The Arts: Batik Exhibit is Explosion of Color and Themes

By Linda Lamberty

An explosion of color and themes welcomes visitors to the exhibit of works by the late Ethel Wirtshafter (1909-2009) at Ridge Historical Society (RHS), 10621 S. Seeley Ave. The art works all clearly show the exquisite touch of the much-loved local artist.
RHS has the distinct honor to have these works, most on loan from the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association, the Beverly Arts Center and a number of personal collections, on display through Feb. 24.

Predominantly composed of the artist’s very distinctive batiks, as well as informative text by another local artist, Mary Lenzini, the exhibit describes Wirtshafter’s life, art and technique. Visitors who knew Wirtshafter, a long time neighborhood resident, have remarked how wonderful it is to see so many of her creations gathered in one space.
Born and raised in Chicago, Wirtshafter came from an artistically gifted family and was blessed with an innate love of nature. She graduated from Northwestern University in 1931, where scenery painting for the theater department ultimately led her to a lifetime making and teaching art.
From scoring and printing linoleum blocks by candlelight in the Pacific Northwest, to photographing celebrities at the Edgewater Beach Hotel back in Chicago, to marriage, motherhood, world travel and over 45 years teaching children’s art classes at the Vanderpoel gallery, Ethel Wirtshafter lived life with gusto.  She passed away half a year short of her century mark, leaving behind a most prolific body of work, and countless fans.
Years ago when selling at the Beverly Art Fair on the grounds of Morgan Park Academy, Wirtshafter said how much she loved the way her batiks looked hanging on a line with sunlight behind them. Consequently, an effort has been made in the RHS exhibit to backlight all works that are unframed or have open backs.
One outstanding batik included the exhibit is of a mythological griffin and was discovered on eBay. The seller, having found it at an estate sale in Naples, Fla., had no idea of the identity of the artist, the age of the piece or the medium, suggesting in the description that it might be painted hide or part of an ancient text. It popped up using only Wirtshafter’s signature, “ELW,” as a search term. The beautiful piece is now in the appreciative buyer’s collection.
To schedule a visit to see the exhibit, call 773-881-1675 or email  School groups are welcome after the first of the year. Visit to learn about RHS and upcoming events.

Neighborhood Notes January 2019


Sign up for Ridge Run by Jan. 15 and Save $5. Registration is open for BAPA’s Ridge Run on Memorial Day, Mon., May 27. If you sign up by Jan. 15, you can save $5 on race fees. The Ridge Run features a 10K run, 5K run and walk, and one mile youth run. BAPA presents the Beverly/Morgan Park Memorial Day Parade and ceremony as part of the Ridge Run. Find info and registration at

Learn How to Draw Comics and Manga. Vanderpoel Art Association Saturday Drawing Classes for 4th through 8th graders begin Jan. 5. Classes cover the basics of drawing, in addition to cartooning and sequential art (comic strips, comic books manga and graphic novels).  Each class is limited to 15 students; choose morning or afternoon sessions: 10 to 11:30 a.m. or 12 to 1:30 p.m. Jim and Spencer McGreal will be co-teaching. Info /reservations: or

Celebrate the new year with Champagne and Sweets, Sat., Jan. 5, 5 to 7 p.m., Ridge Historical Society, 10621 S. Seeley. $25 per person, reservations required. 773-881-1675 or

Open Mic Afternoons. Open Mic Nights are Open Mic Afternoons starting Sun., Jan. 6, 4 p.m., Smith Village Community Hall, 2320 W. 113th Pl. Singers, musicians, comedians and other entertainers are welcome to perform. The event is free. Sign up your act with Debbie Parks, or 773-574-9727. General info: Meghan Maple, 773-474-7300.

Raise Your Voice in Song. The Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir is recruiting singers for its 20th season. Sponsored by the Community of Churches, the choir performs sacred music from classical to gospel at a concert in spring. There are no auditions and music is provided. Music pick-up and registration is Sun., Jan. 6, 3:15 to 5 p.m., Immanuel United Church of Christ, 9815 S. Campbell Ave. Rehearsals begin at same location Sun., Jan. 13, 3:15 p.m. also at Immanuel UCC.

