It’s a daunting task to be an arts blogger in Oak Park.  Oak Park’s per capita of creative types is way above average.  In my circle of friends alone, there are painters, singers, textile artists, jewelry designers, dancers, glass workers, potters, and art instructors.  But I accepted this assignment mostly because I can’t help myself.  When the folks from the Wednesday Journal laid out the challenge of creating an active online arts conversation, I thought that sounded pretty cool.  Not only do I want to help strengthen and promote the arts scene in and around Oak Park, but I also want our local newspaper to thrive.

My qualifications for this job are a deep and abiding interest in the arts with only modest talents, and a nearly 10-year passion for Oak Park itself.  Oh yeah, and I have 17 years under my belt as a corporate marketer, followed by three years as an arts groupie.  More specifically, I have worked to help promote the Oak Park Arts District, served on the planning committee for ArtRageous! Oak Park, and helped represent the OP arts community for Census 2010.  Along the way, I’ve worked with several artists to help them polish their business skills.

I thought we’d call this blog OP-art:  OP as in Oak Park, OP as in opinion, OP as in a style of art also known as optical art that “produces dramatic visual effects with colors and contrasts that are difficult for the eye to resolve.”  Just like Oak Park — lots of colors and contrasts that are sometimes hard to resolve. 

The goal for OP-art is modest.  Let’s start a dialogue about the arts in the Oak Park area:

  • Meet our neighbors who are creating in Oak Park, Chicago and beyond
  • Find out how the business of the arts is doing
  • Check in with the under 18 and their creative endeavors
  • Point out the interesting and off-beat things the average Oak Parker can do, watch, support or just be glad are in their community  

Sometimes an OP-art posting will be a simple description of or link to an event, article or person; other times it will be a longer discussion.

There’s a saying that you don’t know what you don’t know.  In this case, I have an inkling.  I have neither the tenure in the community nor the breadth of arts experience to do justice to all that’s happening.  So…I will be reaching out to some of my favorite people to actively participate in OP-art.  One of my favoritest?  Val Camilletti, owner of Val’s halla Records in the Arts District.  I trust that Val will always give us some historical context, offer a different perspective, or just be wise and funny.  What do you say, Val?

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Libbey's qualifications for the job of blogging on the Oak Park arts scene are a deep and abiding interest in the arts with only modest talents, and a nearly 10-year passion for Oak Park itself.  Oh yeah,...

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