Grace and Sid Hamper Will Receive BAPA Community Service Award 

By Grace Kuikman 

For the past three decades, Sid and Grace Hamper have been tireless stewards of one of Beverly/Morgan Park’s most cherished institutions, the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association (VAA) collection of 19th and 20th century American art. As lovers of art and their community, the Hampers have committed their outstanding time and talents in abundance, Sid as treasurer, president and now president emeritus, and Grace as a volunteer and curator.     

For their dedication to the Vanderpoel Art Association, the Hampers will be presented with the BAPA Community Service Award at the Beverly Area Planning Association annual Donor Recognition Reception on Thurs., Nov. 14. The by-invitation-only reception also honors BAPA donors giving at levels of $500 and up, and this year will be held in the John H. Vanderpoel Gallery at Ridge Park  

The Hampers were recruited to the VAA through a friend, the late George Ralston, who recognized the talents that the couple possessed and the Association needed.  Ralston was right: the Hampers’ dedication to the VAA has been unmatched.  

Grace, who always had an interest in the arts, joined VAA in 1989, once the couples’ four children were grown. Grace summed up her experience with the VAA as “years of joy.” Through her work at the gallery, she has helped to curate the art, prepare exhibits and help wherever she has been needed. “I’ve met lots of interesting people from the art world,” she said.  

Sid joined the VAA in 1992, following his retirement from a successful career at the Chicago Board of Trade and as a lawyer in private practice. He was a teenager when he started working as a runner at the CBOT, and in the early 1950s became a trader. He is still a CBOT member and served ten years as a director. In 1958, Sid earned a law degree. In addition to this career as a trader, he opened a law practice with partner. He specialized in wills, probate, commodities and security law, and as a qualified trade advisor. Conveniently, the law office was located in the CBOT building.  

Sid’s expertise in finance and law were pivotal in raising funds needed to protect the Vanderpoel Art Association collection in perpetuity. He cultivated donors whose generous gifts made it possible to provide for the future of the collection and to underwrite important art conservation efforts, including the cleaning and restoration of about 30 art works. The VAA continues to preserve art, working with top quality art restorers.  

The outstanding art collection is named for Dutch-born artist John H. Vanderpoel who lived in North Beverly while teaching at the School of the Art Institute. Following the artist’s death in 1911, community residents took up a collection and purchased Vanderpoel’s painting “The Buttermakers.” In 1914 the painting was placed in Vanderpoel School as a tribute to the artist for whom the school – and the street where it’s located — was named. It was later decided that a memorial collection of works would be an even better honor. Vanderpoel was beloved by his students, many of whom were eager to donate their works to the collection.  

Many of the paintings in the collection were donated by artists or owners. “A lot of the paintings were in people’s homes,” Sid said. He explained that the first curator of the collection – John Campbell – would write to Chicago area artists asking them to donate pieces of their work. And they did. Paintings, drawings and sculpture arrived at Ridge Park. The file of Campbell’s correspondence documenting this fascinating aspect of the gallery’s history still exists.  

When the collection had grown too large to be housed in the school’s gallery, a new wing was built on the Ridge Park field house, creating a permanent home for the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association collection.  The collection of what is now more than 600 19th and 20th century works by American artists also grew in reputation. Counted among the artists are Mary Cassatt, Maxfield Parrish, Grant Wood, Daniel Chester French and Vanderpoel, whose work, “The Buttermakers,” is still on display. 

At the gallery almost every day for many years, Sid also dedicated important time to research and myriad other important tasks that illuminate, protect and benefit the art collection Many people – from the community and beyond – recognize the Hampers as the faces of the Vanderpoel collection. In fact, when Chicago Magazine profiled the Vanderpoel Gallery Feb. 2018, Grace and Sid Hamper were interviewed and appeared in the photograph.  

At age 88, the couple is no longer in the Ridge Park gallery every day, but they remain involved as tremendous resources and keepers of the collection’s history.  

