In just its third year, the Beverly Art Walk has quickly become a community event that residents and visitors from outside the neighborhood mark down on their calendar several months in advance.
Featuring hundreds of pieces of local artwork at businesses and home studios throughout Beverly/Morgan Park, as well as food and live entertainment, the event has drawn thousands of people in its first two years.
This year, organizers are working to make the event bigger and better, and they’re including forms of art that go beyond traditional paintings and sketches.
The walk, which is set for Oct. 1, from noon to 7 p.m., and is organized by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, will include 55 locations this year, ranging from bars to boutiques between Western Avenue and Wood Street, from 95th to 111th streets.
Public art, craft beer and food are all on the schedule—as is additional live music.
According to organizers, the “Live, Loud and Local” music initiative will be in the spotlight this year and will include a live music stage outside Horse Thief Hollow brewery/restaurant, 10426 S. Western Ave.
Chicago radio station 93.1 WRXT will also be set up at that location.
According to Lizzy Benner, who works at Horse Thief and is an Alliance board member, more than 20 live music performances will take place around the neighborhood, including five bands at Horse Thief and seven performances at Morgan Park Academy, 2153 W. 111th St. The Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St., will also host two performances in its courtyard.
There will also be bands at 99th Street and Walden Parkway, which is home to several local businesses. Two bands will also play at the Uprising Craft Fair at Olivia’s Garden, 10730 S. Western Ave., where more than 35 artists and craft vendors will sell a variety of handmade items, from jewelry and ceramics to all-natural bath and body products.
Several other Western Avenue locations will also offer live music.
Benner said the walk will showcase the high level of talent that exists locally.
“These guys are professionals,” Benner said. “They’re awesome. We’re just kind of bringing awareness into how talented and how great our music scene is on the South Side.”
A wide variety of music will be played, Benner said, including jazz, blues, bluegrass, Americana, classic rock, surf rock and rockabilly.
She still has musicians signing up to perform, she said, and hopes attendees realize that art encompasses many forms.
“You think ‘art walk,’ you think visual art, and there’s so much more to art—there’s performance art,” Benner said. “I think that music’s such a huge part of our neighborhood. Most of these musicians who I have playing, I would say probably 98 percent of them live and breathe in this neighborhood. So that in itself is just huge.”
In all, organizers said, about 200 artists will have their work on display. Some aspects of the walk have returned, including local residents opening up their home studios to provide insight on the “artistic process” and what inspires them.
Pop-up exhibits on 95th and 107th streets, as well as Western Avenue and Wood Street, are also planned.
A pop-up gallery at 2135 W. 95th St., will feature the work of St. Xavier University students and high school students, organizers said, while exhibits highlighting the work of artists from Blue Island, Pullman and Bronzeville will be on display at 10725 S. Western Ave., 11128 S. Western Ave., and 9937 S. Wood St., respectively. The Alliance teamed up with nearby suburbs and neighborhoods this year to expand the walk’s offerings.
The BAC will also host the “Women of Beverly” exhibit, created by local photographer Diego Martirena. The exhibit, which features over 30 local women, premieres on Sept. 25 at the BAC and will remain open throughout October. It includes photos, videos and interviews.
A new mural will also be unveiled at 9917 S. Walden Pkwy. Mitchell Egly, a Rogers Park artist, announced plans to create a neighborhood-themed mural in August. He has shared few details about what it will include.
King Lockhart Park, 10609 S. Western Ave., will once again host a children’s area, with the Beverly Hills Junior Woman’s Club assisting Cindy Wirtz, a former St. Barnabas Elementary School art teacher, with various projects. According to Wirtz, the area will include Erin’s Farm, a petting zoo run by local resident Erin Yanz; face painting; storytelling; and a “bike art” station, where children can trace and draw different parts of bicycles. A “bike art” sculpture will also be on display.
Beverly Records and the Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative are also assisting with the children’s area, which will be open from noon to 5 p.m.
“It’s a festival in itself,” Wirtz said. “It’s a convenient location on Western Avenue where families can take a break from all the activities on the west side of the street, and the adults can take a break and let their kids spend time with educational and entertaining activities.”
The bike art is part of a new theme this year. While three free trolleys will shuttle attendees through the neighborhood, organizers are pushing a “Bike the Walk” initiative.
Walk organizers have created a map of what they feel the best bike routes are, including long stretches on Longwood Drive and Leavitt Street. Bike corrals, temporary parking stations that can host about eight bikes, will also be set up at many locations participating in the walk.
Sal Campbell, co-founder of the Alliance, said biking has a two-fold impact.
“I definitely think biking is a great way to see the art and definitely a great way to see the neighborhood,” Campbell said. “I love showing off the neighborhood.”
She spent one recent afternoon putting up art at local businesses. The walk was still more than two weeks away, but she was excited.
“It’s like putting a puzzle together,” Campbell said. “I like fitting the right artists with the right space.”
After the walk, organizers said, the festivities will continue. Horse Thief Hollow is set to host an after party with live music, food and craft beer from 7 to 10:30 p.m.
For more information, visit the Web site at beverlyarts.org.