Alliance Contemporary at NOB will present “Let’s Get Funky” on Saturday, June 12, from 6 to 10 p.m., at the hippest destination in Beverly, the pop-up art space behind Nicky’s of Beverly, 105th Street and Western Avenue.
Organizers with the Beverly Area Arts Alliance will pay homage to the great blues artists who brought their art form through Peoria and into Chicago during the Great Migration.
With the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Hound Dog Taylor and other formative Delta blues musicians laying the groundwork, blues became synonymous with the city of Chicago, especially on the South Side, and still is the definitive destination for enthusiasts from all over the world. Tour buses carrying international visitors make daily stops in the South Loop to visit Buddy Guy’s Legends. Muddy Water’s South Side home is now a step closer to landmark status in the city as blues rises to the top again.
Nicky’s of Beverly will carry the backbeat to the blues sound and presentation of original artwork and working artists as The Alliance partners with curator Paul Branton on June 12.
“Let’s Get Funky” is a three-part show currently open at the Beverly Arts Center, scheduled at Alliance Contemporary NOB on June 12 and open for daily viewing at Two Mile Coffee Bar, currently featuring works by Tim Anderson, Branton, Dalton Brown, Roger Carter, Edo, Jon Langford, Blake Lenoir, Paul Natkin, Dana Todd Pope, Jason E. Jones, Dorothy Straughter and Raymond Thomas.
At Nicky’s of Beverly, Tim Samuelson, Chicago’s “cultural historian emeritus,” will also share some iconic artifacts of blues history from his collection.
A portion of sales of artwork from “Let’s Get Funky” will help fund projects with Chicago Blues Revival and the Bronzeville Blues Collaborative.
The space—Alliance Contemporary at NOB—is distinguished by its eye-catching murals. Branton and local artist Phil Connon adorned the exterior of the building that previously housed a tree-cutting service with engaging images of blues musicians. The mural helped transform the nondescript garage into a welcoming art gallery and much more with musicians and artists projecting their talents “live” for visitors.
Supporters of the Beverly Area Arts Alliance are growing in number, and in recent weeks, they have wired their suggested donation of $20 in advance through the website beverlyarts.org instead of exchanging cash at the events, where specialty drinks and other cold beverages will be served. The advance donations have been helpful in enabling organizers to plan and reduce the exchange of money.
The Alliance has made substantial inroads from the Beverly/Morgan Park community into other neighborhoods of the city. Its current project pays homage to the musicians who made their way north to settle on Chicago’s South and West sides—and in so doing forever altered the musical and cultural fabric of Chicago and music.
“The past year-and-a-half has been challenging for all of us, but we are incredibly grateful to live in a diverse community with many creative, kind and hard-working people,” said Sal Campbell, one of The Alliance founders. “We believe in the power of art to lift our spirits and connect us with one another—even, or perhaps especially, during hard times.
“When stores and galleries and events were shut down, we sought ways to partner artists and businesses together to create public art in shop windows and outdoor spaces. Our goal was to keep the art, music and stories coming in a way that people could enjoy safely.”
Campbell said The Alliance has been “thrilled beyond measure” and pointed to more events after “Let’s Get Funky, a Summer Solstice event on June 19 and the ongoing Summer Concert Series.
“Let’s Get Funky” celebrates the people and places in Chicago that crusaded for blues the artform and carried the torch when the mainstream media was lending a deaf ear to the blues format that was relegated to overnight programming or college campuses.
For more information, visit beverlyarts.org.