“Grace and Sid Hamper have shown an extraordinary and steadfast commitment to the care and preservation of the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association’s art collection,” said Irene Testa, current VAA President. “Their leadership has been crucial to the success of the organization.  We are profoundly grateful for their efforts to preserve this valuable art collection for posterity.” 

For information on how to support BAPA at the Community Support Circle and higher levels, contact BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood, 773-233-3100.  

  We’re BAPA Members. Are You? 


Terrence, Grayson and Carla Herr 

We are BAPA members because we believe that BAPA is the foundation of the neighborhood.  They are the eyes and ears of Beverly.  If we have questions or concerns, need a trade referral or have suggestions on community improvement, they are there to help.  BAPA supports the community in so many ways and we enjoy supporting the activities they arrange.  The Cookie Crawl is one of our favorites but we like that there are a variety of events ranging from family friendly events to adult only events.  We love that the activities highlight the wonderful businesses in the area.  We have discovered so many gems through these activities.  BAPA has also been a wonderful partner in supporting the individual clubs we are involved in.  Thanks BAPA for all you do! 


The Pies Have It! 

Guide to Local Pizza Places  

By Kristin Boza  

The stress of the holidays is fast approaching, so make it easy on yourself and indulge in the hot, cheesy goodness of pizza. Beverly/Morgan Park is lucky to be home to so many different types of pies, all of which are family-owned neighborhood staples that support the community while also keeping us fed. Looking to mix up your pizza night routine? Check out these delicious spots. 

Barraco’s Beverly
2105 W. 95th St. 773-881-4040 

From numerous locations on the south side, Barraco’s offers thin crust, stuffed crust, deep dish, and its Sicilian style pizza which has a traditional fluffy crust topped with fresh sauce, cheese, and toppings. Sicilian pizza is traditionally served on Dec. 7, the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Barraco’s pizza is frequently purchased or donated for parish fundraisers and school fun lunches. 

Fox’s Beverly Pub
9956 S. Western Ave. 773-886-1616 

Since 1964, Fox’s has been a neighborhood favorite. As the restaurant expanded its locations, the original Beverly location is still one of its most popular destinations. “We appreciate our business here and all the generations of Beverly residents that have dined here or worked here for these past 55 years,” said Thomas Fox, owner. “Serving this community for so many years makes you realize how strong and wonderful the families are that make up Beverly!” Fox’s signature thin crust pizza is made fresh on site daily with fresh ingredients, and the recipes are carefully crafted to ensure the best pizza every time. The original pizza recipe is still in use today — why mess with perfection? 

Home Run Inn
10900 S. Western Ave. 773-432-9696
Still using the original family recipe developed by Mary Grittani and Nick Perrino in 1947, Home Run Inn has established a Chicago pizza empire. Pizzas are made with 100% all-natural ingredients, ensuring the freshest and pizza. The dough, made daily from scratch, is known for its buttery flakiness, and pays homage to the founders’ Italian roots. Patrons come for the crust, but stay for the sauce, for which tomatoes are peeled, pasteurized, and mixed with Home Run Inn’s propriety spice blend within two hours of harvesting in Modesto, Calif. As they say, “All you need is love and pizza. 

Milano’s Pizza
10945 S. Western Ave. 773-445-4010
Consistently ranked highly in neighborhood pizza polls, Milano’s is a carry-out or delivery pizza service that just celebrated 35 years in Beverly/Morgan Park. Fresh, imported mozzarella and a secret family sauce recipe make the extra-thin crust, thin crust, and stuffed pizzas some of the best in the area. For something truly unique, check out their chicken alfredo pizza or fajita pizza to up the flavor ante. 

Pizzeria Deepo
1742 W. 99th St. 773-840-3087
Pizzeria Deepo stormed the southside when it opened in 2012. The deepest of deep dish, their pizza is made with fresh ingredients and an incredibly thick, yet somehow light, crust. Pizzeria Deepo also serves a vegan pizza that is cheese-less and made with a special egg-less crust. The spot offers carry-out pizza, but many patrons enjoy the patio and BYOB options. 

