WAUKEGAN – Once a month more than 1,000 people from all walks of life converge with one thing in common: a passion for the arts.
Waukegan’s ArtWauk event runs every third Saturday of the month and during the event galleries and businesses in downtown Waukegan keep their doors open well into the evening.
Violet Ricker, executive director of Waukegan Main Street, said the event offers something for everyone.
“We’ve had people come from Chicago to Milwaukee,” Ricker said. “It’s just an extremely socially and economically diverse crowd that have art in common.”
But Ricker said art isn’t just what hangs on the walls. The event embraces all kinds of art, including live music, theater and other performances.
“We have every kind of art,” she said.
Emilie Dieck-Correa, president and co-founder of Dandelion Gallery, said participating in ArtWauk has helped to bring local artists’ work to a large audience and every month the gallery changes out its pieces for new work.
“This whole idea of Waukegan becoming a destination for the arts is really coming into fruition,” Dieck-Correa said. “To watch people walk through is exciting. There’s live music, people in the streets. And every month is an entirely new show.”
Vicki Marasco, curator of Urban Edge, another gallery that participates in ArtWauk, said all of the galleries offer something new and different.
“We’re not wanting to do what everyone else is doing,” Marasco said. “Because of the design of the space we’re keeping it very contemporary and upscale. All the art is very abstract [and] more modern.”
“Whether you’re an artist or not it doesn’t seem to matter,” Marasco said about those who enjoy a stroll through the downtown district during ArtWauk. “There’s such a great energy. I love it.”
And for those who might not be up for the walk between the northern and southern ends of Genesee Street where ArtWauk takes place, a pedicab is available.
Will Gardner of Waukegan started Pedal Pushers Pedicab Service in Waukegan to offer eco-friendly rides to event patrons.
“It’s half art fair half rock and roll,” Gardner said about ArtWauk.
He said having pedicabs in Waukegan seems only natural.
“This place breeds creativity,” he said.
The rickshaws are also a hit with the kids.
“They’re a lot of fun, and kids love them,” he said.
ArtWauk attendee Kate Stanley of Vernon Hills said she looks forward to ArtWauk events.
“It’s the local artists that are especially unique,” Stanley said. “There’s a wide variety of art and art prices. Whether you are wanting to buy or just looking, it’s a lot of fun.”
Robert A. Pioch of Mundelein talked technique and style with patrons at Dandelion Gallery as his artwork hung on the wall behind him.
“It’s kind of a positive ball of energy at ArtWauk,” Pioch said. “Anyone you talk to has a great attitude. It’s inspiring.”
This summer the event will also feature more activities for families with children.
“We want everyone to come and enjoy what Waukegan has to offer,” Ricker said.