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Beverly Artists Again Making The Most Of Empty Storefronts

By Howard Ludwig | December 3, 2014 6:21am
 Sandra Leonard is a fashion artist from Beverly. She'll be among the 13 locals showcasing their work at The Alliance, an art show opening on Friday. The show will be housed in a makeshift gallery at 9929 S. Wood St. in Beverly. The long-vacant building was one of several non-traditional spaces used to display art at the Beverly Art Walk on Oct. 11.
Sandra Leonard is a fashion artist from Beverly. She'll be among the 13 locals showcasing their work at The Alliance, an art show opening on Friday. The show will be housed in a makeshift gallery at 9929 S. Wood St. in Beverly. The long-vacant building was one of several non-traditional spaces used to display art at the Beverly Art Walk on Oct. 11.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

BEVERLY — Turns out, Beverly's empty storefronts make decent art galleries.

The latest "pop-up" art show is The Alliance. It will feature some 13 neighborhood artists — 10 of whom will have their work displayed in a long-vacant storefront at 9929 S. Wood St. in Beverly. The show also spills over onto the walls of the nearby ENSR Medical, a pain clinic at 9913 S. Walden Parkway in Beverly.

The Alliance is set to open from 7-9 p.m. Friday. Upward of 100 people are expected to attend, said Monica Wilczak, one of the organizers of the free event.

A special preview will be held at the Walden Parkway Ugly Christmas Sweater Party from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday at ENSR Medical's office. The holiday party is meant to bring shoppers to the surrounding shops.

 Organizers of the Beverly Art Walk will debut a new show called The Alliance on Friday at 9929 S. Wood St. in Beverly. The pop-up gallery will be housed within a long-vacant storefront as well as a nearby pain clinic at 9913 S. Walden Parkway in Beverly. The use of such non-traditional spaces as makeshift art galleries was a signature theme of the successful walk held on Oct. 11.
The Alliance Opens In Vacant Storefront
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The idea of using non-traditional spaces throughout the neighborhood as art galleries was born at the Beverly Art Walk. Some 30 businesses including hair salons, restaurants, bakeries and others were converted to makeshift galleries for the walk on Oct. 11.

One of the most popular spots on the Beverly Art Walk was the vacant Chatham Rug building at 10426 S. Western Ave. in Beverly. Immediately after the walk, a tenant emerged, said Wilczak, a Beverly resident.

"We had to be out of there the next day," said Sal Campbell, an artist who also helped coordinate the walk and a member of the Beverly Area Arts Alliance or BA3.

A new gym will is slated for the Chatham Rug storefront, said Campbell, also a Beverly resident.

Perhaps motivated by seeing this empty storefront land a tenant, Pelar Construction — the owners of the building on Wood Street — eagerly offered their space to art walk organizers for a follow-up event. The building was also on the inaugural Beverly Art Walk. It has since been dubbed the Pelar Gallery, Wilczak said.

"Before the art walk even happened, we thought about what we could do next," Wilczak said.

After the public opening on Friday, The Alliance will be available for private showings by appointment from Dec. 5-31. Then the organizers of the show are planning to use the space to host Speakeasy New Year's Eve, Wilczak said.

The celebration is named for its open-mic theme. Four spoken-word artists have already confirmed their performance and more are expected. It costs $25 in advance to attend the New Year's Eve party and $30 at the door, Wilczak said.

Speakeasy New Year's Eve will also feature music by locals Garrett Degnan and Bridget Cavanaugh, performing as Jeebs and Mrs. B. An open bar is also included in the ticket price, Wilczak said.

As for the next Beverly artist uprising, BA3 members said they are reaching out to artists in Pullman, Bridgeport and suburban Blue Island. A collaborative event may be on the horizon, Wilczak said.

As for the location of such an event, perhaps another vacant storefront or other non-traditional venue will emerge as a makeshift gallery, Wilczak said.

"People are still reaching out to us" in the wake of the Beverly Art Walk, she said.

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