: Goddess Yoga with live music with Brendan and Erin, Thursdays, July 13, Aug. 10, Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m., donation requested; Sunrise Yoga with Joan Zigulich, Fri., July 7 and 21, 6 a.m.; and , Fri., July 7 and 21, 6 a.m.; and  Mommy and Me Yoga with Colleen Hosman, Wednesdays, beginning July 12, 11 a.m. Info: Edna White Garden on Facebook

Blues at the BAC. John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band will perform Fri., July 14, 8 p.m., Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Doors open at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $30 or $27 for BAC members, and available online at www.beverlyartcenter.org. Coming from Camden, Mississippi in 1963, two-time Grammy nominated John Primer started playing in Chicago at Theresa’s Lounge on the South Side. His blue roots took shape under the tutelage of legendary blues greats that include James Cotton, Junior Wells, Sammy Lawhorn and Buddy Guy. Primer played in Willie Dixon’s All Stars Band, then became the lead guitar player for Muddy Waters. Following Waters’ death, Primer played for 14 years with Magic Slim before going out on his own with the Real Deal Blues Band. Last year, Primer was named the Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year at the Blues Music Awards.

Beverly Barre and Beers. Open Outcry Brewing and Beverly Barre will host Beverly Barre & Beers beginning Sun., July 16. Participants are invited to join in for one hour of barre followed by one free pint at Open Outcry, 10934 S. Western. Beverly Barre is a low-impact, high-result exercise that combines yoga, pilates and strength-training movements. Sessions are open to all levels of experience. Bring mat, water bottle and towel.

Free Night Out in the Park. The Chicago Park District hosts Storytown Improv at a free Night Out in the Park Tues., July 18, 5:30 to 7 p.m., at Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St. Enjoy an interactive, fully improvised adventure created from audience suggestions and ideas by the Storytown actors, artists and musicians.  The possibilities are endless.  The show is recommended for children ages 3 to 10 years and their families.  Parental supervision is required throughout the program.

Summer Swelter. The Leadfoot Band headlines at the Summer Swelter outdoor festival Sat., July 22, 5 to 10:30 p.m., Horse Thief Hollow, 10426 S. Western. Admission to the homage to the sultry days of summer is $20 and includes three food or drink tickets. Also performing is the Pack Drumline & Dance Crew. Enjoy beating the heat with ice-cold beer from Horse Thief Hollow and a variety of local breweries, plus tasty eats. Local artisans will showcase and sell artwork and handcrafted beer-themed jewelry. Proceeds from the Summer Swelter benefit the Conner Lowry Foundation and other nonprofits that serve veterans.

Mercy Circle Hosts Summer Open House. In addition to touring the chapel, exercise room, salon, library, gardens and dining rooms at the open house on July 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors will be encouraged to ask questions about the many services and levels of care available at Mercy Circle, 3659 W. 99th St. The staff looks forward to showing visitors the advantages of becoming a resident of Mercy Circle. Info or to set up a private appointment: 773-253-3600.

Unity in the Community Picnic. Neighborhood residents are welcome to attend the Unity in the Community Picnic Sun., July 23, 1 to 4 p.m., Beverly Unitarian Church, 10244 S. Longwood Dr.  Bring a dish to share; beverages will be provided. The event includes music, dancing and activities for children. Bring a lawn chair for yourself; extra chairs are welcome. Picnic sponsors are Unity in Diversity, Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative, Southsiders for Peace, Community of Churches and Chicago Commission on Human Relations.  In case of rain the picnic will be held in the church. Info: 773-233-1420 or 773-239-1439.