Waldo Cooney’s
2410 W. 111th St. 773-233-9781
Since 1981, Waldo Cooney’s has served solid slices and a ‘just-right’ doughy crust to customers. Branch out from the typical pepperoni and sausage and try their BBQ chicken pizza, made with cfoohicken breast, onion, bacon, and BBQ sauce. Or their signature Mexicana pizza, made up of ground beef, onions, chili peppers, fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, and mozzarella cheese. 

Calabria Imports
1905 W. 103rd St. 773-396-5800 

Head to Calabria Imports to grab a pizza set-up — all the best ingredients are available to make a pie at home. Customers can head to the refrigerator section to choose their cheese, sauce, crust, and a variety of toppings and head home to enjoy creating their own perfect pizza. Calabria has been in business since 1988 and specializes in authentic Italian and American food and deli goods. 

Open Outcry Brewing Co.
10934 S. Western Ave. 773-629-6055
New to the pizza scene, Open Outcry’s Chef Cesar has perfected wood-fired pizza. These pies are some of the most innovative in the area, blending typical South Side ingredients with high-end options. Three Pigs pizza, for example, includes Open Outcry’s house sausage, plus pepperoni and prosciutto. The Chi Town is topped with braised beef, giardinera and fries — essentially a beef sandwich on top of a fired-up crust.  

Which pie is on the menu at your house tonight? 







BAPA Welcomes New Neighbors, Invites All Neighbors to Get Involved  

By Mary Jo Viero 
BAPA Community Organizer 

Are you new to the neighborhood?  

Moving to a new community can be overwhelming.  Trying to meet people and learn about everything the neighborhood has to offer takes time and is not always easy.  BAPA is making this process easier by hosting a new neighbor meet and greet on Tues., Oct. 1.   

If you moved into your Beverly/Morgan Park home after January 2018, BAPA wants help you connect with new friends and neighbors, local businesses and resources, and organizations, including your civic association. Homeowners will receive reusable welcome bags filed with giveways and coupons from local businesses and helpful information about the neighborhood.  

Little Company of Mary Hospital is sponsoring this event.  

Everyone Can Get Involved  

BAPA’s servethe area from 87th 119th streets, California to Beverly avenues. In order to communicate effectively and address the different needs of each section of the community, BAPA’s service area is broken down into several smaller sections called civic associations.  These groups are vital to our overall community because they give a voice to the specific needs of particular areas 

Every resident of Beverly/Morgan Park is encouraged to be involved in their civic association. Each association has its own personality, priorities and challenges which contribute to the spirit of the neighborhood. BAPA’s goal is to help each of the civic associations to be strong and active so that we can work together on larger projects that are important to the whole community 

Active civic associations help build relationships with neighbors, strengthen communication and create a unified voiceWorking on projects together provides a sense of pride and satisfaction right where we live.  Most associations have a family friendly focus, offering activities like bike rides, movie nights and Easter egg hunts. Many associations participate in tree plantings and the annual Clean and Green, working to beautify their area’s park or public space.  

Problemsolving also fosters active participation.  In the past, associations have addressed issues such as traffic, noise, and problem homes or businesses.  

The more you get involved, the more you will Love Where You Live.  

Neighbors who want more information about the new neighbor meet and greet or becoming active in their civic association can contact me at or 773-233-3100. I look forward to hearing from you. Together we are stronger.  

Nine One One BBQ Shack Feeds the Neighborhood 

By Kristin Boza 

A new name, a new location, but the same amazing barbecue: Nine One One BBQ Shack, 2734 W. 111th St., is on deck to save any hunger emergencies. 

