Everything you need to know about The Frunchroom, Volume XV

Beverly Art Walk Week is already in full swing thanks to the Studio Tour & Terrain Fest on Sunday.

Next up is The Frunchroom tonight at Beverly Arts Center in advance of Saturday’s Beverly Art Walk celebrating its fifth anniversary. It’s all brought to you by The Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

Here are tonight’s storytellers and links to their bios.

Patricia Frazier
Chicago’s National Youth Poet Laureate

Rayshauna Gray
Writer, researcher, historienne

Claire Hartfield
Author and education leader

Rebeca Nieves Huffman
Proud Beverly boricua

LaShawn Williams
The wittiest woman you know

What’s the time? And where?
730pm. But show up to the Beverly Arts Center (2407 W. 111th St.) by 7-715pm to guarantee yourself a seat, chat with friends, get a drink from the bar, check out the art (see below) and settle in. We usually close the balcony at BAC to keep things a bit more intimate and cozy unless the crowd size demands it. 

Wait, there’s art?
Come early, grab a drink and enjoy a sneak peek of Diego Ivan Martirena’s photographs (Maplewood Photography) in advance of the Art Walk. His work will be on display in the BAC lobby and the Simmerling Gallery. (Beverly Area Arts Alliance co-founder Sal Campbell is pictured above in a photograph by Diego).

Where do I park?
Beverly Arts Center has parking just west of the building and another lot on the south. Note that there is still construction around the BAC, which makes it a little tough to get into the parking lot off Campbell. (You can do it, I believe in you.)

How do I get there via transit?
Take the Metra Rock Island Line which departs from the LaSalle Street Station in the Loop. Get off at 111th Street. Head west up the hill for about three blocks. The BAC is the big red building on the corner.

Where can I eat?
Places nearby include Manzo’s Burgers and Waldo Cooney’s Pizza on 111th Street and AmericanosOpen Outcry Brewing and Horse Thief Hollow on Western Avenue.

You mentioned drinks?
Beer, wine and liquor will be available at the cash bar before and during the show. The post-Frunchroom festivities will continue at Open Outcry Brewing.

What are the stories like?
Some are sincere, some are tongue-in-cheek. One may be a call-to-action, another might make you think. One might be historical, one might make you remember a place you haven’t been since childhood. Basically, like having a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in a while. This review from South Side Weekly really captures what we’re about.

Who’s helping you with this?
I’m producing this in partnership with The Beverly Area Arts Alliance (or The Alliance, for short).

A big thanks to Monica Wilczak, Sal Campbell, David Barsotti, Jane Zia, Chris Wilczak, Lizzy Benner, Chris Castaneda, Corinne Rose and Cicely Harris who’ve given this event material, financial and moral support. And a huge thanks to Beverly Arts Center for sponsoring the show.

See you there!

The Frunchroom is presented by The Beverly Area Arts Alliance and sponsored by Beverly Arts Center. 

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In the Frunchroom: LaShawn Williams

Our final storyteller in this Beverly Art Walk Week edition of The Frunchroom is LaShawn Williams.

LaShawn is an arts and entertainment freelance writer who has pushed her pen as the arts and culture editor of Gapers Block.com and as a contributing writer for SoulTrain.com, BlackDoctor.org, Comedy Hype and more.

Having spoken with a variety of famous folks over the years, she is excited to be only the “O” away from her interviewing ‘EGOT’. Her interest in “all things entertainment” has given her an unhealthy obsession with old school sitcoms, and she wishes more of them had been set in Chicago—especially on the South Side.

As a former resident of Altgeld Gardens – she now lives in Morgan Park – LaShawn will offer a bit of humorous insight into the Southeast Side neighborhood. Don’t miss her at The Frunchroom!

Tuesday, September 25th, 730pm, Beverly Arts Center. $5 donation requested to benefit the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

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In the Frunchroom: Rebeca Nieves Huffman

South Side stories are often journey stories. From where you were to where you are, from where you are to where you’re going. This week, Rebeca Nieves Huffman joins us to talk about how life took her from Humboldt Park to Beverly and all the spaces and places in between.

Rebeca serves as Executive Director of City Year Chicago. Her passion for education began there, when she served as a corps member for two years (1998 and 1999). During her service, she led a team of corps members at Brian Piccolo Elementary in the Humboldt Park Community, the same community where she grew up. Today, Huffman is leading the organization with the goal of providing 230 tutors, mentors and role models to students within their 26 high need partner schools.

Having been the first in her family to attend and graduate college coupled with being exposed to the crisis in public education through her time as a City Year corps member, Huffman has dedicated her life’s work to quality education opportunities for students in neighborhoods of limited resources.

Rebeca has served in a variety of leadership roles within and around the K12 education system locally and nationally. As the Associate Director of Recruitment and Selection for the KIPP School Leadership Program, she recruited talented and passionate educators to start their own middle schools and learned how school leaders/principals are critically important catalysts for student achievement in high need schools. As the founding president and CEO of the Washington DC based Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (Hispanic CREO), she led stakeholders across all sectors to advocate for policies that support Latino students, which represent the country’s fastest growing yet among the most vulnerable populations. She was also the Vice President at the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) where she created and managed their first grant-making program.

An alumnus of the Aspen Institute’s Fellowship for Education leaders, Rebeca has a deep commitment to develop the next generation of leaders in her community. She is a fellow with the current class of Leadership Greater Chicago and serves on the board of the Noble Network of High Schools. She resides on the South Side of Chicago with her husband, Craig, and her school-aged children Sofia and Solomon.

Join us this Tuesday in The Frunchroom!

Tuesday, September 25th, 730pm, Beverly Arts Center. $5 donation requested to benefit the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

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In the Frunchroom: Patricia Frazier

With Beverly Art Walk Week, our producing partner the Beverly Area Arts Alliance celebrates art in all its forms: visual, spoken, musical, poetic and more. Art moves, it challenges and it celebrates. In this spirit, we’re thrilled to have Patricia Frazier joining us this Tuesday for The Frunchroom, our celebration of South Side storytelling.

A filmmaker, activist and Chicago and national Youth Poet Laureate, Patricia uses art to express issues of urgency and celebrate young and black political movements. Young Chicago Author’s newest teaching artist, she has appeared in Chicago Magazine, South Side Weekly, New City‘s Lit 50, Vogue, and has performed with Apple Inc. at the Library of Congress, Federal Hall and more.

She is an organizer with Assata’s Daughters, a intergenerational, grassroots organization of women-and-femme-identifying folks working to deepen, sustain and escalate the Black Lives Matter movement. The Davis-Putter scholar currently studies Cinema Arts and Sciences at Columbia College Chicago.

Join Patricia and our other readers this Tuesday at Beverly Arts Center.

Tuesday, September 25th, 730pm, Beverly Arts Center. $5 donation requested to benefit the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

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In the Frunchroom: Claire Hartfield

History is often more present than we realize. At The Frunchroom, we look back often because it tells us how to move forward. Claire Hartfield‘s work is very much in that spirit and it’s why we’re so glad she’s joining us this Tuesday at Beverly Arts Center.

Claire is a nationally recognized children’s book author and education leader. Her book Me and Uncle Romie (Dial Books for Young Children 2002), is a historical fiction picture book based on the life and art of world-renowned collage artist, Romare Bearden. The book received national honors (favorable review in the NYT Book Review, Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book of the Year, Junior Library Guild Choice, one of New York Public Library’s 100 Books for Reading and Sharing) and has been reprinted in three textbooks.

Her newest book, A Few Red Drops (Clarion Books) tells the story of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 and how the building tensions and conflicting interests exploded in bloodshed that sent shock waves across the nation.