Growing Beverly. Open Outcry Brewing Company and The Geranium Guild collaborate on Growing Beverly, a collaborative workshop series starting Sun., July 23, 12:30 p.m., at Open Outcry, 10934 S. Western. In the first workshop, participants will build their own terrarium succulent garden; all materials, plants and glassware provided, including one free pint! $35 per person Tickets (limited number) and info:growingbeverly.eventbrite.com

Storytelling for Grown-Ups. Storytelling for Grown-Ups: Where To Begin, a six part workshop series that focuses on writing the small episodes of life that reveal the depth of who we are, why our story is unique and how it connects us to an audience and changes their lives forever, will be held on Mondays, July 24 through Aug. 28, Catholic Youth Ministry Center, 1825 W. Monterey Ave. Instructor David Boyle will concentrate on developing 7 to 15 minute personal stories. $125. Registration:  http://bpt.me/3015972.

Lecture on Water. Water: Contamination, Privatization and Use as a Weapon of War, a lecture by Dr. Ramirez-Knight, will be presented Sat., July 29, 12 p.m., Beverly Branch Library, 1962 W. 95th St. The lecture looks at the manipulation of clean water and the effects of water as a weapon of war.

Slow Roll Comes to Beverly/Morgan Park. Cicyclists of all ages are invited to participate in a community cycling event in Beverly/Morgan Park later this month. Slow Roll Chicago, a non-profit organization that aims to improve the city by organizing community bicycle rides throughout the greater Chicago area, will lead a group ride through the streets of Beverly/Morgan Park on the afternoon of Sat., July 29. Founded in Detroit, Mich., in 2010, Slow Roll was brought to Chicago in 2014 by Jamal Julien and Olatunji Oboi Reed as a means of social change. Every Wednesday evening from April to October, a diverse group of cyclists gathers to ride through different Chicago neighborhoods, showcasing those neighborhoods while bringing people together for an activity that is universally appealing. Rides are slow paced and are open to riders of all ages, skill levels and types of bikes. Details of the Beverly/Morgan Park ride have not yet been finalized, but participants can expect to ride approximately nine miles on residential streets throughout the neighborhood with occasional stops. Volunteers with Slow Roll will lead the ride, manage traffic situations and assist with flat tires and other mechanical issues. The event will conclude with a party at the 99th and Walden business district that is also open to non-riders. More information on the event will be available in the coming weeks.

Beverly Art Walk Call for Artists. Fri., Aug. 1 is the deadline for artists and venues to apply for the 2017 Beverly Art Walk. Apply online at beverlyarts.org to be an exhibiting artist (painter, photographer, sculptor, etc.) or host business. Makers/artisans interested in a vendor booth at the Uprising Handmade Market should use The Uprising application. The 4th annual Beverly Art Walk will be held Sat., Oct. 7, 12 to 7 p.m. Info: info@beverlyarts.org.

Save the Date. The Cygnus Ladies of Bethany Union Church will present Coffee, Tea, Flowers & Me, Sat., Sept. 9 at the church, 1750 W. 103rd St. Donation: $15. Reservations: 708-975-3311.

‘The Last Picture Show’ Retrospective of Bill and Judie Anderson Comes to BAC

By Kristin Boza

Bill and Judie Anderson enjoyed an incredible career together, and separately, as artists. Bill passed away in 2009 after suffering from a debilitating stroke and subsequent illnesses, and he left a legacy of commercial and fine art produced with his beloved wife of 51 years, Judie. “The Last Picture Show,” a culmination of the art the two created together, opens on Sun., June 25 at the Beverly Arts Center, with an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m.

“I’m trying to perpetuate his memory by doing this show,” Anderson said. “I thought this would be a great culmination to our life here in Beverly. We started out here in 1966; we had a good life here and the community has been good to us — and we’ve been good to the community. We started the art school at the Beverly Arts Center; we began there and this show will end it there.”

Judie and Bill met while they were students at the Art Institute of Chicago. Bill, a painting major, was two years ahead of Judie, an advertising and fashion illustration major, although she ended up graduating before him due to Bill’s two-and-a-half year service in the Korean War. The pair went on one official date before Bill shipped out, but their love grew and grew through the letters they wrote to one another. As soon as Bill returned home, he proposed to Judie. A collection of those letters, which Judie calls “A Paper Courtship,” will be a part of the exhibit.

