Twenty years ago there was a wall along the lake, trash strewn about, graffiti littering the
area, and people that were questionable harassing the passersby.
A small group of Rogers Park residents (Keith Lord, Katie Hogan, Regina Robinson, and
Richard Kaufman) sat on Keith Lord's back porch and came up with a brilliant idea to
change the face of this wall; An Artists of the Wall festival.
By cleaning up the area, painting the walls, and involving the police force in the painting,
the negative personas that were in the area disappeared while the beautification of the
area became apparent.
The event has, since then, turned into a celebration of Rogers Park and it’s culturally
diverse residents. People from all over have come to paint at Rogers Park’s Artists of the
Businesses, churches, police, firefighters, lifeguards and people from age eighteen
months to eighty years old have painted one of the 154 spaces on this 5,000 square foot
(600 feet) wall over the past twenty years.
The Artists of the Wall festival is a one-of-a-kind, ever-changing art project, the largest
of its kind along the lakefront and running for twenty years, something unprecedented in
Artists of the Wall doesn't just promote both amateur and professional artists, it also
promotes musicians by having an eclectic representation of Chicago-based bands. The
bands and musicians that have played at Artists of the Wall have shared the stage with
Windform, the first-of-its-kind art sculpture that was placed on city property.
“Twenty Years on the Wall” is our theme this Father's Day weekend. For years, this
event has defined what Father's Day is to our Rogers Park dads. In the past, fathers have
called, happiness evident in their voices, because they finally had the day with their
children and wanted to paint one of the spaces.
This year is special for another reason, too. Last year, one of the artists, Terrence, died as
a victim of gun violence in Chicago. His family contacted the Loyola Park Advisory
Council and asked that his space be left intact this year so that they can add their story to
his art. Terrence's death has saved the lives of six others because he was an organ donor.
Don't forget to be at Artists of the Wall, “20 on the Wall,” this Father's Day weekend
Saturday, June 15 to promote the beautification of our neighborhood, and taking a stand
Music Stage Program