With two days of live music performances, food, and outside vendors to spread art and flowers throughout the entire district, the Harrison Street Arts District's What's Blooming on Harrison event is, well, blooming.
"There have been significant improvements and the scope is always growing," said Dave King, owner of House of Heat, 336 Harrison St., and Roaring Belly Glass Werks, 344 Harrison St. New businesses have opened in the district, and "the group [of merchants] is more upbeat than in the past," King said.
The goal this year has been to maintain the neighborhood feel of the district by offering more children's activities while reaching out to bring in more people with additional vendors. On Saturday, crafts vendors will be stationed around the district (plant and flower vendors on Sunday) to fill in the gaps between businesses on the block where there are residential buildings.
"The street should be pretty full," said Laura Maychruk, chair of the event and owner of Buzz Cafe, 905 S. Lombard.
Also new this year will be live music by professional bands, including Expatriates, Wood Street Bloodhounds Bluegrass Blues Band, Silver Lining, Sling Blade, Suzanne & Len, Stuck in the Fifties, and The Farmers' Market Band.
Buzz Cafe will offer face painting, but not just any face painting, Maychruk said. Kids and adults who take the brush will be part of an art installation, 1000 Faces of Color, made from pictures of the painted faces.
One goal of the event is to remind people of what businesses have to offer, especially at a time when running an art-related business can be difficult, King said.
"We just want to get people to realize there are a lot of good shops down here that really need community support," he said.
Roaring Belly will feature work by guest artist Kelly Donahugh, and torch-worked glass demonstrations on Friday and Saturday.
The Perfect Dinner, 809 South Blvd., will offer food at the event all weekend.
Contact Drew Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Festivities will start tomorrow, May 19, and run through the weekend. Items of interest are highlighted below. All weekend there will be sales, live music and a food court with selections from Avant! Catering, Cafe le Coq, The Perfect Dinner and Starship Catering.
Thursday, May 19
Bead in Hand, 145 Harrison St., will offer a demonstration of and sale on a special cording for beaded projects. Discounts are also available at Studio Thirty-One, 31 Harrison St., and Art Gecko, 19 Harrison St. Guest artist Kelly Donahugh will be at Roaring Belly Glass' new location, 344 Harrison St.
Friday, May 20
An opening reception and other attractions begin at 6 p.m., including an exhibit of a quilt created by Mr. Krauter's Whittier school second grade class with help from Pamela Penney Textile Arts, 41 Harrison St. The project was funded by Art Start. The quilt is on display until 8 p.m.
Also offered: a woodcarving workshop at The Living Room Gallery, 350 Harrison St., from 7 to 9 p.m., led by Glen Braun, $15 per person, limited to 10;
Live music at Buzz Cafe, 905 S. Lombard, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
A torch-worked glass demonstration at Roaring Belly, 6 to 8 p.m., and decorative garden stone workshop at Bead in Hand ($5 per stone), 145 Harrison St.;
And artist receptions up and down the block.
Saturday, May 21
An all-day art fair featuring more than 40 artists starts at 10 a.m., as do children's activities at the Barrie Park Recreation Center at Lombard and Garfield, hosted by the park district.
Also: the Oak Park Regional Housing Center will offer vintage apartment tours (apartments marked with colorful flags) in the Arts District from 1 to 3 p.m., with free tote bags given to the first 200 people;
A trunk show of African beads, wood carvings, baskets and fabrics by Ebrima Sillah at Bead in Hand, 145 Harrison St.;
A free modern dance workshop by Winifred Haun and Dancers at The Living Room, 350 Harrison St., from 2 to 3:15 p.m., limited to 15, call 773-454-9843 to pre-register.
Activities for kids start at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Barrie Park Recreation Center at Lombard and Garfield, followed by a create your own card workshop, Expressions Graphics, 29 Harrison St., noon to 2 p.m.; crafts workshop at the corner of Harrison and Lombard hosted by Granny's Corner Child Care & Day Camp from noon to 4 p.m.; painting with produce at Harrison and Lombard, hosted by Wonder Works, from noon to 4 p.m.; face painting at Buzz Cafe, 905 S. Lombard from noon to 5 p.m.; watercolor craft station at Ferencak Gallery & School of Art, 904 Cuyler courtyard; spring flowers picture frame drop-in, Studio Thirty-One, 31 Harrison St.; bandana tie-dye workshop at Pamela Penny Textile Arts, 41 Harrison St.
Sunday, May 22
All day plant and flower vendors will be setup for sales along Harrison. Also: observe dance classes at One Point Center, 911 S. Lombard, 8:45 a.m. to noon; papermaking demonstration at The Art House, 43 Harrison St., noon to 3 p.m.; free used coffee grounds for garden compost at Buzz Cafe, 905 S. Lombard, noon to 5 p.m.; nature drawing demonstration by Gabriele Pietsch, 41 Harrison St., 2 to 3 p.m.; hand-painted T-shirt raffle at Jesik Hand Painted, 142 Harrison St., at 4:15 p.m.
Other activities mirror those on Saturday. Check www.harrisonstreet.com for a complete listing.