Once their married life began, Bill worked for Lyon Healy music store as their display manager and store designer. Meanwhile, Judie worked for” Chicago American” newspaper as a fashion illustrator. Soon, they began working together on cartoon drawings for “Chicago Magazine” and volunteer work for BAPA. They created the first-ever map of the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood for BAPA in painstaking detail.

As the fashion illustration industry began dwindling and the couple added two children to their family, Judie began illustrating educational materials for an Oak Lawn-based company as well as taking on other freelance work. “I had taken on this job to develop a spec that I worked on over the weekend and was due Monday morning. I was just about done with it and I put frisket paper over the illustration so I could wash in the background. When I went to peel it off, I peeled off the drawing too. I screamed and went ballistic,” she said. But Bill had an idea to salvage the project. “He said ‘you draw the left side and I’ll get the right side and we’ll work together until we get to the middle.’ We got it done, but we didn’t get the job! But that’s what started us working together in children’s illustration.”

One memorable job was illustrating educational materials for National Dairy. “We hired all the kids in the neighborhood to model for us,” she said. “We started having them pose, but they were so stiff. So I gave them the story to read and act out like a play. We took Polaroids of them and were able to draw from there.”

As their joint freelance art business took off, Bill and Judie decided to turn their screened-in porch into a beautiful, sun-lit studio. “And three months after we built it, the recession hit and the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook anymore,” Anderson said. “We didn’t know what was going to happen, but then I got a call from the “Chicago Tribune.’”

What Judie thought would be a six-month full-time Art Director position turned into 20 years. Bill continued to work from home and took on a “Mr. Mom” role with their children. The day before Christmas Eve one year, Judie got a call from work asking her to implement an idea by New Year’s. With no illustrators or designers available during the holidays, Judie enlisted Bill’s help in creating SPOTS, a children’s activity page that ran weekly in the Tribune. Bill created SPOTS for an entire year, before the paper decided to bring it to an in-house illustrator instead.

The Andersons gave another gift to the neighborhood in the form of a highly successful art school now known as the  Beverly Arts Center School of the Arts. Along with other neighborhood artists, the school was directed by Bill and Judie taught classes there as well.

At the age of 56, Bill suffered a stroke. Paralyzed from the neck down, he had to learn to swallow, walk and care for himself all over again. But the same day he had the stroke, he asked Judie to bring his sketchpad and pencils to the hospital. “I said ‘you can’t even lift your arm!’ and he said ‘watch me.’ He had such determination,” Anderson said.

Despite not being able to feel anything in his hand, Bill relearned how to paint and finally began creating art for himself. He created The Stroke Series, which is a series of paintings interpreting how he felt during the stroke and recovery process. It was on exhibit at the University of Chicago for years and now will be exhibited once again at the Beverly Arts Center.

“Bill was amazing, he was a profile in courage. He never complained or felt sorry for himself. He was always a good artist, but to do this after a stroke was just amazing,” Anderson said. Judie also created her own art similar to Bill’s stroke interpretation as she recovered from a heart attack a couple of years later.

Anderson was motivated to put their joint artwork on display as a way to showcase their life together. “It’s phenomenal what we did together. He was my rock; he was my art director. We would critique each other’s work or what we were doing together because we did it for the good of the product,” she said. “There was just a magic that happened; I can’t explain it. This was something that was so special. When I lost him, I lost half of me. But I was so fortunate to have had him for 50 years.”

“The Last Picture Show” will be on exhibit through July at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.