Known as 19 Paul BBQ at its former location at 111th and Vincennes, Nine One One delivers the same tastes that locals have come to love, and a name that keeps neighbors mindful of the people we rely on to serve and protect our community 

“Restaurants typically name a restaurant to give honor to a food or person; why not a group of people? It’s a heartfelt way of acknowledging the work that our first responders do on a daily basis: helping to preserve our way of life,” said owner Kurrin Beamon.  

The Nine One One menu consists of slowly smoked ribs, brisket, chicken and pulled pork. Side options include salads, greens, their famous mac ‘n cheese, sweet potatoes, fries and slaw. They are open for takeout, delivery, walk-ups and even catering.  

There’s something magical about a hearty plate of BBQ on a cold winter day. “When the chill hits our bones, a slab of ribs with a side of greens and the sweet indulgence of peach cobbler can make terrible weather feel more like a mid-summer’s night breeze!” said Beamon. 

Beamon’s brisket smokes with hickory wood for 14 hours. At-home barbecue enthusiasts should never rush the process, as “… any true BBQ is worth the wait,” according to Beamon. She advises that patience is the key to perfecting barbecue; simply flavor your brisket with any favorite spices and let it smoke. 

In March, Nine One One will add some St. Paddy’s Day flavors into their regular menu with smoked BBQ corned beef with potatoes. 

Nine One One BBQ Shack is open Mon. through Thurs.,10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Fri. and Sat. from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Find their menu and more at 

Nine One One Collard Greens 

lbs collard greens
1 turkey wing
1 red onion
1 yellow onion
4 cups chicken stock
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt to taste 

In a large pot, add chicken stock, one turkey wing, onions, red pepper flakes and collard greens. Cook on high until a rapid boil builds, then, simmer until tender. Add salt to taste and serve! 

Rebeca Huffman: Dedicated to Helping Chicago’s Kids

By Kristin Boza 

City Year Chicago is making a big impact in the lives of nearly 15,000 Chicago Public School students on the south and west sides. City Year Chicago Executive Director Rebeca Nieves Huffman is a Beverly/Morgan Park resident who volunteered through the program from 1998 to 1999, and she now dedicates her career to helping other children reach their full potential and eventually make an impact in their communities.  

The program is part of an initiative that pairs AmeriCorps volunteers with elementary and high school students in 29 cities across the United States to address the risks and long-lasting effects of student drop-out rates. As executive director of the Chicago program, Huffman is responsible for raising the resources necessary to run the programs and to be the face and voice for the city’s youth. 

“I consider it such a privilege that I’m the first in my family to graduate from college. Growing up in Humboldt Park, which is very similar to Beverly, I grew up with people that thought the same way, went to the same church, and spoke the same language. It’s great to lead a team that looks like the United Nations; we have different belief systems and educational levels and backgrounds, but we are all role models for our students,” Huffman said. “My role is to raise money, be a voice for our youth, and help our students meet academic goals while also being there for them socially and emotionally.” 

Huffman and her husband Craig moved to Beverly/Morgan Park in 2008, and were drawn here because of the strong sense of community, great schools and safe atmosphere. “When we were looking at houses in Beverly, we almost felt like we were in the suburbs with the sprawling yards and family feel,” she said. “I remember hearing about how safe it is here and it was great to know that my kids would be able to ride their bikes in front of the house. There’s a great community of neighbors here; if we see something ‘off’ or great about the kids, we let each other know. It feels like a village is coming together to raise them.” 

With a son at Sutherland Elementary School and a daughter at St. Barnabas School, Huffman is entrenched in the variety of educational opportunities available here. “Schools are a reflection of the value of the community. I have two kids with completely different educational needs, and it’s great that they can be met at these two separate learning environments,” she said. 

City Year Chicago is always looking for donations of money or time to help reach as many CPS students as possible. In April, the organization will hold its annual Ripples of Hope gala, which accounts for a quarter of their private revenue dollars. To find out more about City Year Chicago or make a donation, visit 

BAPA Board Profile: Maureen Gainer Reilly

By Kristin Boza

Meet Maureen Gainer Reilly, BAPA board president. Gainer Reilly has served on the board for three years, the past two as president. Her role at BAPA is to work to promote the Beverly/Morgan Park community to residents throughout the city, while also connecting neighbors and acting as an advisor to BAPA staff.