All voices are welcome though male voices are particularly needed. Info:

An Artist’s Life A Century in the Making, an exhibit of batiks and other works by Ethel Wirtshafter, 1909-2009, through Feb. 24, Ridge Historical Society, 10621 S. Seeley Ave. Hours/appointments: 773-881-1675 or

Support Group for Caregivers. Beverly/Morgan Park residents who are caregivers for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are welcome to join a free support group Tues., Jan. 8, 6:30 p.m., Smith Village at 2320 W. 113th Pl. In an open discussion led by Diane Morgan, Smith Village social service director of long-term care, participants can address issues such as sun-downing, wandering, memory loss and more. Reservations: 773-474-7300 or

Election Judges Needed. The Chicago Board of Elections is seeking persons to serve as election judges for the municipal election, Tues., Feb. 26. Election judges are responsible for the conduct of elections at each polling place. For details on eligibility and requirements, and to apply to become an election judge, visit

CAPS Meetings. All area residents are encouraged to get involved in CAPS meetings. For information, call the 22nd District CAPS office, 312-745-0620, email at, or stop by the 22nd District Police Station, 1900 W. Monterey. Court Advocacy Subcommittee, Wed., Jan. 9, 1:30 p.m. 22nd District Police Station. Domestic Violence Subcommittee, Thurs., Jan. 24, 10:30 a.m. 22nd District Police Station.

Parenting the iGen Seminar. Mother McAuley High School and Smart Girl Society, Inc. will host, “Parenting the iGen,” Thurs., Jan. 10, 7 p.m., at the school, 3737 W. 99th St. This free event is open to the community and will offer an in-depth look at how children are using social media, and tips and tools to help minimize negative experiences. RSVP

LSC Meetings. Kellogg School LSC, Thurs., Jan. 10, 6 p.m. Library, 9241 S. Leavitt St., 773-535-2590; Clissold School LSC, Mon., Jan. 14, 7 p.m. Auditorium, 2350 W. 110th Pl., 773-535-2560; Sutherland School LSC, Tues., Jan. 15, 6:30 p.m. 10015 S. Leavitt St., 773-535-2580; Morgan Park High School LSC, Wed., Jan. 16, 6 p.m. Library, 1744 W. Pryor, 773-535-2550.

The Frunchroom, Volume XVI: Winter of our discotheque edition, features five stories Thurs., Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m., Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. The quarterly South Side reading series is organized and emceed by Scott Smith in conjunction with the Beverly Area Arts Alliance. The Frunchroom readers are Dennis Foley, author of The Blue Circus;” poet, novelist and playwright Angela Jackson;
Nneka Jones Tapia, a psychologist committed to justice; photographer, musician and writer Preston Thomas; and co-owner of The Quilter’s Trunk Lisa Wilberding. The event is sponsored by the Beverly Arts Center. $5 donation requested.

Coffee and Conversation. State Sen. Bill Cunningham and State Rep. Fran Hurley invite area residents to share their thoughts at Coffee and Conversation Sat., Jan 19, 9 to 10 a.m., Dunkin Donuts, 10401 S. Western. Info: 773-445-8128 or

Need Computer Assistance? Cybernavigators are available at Beverly Branch Library, 1962 W. 95th St., Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., by appointment. Get one-on-one help learning how to use your computer. Stop in to set up an appointment or call 312-747-9673.

Programs Focus on Good Health. Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St., offers a full schedule of classes, support groups, screenings and special programs aimed at helping area residents get and stay healthy. On the schedule this winter are CHEER (Choices, Humor, Enhancement, Education, Renewal), “Resolve to Get Involved,” Wed., Jan 16, 11 a.m., free; Babysitting Safe and Secure, a babysitting skills class for kids age 11 to 14, Mon., Jan 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $70; Healthy Heart Screenings, a full complement of vital tests, by appointment, $70; Cherished Angel Perinatal Loss Support Group for people coping with miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death, Sat., Jan., 19, 10:30 a.m., free; and Senior Social Club for independent active adults over age 60, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., $2/month. Info and registration: 708-423-5774 or

Medicare 101. Do you have questions about Medicare Health Insurance or do you just want to know how it works?  Whether you’re turning 65 or a seasoned Medicare member, Medicare 101 presents information on Medicare changes for this year Wed., Jan 16, 12 to 2 p.m., Beverly Branch Chicago Public Library, 1962 W. 95th St. Info: 312-747-9673.