 

Neighborhood Notes – June 2017

Registration Open for Veterans Softball Tournament. Registration is underway for the Road Home Program’s Veterans Softball Tournament and Family Fest, Sat., July 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St. Team registration continues until July 1. Standard ASA rules apply. Teams need a minimum of 8 and maximum of 10 players, men and women, and 70% of the team must be veterans, active duty military or direct family of either. Individuals without a team can register under “open team.”  Registration info: Joel Gutierrez, 312-745-2170 or joel.gutierrez@chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Operation Help a Hero. In June, donations of personal hygiene items, cleaning products and miscellaneous items for Operation Help-a-Hero will be collected locally at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon. through Fri., and Mount Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St., 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mon. through Fri., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sat., and 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., Sun.  Operation Help-A-Hero supports Chicago veterans transitioning out of homelessness. The local collection is ci-sponsored by Ald. Matt O’Shea, Chicago Park District and Military Outreach USA. Info http://www.operationhelpahero.org/.

Beverly Therapists Hold Support Groups and Workshop. Call Bonn Wade (773-330-2544) or Christina Sprayberry (314-550-4384 ) for information on the monthly support group that provides an affirming space and social activities for gender expansive, transgender, agender, lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, LGBTQ+ high school aged teens; Without Them, a free six-week men’s and women’s bereavement support group led by Aida Piggott (773-332-6664), starts Wed., June 14, 7 to 9 p.m., offering interpersonal engagement and through the guidance of interesting, inspirational materials, discussion about loss, grief, coping strategies and potential for renewing hope and meaning; a Burning Sacred Botanicals Workshop explore mindful, cultural and intentional connections of burning botanicals and creating smudge sticks, will be held Sun., June 25, 3 to 4:30 p.m.  (a suggested donation of $15 covers supplies). Info and registration: Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 2nd floor, www.BeverlyTherapists.com.

19th Ward Document Shredding. Residents of the 19th Ward are welcome to take advantage of free document shredding, Sat., June 3, 9 to 11 a.m., Crosswinds Church, 10835 S. Pulaski Rd. Only loose documents with no staples or binders can be accepted.

One Man’s Treasure Bazaar. Sutherland School, 10015 S. Leavitt, hosts One Man’s Treasure Bazaar, Sat., June 3, 9 am. to 2 p.m. The sale features household items, crafts, clothing, books, knick knacks and more. Proceeds from table rentals benefit math tutoring at Sutherland.  Info on table rental or donating items: rkpls3@aol.com.

Town Hall Meeting. Join in the discussion of community events and meet with representatives from various government agencies at the 19th Ward Town Hall Meeting, Wed., June 7, 7 p.m. 22nd District Police Station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave.

Free Oak Tree Saplings. 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea and the the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District are providing free oak tree saplings (currently measuring less than 18 inches high).  Saplings can be ordered online at www.the19thward.com, and will be available for pickup Sun., June 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the 95th Street Farmers Market, 95th and Longwood Drive. Instructions for planting and caring for the trees will be provided at pickup. Trees enhance property values, reduce utility bills, and can help prevent flooding by absorbing rainfall. Our community’s tree population has been decimated by emerald ash borer infestations and extreme weather. Help restore our tree canopy! Order a free oak sapling today!

Support Group for Caregivers. Caregivers for people with dementia are invited to a free memory care support group Tues., June 6, 6:30 p.m., Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Pl.  Memory support coordinator Diane Morgan will host an open topic discussion that will enable caregivers to ask whether dementia runs in the family, the difference between it and Alzheimer’s, and what certain behaviors mean. Reservations: 773-474-7300 or familyandfriends@smithvillage.org.

Garden Club Meeting. The Garden Club of Morgan Park/Beverly will meet Wed., June 7, 9:30 a.m., Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 9401 S. Oakley for the program “Tomatoes and More: Basic Vegetable Gardening.” Nancy Kreith, Extension Educator, Horticulture, University of Illinois Extension will present tips on creating a partly edible, partly ornamental garden designed for growing fresh wholesome food in a small space. Free.

BAC Exhibit Continues through June 8. “A Constant Struggle,” an exhibit exploring the insidious reach of racism in our nation’s history and culture and presented by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, continues through June 8,  Simmerling Gallery, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.

