CHICAGO — North Branch Arts, 5421 W. Devon Ave., will turn into a public gallery Friday for city cops and firefighters to brandish their creative talents, according to organizers from the Edgebrook-Sauganash Chamber of Commerce.
At least two first responders, including Northwest Side officer Garry Manning and South Side firefighter Tim McCarthy, will showcase their prints, organizers said.
The chamber will provide free wine from Villa Graziella, alongside cheese bought from Happy Foods. A $10 suggested donation will support Ignite the Spirit, a foundation supporting the families of city firefighters diagnosed with cancer.
Volunteers at the exhibition will also be selling the just-released 2018 Firefighter & Paramedic Calendar, which benefits the foundation.
Andrea Simon, the chamber's business relations manager, began planning the event after she saw a similar exhibition at the Town Hall District station, she said.
"We know there’s more to firewomen and firemen than just their jobs, so I thought it was a great idea to do this in Edgebrook ... where so much of the community is made up of law enforcement," Simon said.
The chamber held a similar exhibition earlier this year to raise money for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, she added.
A handful of nearby businesses, including Local Goods Chicago, 5422 W. Devon Ave., and Pet Wants, 5420 W. Devon Ave., will stay open during the event to catch visitors on their way out of North Branch Arts, according to chamber director Jennifer Herren.
Having merged the Edgebrook and Sauganash chambers earlier this year, the group is looking for ways to encourage window shopping along the Devon business strip, Herren said.
"The idea was to do something similar in Edgebrook that you see in a lot of other communities, where you open up the whole business district and invite people to go from place to place," she said. "So if people are coming to Edgebrook for the evening, they can wander around and get some activity going."
The chamber is aiming to host more "first Friday" art exhibits next year, Herren said.