Platinum Adventures. Platinum Adventures programs and day trips are offered through Wintrust. This month’s adventures include “Meet Jackie Kennedy,” a first-person performance by Leslie Goddard set in 1964 and covering stories about the former First Lady’s marriage, work to restore the White House and struggle for privacy, Wed., Jan. 16, 2 p.m., First National Bank of Evergreen Park, 3960 W. 95th St., free; and a trip to the Lizzardo Museum of Lapidary Art in Elmhurst, Tues., Jan. 29, leaving from Ridge Academy, 2501 W. 103rd St., at 9:45 a.m., $75/members or $80/non-members. Info/reservations, Margie O’Connell, 773-298-4712 or

Castle Concert Series. Anne Harris plays the violin and dances Sat., Jan. 19, 7 p.m., Givins Castle, 10244 S. Longwood Dr. To sample her music, visit The concert is the next in the series of folk music performances at the historic Givins Castle and Heritage Gallery. A $20 donation is suggested with proceeds going toward maintenance of the Castle. Info: 773-719-7059.


Brother Rice High School Trivia Night. Alumni Moms will host the 7th Annual Trivia Night Sat., Jan. 26, Brother Rice High School Carmody Center, 99th and Pulaski. Doors open at 6 p.m. and trivia begins at 7.  $20 per person. Tickets/ info:

Preparations Underway for 2019 Crystal Heart Ball Gala. The Crystal Heart Ball, the premier fundraising event for Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH), will be held Sat., Feb. 2, 2019 at the Field Museum. The theme for the black tie gala is Starry Night and proceeds will benefit Interventional Radiology Services at LCMH.  Crystal Heart Ball guests will enjoy a gourmet dinner prepared by Food For Thought and music stylings by Maggie Speaks – Talk of the Town Big Band. The Ball will honor Jim McKeever – Kevin Dowling Scholarship Fund and Christmas Without Cancer. Uzma and Hamid Nazeer, D.O., and Lindsay and Chris Vandenberg are 2019 chair couples.  For more call the LCMH Foundation, 708-229-5447 or visit







Art and Culture at the Ridge Park Art Fair

 By Krsistin Boza 

The inaugural Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival is slated for Sat., June 23 at the Ridge Park Cultural Center, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. As a joint effort between the Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC), the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association and the Chicago Park District, the art fair promises to bring art, culture and fun to the community. 

Irene Testa, president of the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association, came up with the idea of the summertime art festival to enhance the rise of the vibrant arts community in Beverly/Morgan Park.  

“Artists need our support and their contributions to society are not adequately acknowledged and rewarded,” Testa said. “The Art Fair fits perfectly with the mission of the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association, which is to aid children and adults in acquiring a knowledge of and an appreciation for art.” 

The Art Fair is supported by Ridge Park supervisor Dan Ryan, and RPAC, led by Mary Jo Viero. Testa says that the assistance and support from the park district and RPAC has been invaluable to gaining momentum for the Art Fair. 

Forty-one artists will open booths at the Art Fair, selling their art and chatting with attendees. Participating artists will be selling paintings, photos, jewelry, ceramics, and even dolls.  

“I invite the public to support the artists by purchasing their art. It takes a lot of work to set up a booth and dedicate a day to selling their creations,” Testa said. “Let’s make it a rewarding day for the artists, and the community will benefit from having an Art Fair right here in Beverly.”  

The Ridge Park Art Fair will also offer visitors many opportunities to experience community fun. The ceramics studio at Ridge Park and the Vanderpoel Gallery will be open for tours, and local artist Judie Anderson will create a watercolor rendition of Ridge Park during the event. 

Families with young children are welcomed as well, and a bounce house will be set up for the kids to enjoy. Three food trucks will be selling food onsite, including Calabria’s, Pollo Locuas and Smokin’ BBQ Kitchen. Attendees can also dance and enjoy live music. 

For more information, visit the Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival website at 

Art Fair & Festival Debuts at Ridge Park this Summer

The 1st annual Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival will take place Sat., June 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Ridge Park Cultural Center, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. The event is being planned by the Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC) and John H. Vanderpoel Art Association along with the Chicago Park District, and will highlight Beverly/Morgan Park as a cultural hub.

The Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival will feature more than 40 Chicago area artists working across a wide variety of media, selling original paintings, sculptures, textiles, photographs, jewelry, art glass, leatherwork and more. Registration is now closed to artists.

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

Rounding out the day will be events for patrons of all ages: food trucks, a bouncy castle, local bands, the opportunity to connect with Beverly/Morgan Park institutions and services.

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

Art Fair & Festival Debuts at Ridge Park this Summer

The 1st annual Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival will take place Sat., June 23 at the Ridge Park Cultural Center, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. The event is being planned by the Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC) and John H. Vanderpoel Art Association along with the Chicago Park District, and will highlight Beverly/Morgan Park as a cultural hub.

The Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival will feature Chicago area artists working across a wide variety of media, selling their paintings, sculptures, wearables, prints, photographs, and much more. Event planners anticipate a diverse array of art and artists will participate.

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

Rounding out the day will be events for patrons of all ages: food trucks, a bouncy castle, local bands, the opportunity to connect with Beverly/Morgan Park institutions and services.

Chicagoland artists are invited to apply for the Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival at  A. $20 application fee is required and will be used toward the $85 booth fee for artists accepted into the juried fair. Space is limited. Eligible fine art media include paintings, sculpture, ceramics, leather crafts, textiles, jewelry, and art glass.  For more information, contact Irene Testa,

Jim McGreal: Artist, Illustrator and Website Guru

By Kristin Boza

Since he moved here in 1979, Jim McGreal has made an impact on the Beverly/Morgan Park community — in one way or another. With a group of friends, McGreal met with Sis Costello from BAPA for assistance in finding a house to rent in Beverly. “I’m sure that was a challenge because at the time, my roommates and I were a pretty scruffy bunch. We also tended to hold some pretty loud parties. My apologies to all of our very patient neighbors back then who heard our stereo blasting Springsteen, Allman Brothers and the Beatles until wee hours in the morning,” McGreal said.

Eventually, McGreal settled down with his wife Liz. They’ve been in their current East Beverly home since 1990, where they raised their two children, Spencer and Anna.

“The diversity of Beverly is my favorite part of living here and was the main factor in me moving here,” McGreal said. “I was looking for a neighborhood that had moved beyond racism, an inclusive environment . . . Beverly has shaped [my children’s] lives and the way that they relate to races and cultures. It has proved to be the perfect neighborhood for us and our children to grow up in.”

McGreal is an artist and built a strong career as an illustrator and cartoonist. He got his start as an assistant to Dale Messick, creator of the “Brenda Starr” comic strip which began syndication in the Chicago Tribune in the 1940s. McGreal then moved on to producing illustrations and filmstrips for the National PTA and the Society for Visual Education. As technology boomed, he dove into computer art, developing early computer games and educational products for a start-up videotext company. In the mid-1980s, McGreal broke new ground with Vector, the first full-color computer comic with co-creator Rich Mrozek.

In 1995, McGreal started his own business, JMC Studios, Inc., to develop CD-ROMS and early websites for World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Britannica. At this time, he also localized his business to create some of the first websites for BAPA, Beverly Arts Center, Ridge Historical Society and other organizations.

But his love of creating comics never died down.

“Beginning in 1999, the SIBZ comic strip, developed with my brother Pat, a comedy writer in L.A., debuted in The Villager and ran for 10 years,” McGreal said. The McGreal brothers also created Future Shock Comics, a strip that appeared in newspapers across the nation from 2010 to 2014. McGreal’s work was also seen in the 2016 Beverly Art Walk.

Recently McGreal took over the Vanderpoel Art Association Saturday art classes at Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. He teaches basic drawing skills and cartooning, and sequential art, like comic books, comic strips and graphic novels.

The class is targeted to students in 4th through 8th grade. “There is a long history of drawing classes at the Vanderpoel Art Association, and it’s a wonderful environment for the students, surrounded by original works of art, including many of John Vanderpoel’s drawings and paintings,” McGreal said. “The class I teach is for students who want to learn the mechanics of telling a story and developing characters through the comic art medium.”

McGreal currently produces two comic strips:  “Wrench” appears in “Chief Engineer Magazine,” and “94 South” appears in south suburban newspapers.

“Like many others who live here, I feel lucky to have found this special place and I’m grateful for the many friends I’ve met throughout the years,” McGreal said. Thanks to his contributions to the art community of Beverly/Morgan Park, it’s safe to say we are also lucky he found his way here.