Gainer Reilly spent the early part of her career in a variety of non-profit and social service organizations. In 2003, she started her own consulting firm, GO Consulting, which provides services in Project Management and Process Improvement. “My work enables me to assist BAPA and its small but mighty staff as they work to constantly improve the organization,” she said.

A native Beverly/Morgan Park resident and part of a family that routinely supported BAPA, she, like many, moved away from the area for a while. However, again like many in the neighborhood, she knew she would make her way back once she started her family. “I am part of BAPA because my hope is that my children will be drawn back to live a couple blocks from us after they have traveled the world. I share my time with BAPA because I also hope that people from all over the city will be drawn here, bringing their ideas, energy, and fresh perspective,” Gainer Reilly said. “People are drawn here because we have incredible talent in this neighborhood in so many groups, alliances, and businesses that are collaborating to bring art, culture, beauty, and amenities to our streets.”

The excitement and commitment to the cause of creating a vibrant and whole community is what drives Gainer Reilly. “BAPA events that connect neighbors and build community feed the programs that support our schools, preserve our historic homes, beautify our streets, and keep our neighborhood vibrant,” she said. “The Richard Driehaus Charitable Trust is known to support only organizations that have a track record of success, strong leadership, and efficient management. The response to our recent Dreihaus campaign was overwhelming! People believe in the mission and the show of financial support is humbling and motivating to our staff and Board of Directors.”

Connect with BAPA in 2019; come to an event, read about neighbors in The Villager, volunteer, call the office for a quality trade referral, plant a tree with us, and help us make you Love Where You Live.


Know Your Neighbors: Photographer’s Work on Exhibit at Cultural Center

By Abby Johnson

Cecil McDonald, Jr. fell in love with photography in college. He was in his final year of undergraduate school studying Fashion Merchandising when he signed up for an introductory class as an elective to pass the time. He’s been hooked ever since.

McDonald, a resident of Beverly/Morgan Park for more than two decades, now works as an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, the same school from which he received an MFA in Photography. His work has been showcased both nationally and internationally in galleries in Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, New York and Haarlem, Netherlands.

Last year, McDonald released “In the Company of Black,” a book of photographs featuring African-American subjects whom he describes as “extraordinarily ordinary”— educators, artists, administrators, business owners, teachers and students.

“Cecil McDonald Jr.: In the Company of Black,” photographs from the book, will be on exhibit Jan. 19 to Apr. 14, Chicago Cultural Center 78 E. Washington St. Admission is free.

“These people are an important part of society’s framework,” McDonald said. “They need to be seen!”

The 144-page book began as a small project in 2007 when McDonald started to photograph his friends and family in attempt to showcase the difference between his fellow African-Americans and the African-American lifestyles portrayed to society.

“We are fed images of two types of black people: the megastar athlete and the poor man who can’t support his family,” McDonald said. “In reality, most people don’t fit into either of these categories.”

Soon, McDonald began taking photographs of strangers, too. But it wasn’t until several years later, while completing the Artist-In-Residency program at Light Work in Syracuse, NY, that McDonald was hit with the idea to create a book.

“I saw other residents trying to turn their work into books,” he said. “So I thought ‘hey I should try that, too’”.

McDonald presented the idea to his former teaching assistant Matt Austin of Candor Arts, an independent art book publisher based in Chicago.

“He said ‘let’s do it, let’s try it,’” McDonald said. “So we did, and the response has been overwhelmingly supportive.”

The book features an introduction written by Tempestt Hazel, a former student of McDonald, and was nominated for the 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Award. Last month, a selected portion of the photographs featured in McDonald’s book were on display at Illinois State University Galleries. The same exhibition will be showcased at the Chicago Cultural Center in January.

