Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival Recap and Survey

Well, the festival has come and gone again for the 4th year and we'd like to thank everyone in the neighborhood and city who came out to show your support for the musicians, artists, crafters, and performers who made the neighborhood reverberate with arts activity for the festival weekend.  We hope you got a chance to get to all three hubs and that it was easy to navigate and find your way through each aspect of the festival.

Although we have heard a lot of great feedback and most of our neighbors thoroughly enjoyed the festival, we've also received some concerns. We would like to take this opportunity to address those concerns.  The primary issue that we've heard is a lack of visual art as compared to years past. During the planning stages of the festival, IALS realized that the majority of formerly empty storefronts used as pop-up galleries last year were rented, under contract and/or undergoing renovations, and therefore not feasible exhibition spaces. Additionally--incorporating feedback we received in previous years about the festival being too spread out and difficult to navigate--we included visual art at all three festival hubs, including the Hairpin Arts Center, the Festival Center and near the Cole's stage.

The Hairpin Arts Center was packed with performances each day, from After School Matters to outstanding jazz performances.  If you missed Chioke Morais' exhibition, "Song for My Father", you still have the chance to see it through Labor Day weekend (and check out the photos below).  The pillars were covered with Art in the Park by Unity Park and community members and there were works by Zachary Baker, Mike Bolsingia, Lewis Lain, Laura Lulu and Cinema Culture.  

In the festival center, the main stage was non-stop with music, the kids gathered for art activities and a drum circle, and we ate and drank delicious food, beer and sangria.   If you missed Ana Tijoux's set, you missed an incredible performance! Check out the video for a snippet.  Did you get to the art tents in the center? Thanks to Spudnik Press, Penguin Foot, Latitude, and AnySquared for curating the art there. And thanks to Comfort Station for opening their doors for the festival and showcasing the photographs of David Schalliol.  Even the mayor stopped by on Saturday to show his support and stayed to listen to Los Vicios de Papa--also a great performance. 

Finally on the south end, the Cole's stage rocked from afternoon to night and Threadless, Urban Folk Circuit and numerous artists and crafters presented an incredible amount of lovely, funny and creative goods to make an all-around great market.

It was an experiment, and we agree that it was not the perfect solution.  We are committed to keeping the MAAF a unique experience for our community and beyond.  While the MAAF is our annual centerpiece, IALS is dedicated year-round to promoting and supporting the arts. Our organization is 90% volunteer-sustained.  We welcome your ideas and suggestions regarding new ways to make the MAAF an engaging experience for all. Please take a few minutes to complete our post-festival survey here, send us an email, stop by our office at 2644 N. Milwaukee Ave. or call us at 773-278-4257.

Thanks Logan Square, we love you and this great city!

Check out some photos below, more photos coming soon to our the MAAF and IALS Facebook pages:

Photos below by W. Tanner Young and Colin Hayes


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