ROGERS PARK — The 19th edition of the Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival will look like none of its past iterations.
The arts festival usually shuts down the streets near Glenwood and Morse avenues in early to mid-August. Recent editions have brought 15,000 people a weekend to Rogers Park, with more than 120 artists participating and three stages of live entertainment, according to organizers.
Because street festivals cannot take place this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers will instead bring the festival to neighbors.
The Glenwood Avenue (Mobile) Arts Fest will take place Saturday and Sunday as four two-hour parade-like tours through the area near Glenwood and Morse. Included in the tours will be live bands and a video screen showing art from the festival’s collaborators.
The parades will kick off noon and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The parade route will be posted to the Glenwood Avenue Arts District’s website.
The bands will perform on mobile stages that will move slowly through residential and commercial areas of Rogers Park. A video truck will also ride in the parade, showing art that will be available in virtual “booths” on the art district’s website.
A mural will be painted on the Glenwood Avenue Sculpure Garden during the event.
As one of the most popular events of the year in Rogers Park, the Glenwood Arts community sought to find a way to bring people some socially distant entertainment, said festival organizer Al Goldberg.
Organizers settled on a mobile festival, where neighbors can take in the music and art from their apartments, stoops or sidewalk.
“We’ve been doing this for 18 years. People look forward to it,” said Goldberg, who owns the artist live/work facility ArtSpace RP. “We wanted to keep it going and do something for the neighborhood.”
Street festivals throughout Chicago have been canceled or altered because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chalk Howard Street Festival in Rogers Park turned into an Instagram series. Andersonville’s Midsommarfest was held as a digital event. Others, including Edgewater’s Edgefest, were outright canceled.
Unlike some neighborhood festivals, the Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival is not a revenue generator for the local arts district organization that puts it on. It is one of the few major neighborhood fests to not have a “suggested” entrance fee.
Like in previous years, the local business community and sponsors will fund the event.
With money not being a motivating factor, Goldberg said organizers wanted to move forward to bring some entertainment in any way they could.
“Every year, it’s just a break-even situation,” Goldberg said. “It’s about giving back to the community, which is part of our mission.”
For more information on the event, click here.
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