For McDonald, the photographs are the most important part of his recent journey. They tell a story that challenges the roles designated to African-Americans by our cultural landscape, he said. While McDonald is humbled by the success of his book release, he believes it’s the photographs themselves that have the potential to make the biggest impact.

In fact, McDonald hopes the photographs never return to Chicago. Why? Because the whole world needs to observe them, to understand their symbolism.

“These images need to be seen,” he said. “Everywhere.”


New Neighbors: Why We Moved to Beverly/Morgan Park

Matt and Julie Gandurski

The Gandurskis bought their house in West Beverly a little over a year ago, and are finding it a great spot for their young children, Benny, 2, and Ellie, 3 months. Matt, a musician, music talent buyer, and bartender for Lagunitas Brewery’s Chicago Taproom, grew up at 104th and Leavitt and Julie, a teacher in Chicago Public Schools, grew up in Orland. Why did they choose Beverly/Morgan Park when it was time to buy a home?

“We have family and friends here,” Matt said. “Beverly was an easy choice when it came to price, and it’s such a beautiful neighborhood. Our house is right next to Mt. Greenwood Cemetery so we’re practically surrounded by nature. It doesn’t feel like we’re in the city at all.”

What’s the couple’s favorite aspect of life in Village in the City? “Friendly neighbors,” Matt said. “It sounds cliche, but it’s great to live in a place where you know all of your neighbors’ names and everyone looks out for one another.”

Cassandra Taylor: Entrepreneur, Mom and Youth Advocate

By Kristin Boza 

Beverly/Morgan Park resident Cassandra Taylor is a tenacious entrepreneur and founder of Just For Kids, a before and after school program that fills a much-needed childcare role in the community. Now entering its 13th year, Just For Kids expanded to include summer camp and school holiday programs to ensure kids have a safe and fun place to go when school is out of session and their parents are at work.  

Taylor began her career as a Chicago Public Schools teacher, but felt called to serve the community in other ways after her first child was born. “I greatly enjoyed my time teaching in the classroom, but it had always been my calling to do something on a larger scale that impacted youth,” she said. “Teaching does this, but it has boundaries. The sky is the limit when you are operating your own establishment.” 

After spending a lot of time in prayer, Taylor says God gave her the vision to develop an after school program. “I began to research the idea and speak with people in the industry in different states. Some local companies were discouraging as they stated ‘you’ll never be able to sustain serving school-aged children only.’ But it wasn’t, and still isn’t, about monetary gain for me. It’s about serving the community, helping other moms, and keeping children safe,” she said. 

Just For Kids officially opened in 2005, and moved to space in Morgan Park Baptist Church in 2006. Taylor was able to make a sustainable business when others thought it couldn’t be done. Community support has been integral to her success. “I am most thankful for the wonderful committee of Morgan Park Baptist Church; they are the most loving, supportive and caring group of people. The neighbors of the church have been so kind in supporting our youth program in the community. Ald. Matt O’Shea has been a fantastic leader and his office is amazing in their support,” she said. “Our children and parents at Just For Kids are family and we seek to be a home away from home for our families.” 

Aside from Just For Kids, Taylor has been a real estate investor in a family-owned business since 1999, and also owned and operated a literacy program for youth that she initiated in 1998. Now, she is working on a series of books that focus on spirituality and children. “The art and reflection that goes into writing requires a lot of time, prayer and solitude,” Taylor said. Yet she’s able to effectively balance her four children, plus her “kids” at Just For Kids.  

As a positive and spiritual individual, Taylor encourages other female entrepreneurs to keep looking at the glass as half full and surround themselves with positive people. “If it sometimes boils down to only you, that’s just fine. God needs personal time to work with you on what your assignment is. Stay focused. When one door closes, there are plenty of others that are available to open. Don’t beat yourself up when failures happen, they exist to make you stronger. This world is gigantic, take your dream where it’ll work for you and you for it!” 

To find out more about Just For Kids, call 773-747-6473 or visit