Claire’s career has centered on providing underprivileged children with opportunity to achieve their potential through education. After graduating from Yale University and University of Chicago Law School, she oversaw development of school desegregation plans for the cities of Chicago and Rockford, Illinois. More recently, she led a non-profit organization that develops leaders for elementary and secondary education. She is currently Board Chair and a senior consultant for one of Chicago’s highest performing charter schools.

Claire is a lifelong resident of Chicago and a current resident of Hyde Park. At this edition of The Frunchroom, she’ll read excerpts from A Few Red Drops that give insights into both the Irish and Black communities – circumstances that caused tensions, ultimately leading to the 1919 race riot.

Join Claire and the rest of our readers this Tuesday at 730pm at the Beverly Arts Center – presented by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

Tuesday, September 25th, 730pm, Beverly Arts Center. $5 donation requested to benefit the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

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In the Frunchroom: Rayshauna Gray

Fall is (finally) in the air and that means the Beverly Art Walk isn’t far behind.

This year marks the 5th anniversary of this new Beverly/Morgan Park tradition. Without our friends at the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, The Frunchroom simply would not, could not, be. We are very proud to be a part of Beverly Art Walk Week with out next show this Tuesday at Beverly Arts Center.

Without further ado, our first reader for this special edition of The Frunchroom is Rayshauna Gray.

Rayshauna is a Chicagoan living in Cambridge. She’s thrilled to be living her childhood dream of being a time traveling storyteller. She loves researching with Tufts University’s history department, Harvard’s Slavery Research Project, and petting all the good dogs in Boston.

She’s currently putting the finishing touches on Roseland, a book about the last 200 years of her family’s history through the last seven generations of women in her family (out with Belt Publishing in Fall 2019).

Her Frunchroom story is about history and circumstance. She’ll be sharing her love of the South Side (specifically Roseland and Beverly) and how circumstance unfolded in *just* the right ways to get us in the same room.

See Rayshauna and the rest of our readers at Beverly Arts Center this Tuesday at 730pm.

Tuesday, September 25th, 730pm, Beverly Arts Center. $5 donation requested to benefit the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

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The Frunchroom, Volume XV: The Art Walk turns five edition

The Frunchroom, the live storytelling series about the South Side of Chicago that makes its home in Beverly/Morgan Park will switch to Tuesday for its next show as part of the Beverly Art Walk Week’s 5th anniversary.  

The next show will be at 730pm on Tuesday, September 25th at Beverly Arts Center (2407 W 111th St, Chicago). A $5 donation to benefit the Beverly Area Arts Alliance is requested.

Our lineup includes:

Patricia Frazier, Chicago’s National Youth Poet Laureate

Rayshauna Gray, researcher at Tufts University’s Center for the Study of Race & Democracy and writer of the forthcoming book Roseland

Claire Hartfield, nationally recognized education leader and children’s book author (including A Few Red Drops, the story of Chicago’s 1919 race riots)

Rebeca Nieves Huffman, executive director of City Year Chicago

LaShawn Williams, an arts and entertainment freelance writer for Gapers Block.com, SoulTrain.com, BlackDoctor.org, Comedy Hype and more.

Guests are encouraged to arrive early and see a preview of one of the Art Walk installations curated by Beverly Arts Alliance co-founder Sal Campbell.

The unique mix of art, cocktails and stories at The Frunchroom is sponsored by The Beverly Arts Center. The event continues to be produced as a showcase for original written work, presented in partnership with The Beverly Area Arts Alliance, the organization responsible for local arts events like the Uprising Craft Market and Local Art on Tap.

The Frunchroom has played to packed houses since it began in April 2015. Previous readers include local residents and business owners; radio and podcast hosts, teachers, poets, politicians and artists. In addition, The Frunchroom has featured reporters and anchors from the Chicago Tribune, South Side Weekly, Bloomberg News, WBEZ-FM and WGN-TV.

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