BEVERLY — Two small placards explain the artwork on display in the Chicago Public Library's Beverly branch. But this brief introduction to artists Tim Anderson and Brian Ritchard barely scratches the surface when it comes to interpreting the paintings hanging near the ceiling at 1962 W. 95th St.
Thus, the longtime friends will share their insight on the art, their chosen subjects and their process at 3 p.m. on Aug. 15 at the Beverly library.
"Whoever shows up, we will get them into the community room and head out and look at the paintings," said Anderson, a resident of West Town.
Anderson is responsible for creating the 24 portraits that have hung in the heart of the library since June 1, 2010. The installation titled, "Faces of Chicago" includes such notables as writer Nelson Algren, Beverly artist John H. Vanderpoel and bluesman Chester Arthur Burnett, also known as "Howlin’ Wolf."
The artist spent countless hours researching each of the subjects before delving into the project commissioned by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs. He said the research inspired each painting.
"I really got into it. I went to the Newberry Library a lot," Anderson said.
He believes library patrons will be similarly inspired by the stories behind each painting. He plans to offer some of this information at the presentation and will leave behind a stack of handouts to briefly explain each subject.
Anderson says he would like these brief bios permenantly posted within the library. He's even offered to pay for bronze placards detailing each subject, but an agreement could never be reached, he said on Thursday.
He's hoping to sway library administrators as part of the upcoming presentation. He's also working with the children's librarian in Beverly, Arlene Gottardo, to develop a portrait program for kids.
Anderson would like to see children go through his same process — researching a well-known Chicagoan and painting his or her portrait under his tutelage. He's hoping the program will be stretch over a series of Saturdays in the library.
"I wish I had that as a kid," said Anderson, a native of suburban Wilmette.
Brian Ritchard painted the series of landscape-inspired designs titled "Clerestory Suite" as part of the same installation. The Beverly-based artist's work hangs in the enterance to the building.
"I know the kids love the pieces especially because they are very dreamy and sort of cartoony," said Richard, who painted the seven oil paintings in his home studio just blocks away from the library.
The artist also found his inspiration nearby, as his original sketches for the project came while lying on his back in the Dan Ryan Woods.
Ritchard often walks by and visits the neighborhood library that displays his work. The Columbia College professor has shown in work in galleries throughout the world, but he said the Beverly project is among his most rewarding.
"When my work was chosen for the lobby, it was very satisfying," he said.
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