The first Ravenswood ArtWalk took place in 2002 when Judith Roth (President of Chicago Women’s Caucus for Art) sought to involve her community in the celebration of Chicago Artists Month. Judith went door-to-door speaking with artists and asking them if they would open their studios for a day to the public.
Over the years it has grown into what it is today, an exciting community event featuring over 150 artists and highlighting the wonderful talents and diversity of the Ravenswood Corridor.
In 2003, Ms. Roth encountered two natural partners, artist Dave Avery and Sarah Shumate, Program Director of The Jane Addams Resource Corporation -JARC. JARC had been running a “Tour of Industry” since 1998 that focused on the area’s industrial history on the Ravenswood Corridor. The three expressed a mutual desire to include the increasing population of artists working in the area.
The Ravenswood Bank joined the CWCA as a sponsor of “The Ravenswood Corridor Arts & Industry Walk” in 2004. William Marquardsen, an employee of the bank, joined Judith Roth in her continued efforts to nurture the Ravenswood ArtWalk. Marquardsen organized volunteers to staple and hand-deliver maps to the 25 locations participating in the tour that year.
2006 marked several milestones for ArtWalk. Dale Davison, inspired by her art teacher Vincen Hawkins, Founder of the Fire Arts Center, brought new energy to forge a fresh grassroots coalition among key community members. In August of that year, Judith and Dale re-named the organization ArtWalkRavenswood, and it became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. In addition to the new name, ArtWalkRavenswood added a logo thanks to the artistic talent of Theodore Atzeff, Buffalo Hunters.
2006 was also the first year that ArtWalkRavenswood awarded the Arts Advocate Awards. The awards honor the people and organizations that have promoted the continuation of art and industry in the historic Ravenswood Corridor.
Thanks to the sustained growth and outpouring of community members, Ravenswood ArtWalk is the official kickoff to Chicago Artists Month.