ROGERS PARK — The Artists of the Wall Festival returns to Loyola Beach this weekend with changes because of the pandemic and a memorial for people lost.
The 27th edition of Artists of the Wall will be held Friday-Sunday with an altered format after taking last year off because of coronavirus.
Typically, the event attracts artists and neighbors who, over the course of a day, paint sections of a 600-foot-long sea wall at Loyola Beach, 1230 W. Greenleaf Ave., while onlookers take in the public art, listen to live music and enjoy kids’ activities. The art remains on the wall until May of the following year, when the wall is painted white for that year’s event.
To help with social distancing, this year’s event will take place over three days instead of one.
Artists will paint every third section of the wall per day to ensure they can socially distance. They will rotate in on subsequent days to finish the unpainted spaces, said Jocelyn Gerard, secretary of the Loyola Park Advisory Council. Holding the event over three days also helps keep crowd levels down.
The wall spaces already have been claimed, but neighbors can participate by including a name in the planned memorial to people who died from COVID-19.
The memorial will be painted near the stairs leading to the beach and will allow neighbors to write a name of someone who died over the past year, Gerard said.
Rogers Park arts groups PO Box Collective, which constructed a memorial in a local viaduct for people killed by police violence, is helping with the memorial at Loyola Beach.
“We thought it would be a nice way to recognize the loss,” Gerard said. “We skipped a year. There’s been a lot of loss.”
There will be live music at the event 9 a.m.-2 p.m. each day, Gerard said.
While the event usually includes a kids’ art tent, this year there will be an art supplies hand-out for social distancing, he said.
Attendees are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing. Doing so will help ensure the successful return of a beloved summertime tradition in Rogers Park, Gerard said.
“It’s not going to be like it normally is, where people are packed in,” she said. “We welcome people to come by and ask that they be mindful.”
For more information on the event, click here.
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