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: Contact/info:  Jessica McCarihan, 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: Contact: Peggy Rourke, 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: Contact/info: Monica B. Wilczak, 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 Contact/info: Margot Holland, 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:  Contact/info:  Shellee Frazee, Artistic Director,  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, or

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:, Facebook – thebia1. Contact/info: Molly Sullivan,

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: 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: Info: Bob Olszewski, 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,

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

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:  Contact/info:  Dee Atkins, Director of Corporate & Volunteer Relations,  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, 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: or Donna Dalton, president,

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: Contact RHS: 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:

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

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.


Photography Exhibit ‘Revisits’ Norman Rockwell

By Carol Flynn

The Vanderpoel Art Association (VAA) is hosting “Revisiting Rockwell,” an exhibit by photographer Maggie Meiners, through Tues., Nov. 15 in the association gallery in Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr.

The exhibit contains 16 photographs that re-create famous scenes by Norman Rockwell, but with a modern twist.

Rockwell (1894-1978) was a popular artist most famous for the 323 cover illustrations he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine from 1916 until 1963. He offered idealistic and often humorous looks at American life that reflected traditional family and patriotic values.

Although Rockwell painted scenes depicting simple everyday events – a couple having breakfast, parents tucking their children in for the night – his images made the viewer consider the relationships and interactions of the subjects.

Meiners has taken that one step farther by reworking the scenes based on modern society. The result is a series of photographs that show the increasing complexity of relationships, and in some cases, the increasing impersonalization of relationships.

Take, for example, that image of the couple having breakfast. In Rockwell’s version, titled “At the Breakfast Table,” the husband is buried in the newspaper, leaving the wife forlorn, with nothing to do. This earned the picture the familiar name, “The Neglected Housewife.” In Meiners’ retelling, the man is still buried in the paper, but now the woman is busy on her laptop and cell phone – she’s no longer waiting for his attention, she has her own interests to pursue. Meiners calls this image, “Power Breakfast,” and asks, “Refueling the body and brain, but what about the relationship?”

Meiners also comments on controversial societal issues through her photographs. One example is “Cock, Bang and Repeat,” a modern version of Rockwell’s 1943 “Freedom from Fear.”

Rockwell painted a series called the Four Freedoms, based on an address President Franklin Roosevelt gave to Congress. In the address, Roosevelt talked about freedom from want and from fear, freedom of speech, and freedom to worship. Rockwell interpreted these as paintings which ran in the Post, and then the paintings toured the country, raising money for the war effort.

“Freedom from Fear” showed a white mother and father tucking into bed their two young sons, a poignant scene for the World War II years. In Meiners’ version, a lone black mother watches over her sons, holding a newspaper with the headline, “Another black youth shot.” This creates a poignant scene for 2016.

Meiners is from the Chicago area, and went to school in the Berkshires area of Massachusetts, which is the location of the Norman Rockwell Museum. On a tour of the Rockwell Museum and observed the response viewers had to Rockwell’s paintings.

“I was taken with how well Rockwell’s images engaged the viewers, how accessible his work was,” said Meiners. “Everyone was having such a good time, really relating to the nostalgia of his works. I decided it would be interesting to re-create some of his mages with a modern twist. I researched Rockwell, and what he focused on. I want people to connect to my photos as they did to Rockwell’s, while also commenting on social issues. Art can be a platform for change.”

Each photograph took about three months to create,

“This is a very thoughtful exhibit,” said Irene Testa, President of VAA. “It was not thrown together haphazardly. I consider it a real coup that Maggie agreed to show her work at our gallery.”

Rockwell is quoted as saying, “I showed the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.”

Meiners can say the same thing about her interpretations, and a viewer gets the feeling that Rockwell would approve.

The Vanderpoel Art Association gallery is open to the public Tues. and Thurs., 1 to 4 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is free.

The VAA was founded in 1914 as a memorial to John Vanderpoel (1857-1911), neighborhood resident, artist and instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The VAA will hold a celebration to honor John Vanderpoel’s birthday Sun., Nov. 13, 2 to 4 p.m. at the gallery.  Open to the public, plans include an appraisal clinic for art work and antiques. Info: 773-779-0007.



Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria