By Ken Trainor
And speaking of anniversaries, 40 years ago, the Oak Park Women's Exchange, 839 S. Oak Park Ave., opened their doors and invited Oak Parkers to come in and experience a creative array of handmade crafts and original artwork. According to OPWE member Deanne Alexander, the founders considered the shop to be "the first step in the growth of a center where women could sell their items free of the divisions of politics, age or race. Their vision has grown and evolved over the past 40 years and continues to offer the finest locally made artisanal crafts. The OPWE co-op allows its members to price and sell their work so the highest return goes back to each artist, providing a great service to both their members and their community."
Anything (other than stuff like Dutch elm disease) that lasts 40 years deserves to be celebrated, and Alexander says, "Oak Park should be proud that they support one of the few existing Women's Exchanges in the whole country."
To mark the occasion, refreshments, free raffles and more are being provided through the month of July.
Also, Channel 7 News is planning to cover the exchange's 40th. They originally covered the opening in 1974. OPWE is hoping to combine their coverage with the premiere of a documentary about the organization, filmed by OPRF students. The doc is just being completed, so the date for the event will be announced soon.