Free Family Fun Nights. Local families with little kids are invited to enjoy live entertainment, activities, food and more at free Family Fun Nights, Thursdays, June 8, 15, 22 and 29, 5:30 to 7 p.m., adjacent to the Beverly Bank parking lot across from the 103rd Street Metra Station. Hosted by the Beverly Area Planning Association and Little Company of Mary Hospital, the events will be held weather-permitting. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Yoga at Cork & Kerry. Beverly Yoga Center’s Kenya Butts will lead yoga flow Sat., June 10, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Cork & Kerry beer garden, 10614 S. Western.  Open to participants age 21 and older, the session is $10 per person and includes a complimentary mimosa after class. Bring a mat. Sign up required at corkandkerrychicago@gmail.com.

Tour Mercy Circle. Tour a model apartment and see the exercise room, chapel, boutique salon, library, dining room and bistro during the open house at Mercy Circle, 3659 W. 99th St., Sun., June 11, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Key staff members including Senior Living Advisor Marge Everett will be on hand to answer questions and explain the many services and comprehensive continuum of care available at Mercy Circle, which welcomes older adults from all walks of life. Info and private appointments: 773-253-3600.

Flea Market on the Lawn. The Women of the Castle will host a Flea Market on the Lawn, Sat., June 17, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Beverly Unitarian Church, 103rd and Longwood Drive. Info:  312-618-1814.

Mrs. King’s Art Camp. Registration is open for Mrs. King’s Art Camp for boys and girls ages 5 to 10. Five sessions will be offered, starting July 10, Mon., Wed., and Fri., 9 to 11:30 a.m., BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Children will work individually and in groups under the direction of a highly qualified CPS art teacher. Areas cover drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture. Projects will be linked to select children’s literature to provide inspiration. $125 per session covers all materials and smock; $25 discount when registered before June 21.  Info: ewoods75@yahoo.com

Local Organizations Offer Opportunities for Volunteers

A New Direction Beverly Morgan Park (AND) provides confidential counseling, education, advocacy and support to families affected by domestic violence. AND provides services at no charge to the client and is largely supported by financial contributions from the Beverly/Morgan Park, Mount Greenwood, Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn communities. Donations, volunteers and dedicated board members are invited to support the AND mission. Learn more: www.anewdirectionbmp.org. Contact/info:  Jessica McCarihan, jessica@anewdirectionbmp.org or 773-253-7226.

Beacon Therapeutic Diagnostic & Center, 10650 S. Longwood Dr., provides therapeutic day schools and homeless outreach services including mental health services to some of Chicago’s families who are most in need. People can support Beacon’s work through monetary donations that support all of the organization’s programs or host clothing, book, school supply, toiletries, household products or toy drives that directly benefit clients. Learn more: www.beacon-therapeutic.org. Contact: Peggy Rourke, prourke@beacon-therapeutic.org or 773-881-1105.

Beverly Area Arts Alliance (The Alliance), a volunteer-led non-profit, coordinates art-focused events and projects fostering collaboration between artists and the community. The Alliance advances Beverly/Morgan Park as a hub of culture and creativity, working with community leaders, organizations and artists to create a vibrant environment in which to live and do business. The Alliance’s annual cornerstone event is the Beverly Art Walk in October. Other programs include pop-up exhibitions, educational opportunities and The Frunchroom, a quarterly reading series. Donations are welcome (501c3 status pending) and directly support events and programming. Suggestions, feedback and volunteers are welcome. Learn more: www.beverlyarts.org. Contact/info: Monica B. Wilczak, monica@beverlyarts.org or 773-213-7406.

Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA), 1987 W. 111th St., has been serving the Beverly/Morgan Park community for nearly 70 years with programs designed to foster neighborhood pride, improve quality of life and support a thriving residential and business community. Support BAPA with a membership, donation or sponsorship. Volunteers are needed for special events and programs, to serve on committees, and to support program areas. Become a member/learn morel www.bapa.org. Contact/info: Margot Holland, mholland@bapa.org or 773-233-3100.

Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St., is a multifaceted organization building community through diverse, quality arts programming, education, and entertainment for all ages and levels. People can support the BAC by becoming a member and enjoying a variety of benefits and discounts for classes, concerts, entertainment and special events. Volunteers are needed to help in the café; ushering for BACinema, concerts and programs; and more. Donations to the not-for-profit BAC help to bring arts programming and entertainment to the south side. Learn more: www.beverlyartcenter.org.  Contact/info:  Shellee Frazee, Artistic Director, shellee@beverlyartcenter.org  or 773-445-3838, ext. 216.

Beverly Hills Junior Woman’s Club, a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, is a volunteer service organization dedicated to the personal growth of members through participation in informal programs and charitable fundraising events, working toward the resolution of problems that primarily affect women within our community and around the world. Each year, they award a scholarship to a female student at Morgan Park High School. The club has also supported the Maple/Morgan Park Food Pantry, Easter Seals Brandecker Center, Beacon Therapeutic Center, A New Direction, Mercy Home for Girls and BAPA. Last year, the club held a successful luggage drive for foster children in Illinois. The Beverly Juniors meet on the third Monday of every month (Sept. – May), 7 p.m., at Christ the King Gleeson Center, 92nd and Hamilton. New members are welcome. Learn more: Facebook — GFWC Beverly Hills Junior Woman’s Club. Info: Carla Herr, 312-593-1129, alrac3@gmail.com or beverlyjuniors@gmail.com.

Beverly Improvement Association (BIA) is the civic association that serves North Beverly with social and service programs and activities that improve the area and unify neighbors. BIA is always looking to include more of neighbors and new families in activities that promote local businesses and to provide a forum to discuss issues that affect the community. The Board meets monthly and a general meeting is held each October. Learn more: thebia.org, Facebook – thebia1. Contact/info: Molly Sullivan, mollysullivan810@gmail.com.

The Beverly Ridge Homeowners Association (BRHA) is a not-for-profit civic organization initially established in 1939 serving residents in the area bounded by the Rock Island Metra tracks to Western Avenue from 95th to 103rd Streets. BRHA is here to listen and respond to the needs of the neighborhood, help improve the parks, green spaces and other vital assets, ensure a safe environment for all residents and organize social, family-orientated and community building events. BRHA is always looking for residents interested in volunteering to help with programs and events, as well as offering support through an annual membership fee. Together we can help preserve and improve the quality of life in the Beverly Ridge area for years to come. BRHA meets at Ridge Park the second Monday of every month, 7:30 p.m. Info: beverlybrha.com and Beverly Ridge Homeowners Association Facebook page.

The Beverly Ridge Lions Club welcomes new members and donations to support its humanitarian efforts.The centerpiece of their local effort is to support worthy charities and activities for the blind and deaf. The biggest annual fundraiser is Candy Day, held on the second Friday of October. Used eyeglasses and/or donations can be sent c/o The Beverly Review, 10546 S. Western Ave. Lunch meetings are held weekly at Beverly Woods Restaurant, 11532 S. Western Ave. Learn more: www.facebook.com/BeverlyRidgeLionsClub. Info: Bob Olszewski, bobo@beverlyreview.net or 773-238-3366.

Located in the iconic blue house at 1825 W. Monterey Ave. is the Catholic Youth Ministry Center at Morgan Park High School. Open to all MPHS students, the Center offers programs, workshops and a place to be with friends to do homework or socialize. They welcome community volunteers as speakers for the PLANS (People Learning All New Strategies) Educational Workshops, facilitators in yoga or meditation, and instructors for art projects. Like anyone with high school students, they are always in need of pool cues and Wii and Xbox games. Info: Peggy Goiddard, 773-881-0193, www.cymcatmphs.com.

Kiwanis Club of Southwest Chicago is a volunteer service organization that is part of Kiwanis International, and dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. The club supports the Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry; the Boy Scouts; the SkyART visual arts program for youth; GoBabyGo, a program that modifies battery-powered children’s cars for children with mobility issues; camps, research and treatment programs for children with spina bifida; and much more. They raise funds through the Kiwanis Peanut Day collection each fall. The club is active in Beverly/Morgan Park, Mount Greenwood and the southwest suburbs, and meets on the first and third Tuesday evenings at Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th St. Contact/info: Mary Zeronas, 312-369-9202.

Founded in 1981, the Maple/Morgan Park Community Food Pantry is located in the Morgan Park United Methodist Church, 11130 S. Longwood Dr., and serves area families with food distributions on Tuesdays and Fridays, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Each month, about 400 qualified families and individuals in the 60643 and 60655 zip codes are served and distributes 600-800 bags of groceries for holidays. The not-for-profit food pantry is an agency of the Greater Chicago Food Depository and a ministry of the Beverly/Morgan Park Community of Churches. It is operated by local volunteers and funded by donations. Donations are accepted all year, but the Pantry asks for special donations of $15 to fund turkey dinners for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Volunteers are needed to help unload delivery trucks three times a month on Friday mornings. Local organizations also support the pantry through food drives – dry goods are especially needed. For information on donating (monthly pledge donations invited) and volunteering, contact Lillian Hennings, Executive Director, 773-239-3013 or email foodpantry11030@outlook.com.

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls has broken the cycle of abuse and neglect for over 30,000 kids since 1887.  They endeavor to pave the way to a brighter future for troubled children and teens in Chicago. Volunteers are needed as tutors and mentors at the Walsh Girls Campus, 11600 S. Longwood Dr. Mentor information sessions are held twice a month; dates & location vary, and are available upon request. All Mercy Home children benefit from donations of toiletries, school supplies, gift cards, and new toys/gifts for children age 4 to 18. Learn more: www.mercyhome.org.  Contact/info:  Dee Atkins, Director of Corporate & Volunteer Relations, deeatk@mercyhome.org  or 312-738-9584.

Morgan Park/Beverly Hills Garden Club offers an enjoyable and stimulating variety of educational, environmental and conservation programming.  The rewards of belonging to a garden club go far beyond the pure pleasure of growing things, they expand interests and build lifelong friendships while bettering the community and the environment. The garden club meets on the first Monday of the month (except Jan. and July), 9:30 a.m., Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 9401 S. Oakley (enter on Oakley side), and also schedules regular times for planning, maintenance and planting of both the Beverly Art Center courtyard and the small BAPA garden (both gardens are approved by the University of Illinois Extension for the accruing required Master Gardener volunteer hours).  Contact/info: Barbara Gyarmathy, bgyar@hotmail.com or 773-447-4926.

Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to community service, fostering connections in community life, and making a difference through active involvement with other non-profit organizations. Service projects include the annual Work Out to Wipe Out Domestic Violence which raises funds for A New Direction Beverly Morgan Park, the annual garage sale that raised funds for the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry, and providing volunteers to assist with BAPA’s home tour and Ridge Run,  the 19th Ward’s Beverly Turkey Trot, and Beverly Arts Center’s auction. The Juniors also participate in initiatives that support children, military service personnel, and civic and charitable organizations. Prospective members are welcome at any general meeting, 1st Wed. of month, Oct. through April, 7 p.m., Ridge Historical Society, 10621 S. Seeley Ave. Info: morganparkjrs.wordpress.com or Donna Dalton, president, donnadalton1951@gmail.com.

Ridge Historical Society (RHS), 10621 S. Seeley Ave., preserves the history of the Beverly/Morgan Park community. Volunteers are needed to assist in researching requests regarding history, people and homes in the area. Hours are Tues., 12 to 4 p.m.; Wed., 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Fri., 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; or by appointment. Learn more: www.ridgehistoricalsociety.org. Contact RHS: ridgehistory@hotmail.com or 773-881-1675.

The Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative supports diversity and inclusion in the Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood communities by creating space for voices that are underrepresented through discussions and action around racial justice, religious freedom and equality. SCDC meets on the first Wednesday of every month, 7:30 p.m., BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Happy hour is the 2nd Friday of every month; location rotates and updates are posted on public Facebook at scdcollaborative. Info:  swchicagodiversity@gmail.com.

Southwest Morgan Park Civic Association (SWMPCA) serves the area bounded by 111th and 119th Streets, Longwood Drive to Western Avenue, collaborating with residents for a better neighborhood. Neighbors are encouraged to become involved as members, volunteers and leaders. SWMPCA meets quarterly on the f1st Tues., 7 p.m., St. Walter Church, Community Room, 117th and Oakley; next meeting: Feb. 7. Learn more on Facebook, searching Southwest Morgan Park Civic Association. Info: David Lauryn, 773-445-3782 or lauryn@wideopenwest.com.

Volunteers are needed as docents and for other tasks at the Vanderpoel Art Association gallery, located in Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Gallery hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Learn more from Irene Testa, 773-840-3098.

Vanderpoel Improvement Association (VIA) works to improve the quality of our neighborhood by developing a sense of community and by working together for the common good. VIA serves the area bounded by 95th and 99th Streets, Charles to Wood Streets. All residents are welcome to participate and annual dues are $10.  Projects include distributing a newsletter, designing and installing the street medallions that highlight the community, the annual Resource Extravaganza, and the newly formed Garden Committee which will meet Sun., Dec. 4, Markland Hubbard Gourmet Provisions, 1739 W. 99th St. VIA meets three times a year at Beverly Library, 95th and Damen. Info: Gary Jenkins, president, 773-320-229 or Caroll Vaughn, vice president, 773-209-0855.

 

Give the Gift of Art This Holiday Season

By Carol Flynn

The winter holidays are upon us, bringing the age-old question – what do I buy for everyone on my gift list? This year, consider giving gifts of artwork or hand-crafted items from very talented local artists.

Paintings, prints, pottery, candles, soap, jewelry, fabric arts, sculpture, weavings, photographs – all are available right in our own community. Thanks to the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, it’s easy now to access a wide variety of unique items, many of them one of a kind. And unlike buying from an anonymous store or website, in most cases, you can actually meet the artist and establish a personal connection, which is a really nice touch in presenting a gift.

Some local artists produce special items with themes appropriate to the season.

Judie Anderson, an alumna of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is a painter and illustrator who worked as the Art Director for the Chicago Tribune. Together with her husband, the late artist Bill Anderson, Anderson was a founder of the art school at the Beverly Art Center. She has a wide variety of prints and cards with winter and holiday themes. A trip to Judie’s neighborhood studio is well worth the visit to view her items. Anderson can be contacted at 773/233-4198. She is also on Facebook.

Pamela Johnson-Howe, a native of Beverly/Morgan Park, produces award-winning pottery and offers hand-made one-of-a-kind ornaments through her studio, NorthWind Pottery. Johnson-Howe’s website is www.northwindpottery.net and she is also on Facebook. She sells her items on-line through Etsy at www.northwindpottery.etsy.com, or can be contacted through email at northwindpottery@gmail.com .

Over 30 local artisans will be offering their creations for sale at the Uprising Handmade Holiday Fair on Sun., Dec. 4, 12 to 5 p. m., at the Blue Island Beer Company, 13357 Olde Western Ave., Blue Island.  This is an all-ages event, with a $5 entry fee for adults, and free for children age 17 and under. The entry fee includes raffle tickets to win a gift bag of items from the participating sellers. This is where you can find the candles, soap, jewelry, fabric items, and other goods made locally.

Local artists are invited to share their holiday items and contact information on The Alliance’s Beverly Art Walk Facebook page so that shoppers can locate them. This is a public under “Beverly Art Walk.”