Explore Waukegan through ArtWauk

Leylani Vasquez

Stepping out of your comfort zone might be uncomfortable, but sometimes it can be worth it. ArtWauk is an event I have always wanted to attend, but I did not think it was for me. It was not until this summer when I realized I was wrong. I enjoyed seeing something positive happen in my community. It was amazing to see all the talent people brought and take a piece of it home with me.  It reminded me of my passion for art, music, and how important it is to support others.

ArtWauk is an event held in downtown Waukegan, the third Saturday of every month, and is open for everyone. People come together to celebrate local artists, support one another, and bring the area to life. All the local businesses in the area open their doors and invite people in. Artists display their work and share their stories with others. Jazz music is playing throughout the street, and people are having a good time.

ArtWauk began around the late ‘90s to early 2000s. Local artists came together, intending to fill empty properties with art and businesses. Many ArtWauks took place, but it was not until 2011 that it became a monthly event. Through the years, ArtWauk has grown and gained support. Some artists and businesses have been there since the beginning, while others are there for the first time. ArtWauk has created a community of its own within Waukegan and is here to stay.

My first experience at ArtWauk was incredible. It was one of those once in a blue moon Saturdays that I had free. My friends were going to perform some jazz and asked if I wanted to tag along. We spent most of the afternoon setting up for the event and helping artists. Once the music started, people slowly came to check out what was going on. I began to walk around and check out the artwork that was displayed. I was amazed by the different styles each artist had, such as spray paintings, watercolor, portraits, prints, etc. There was one artist that caught my attention. She was selling her wood burnings and small prints. She had all types of designs, but my favorites were her Coraline and Joker prints. She also had a Day of the Dead burning that I wanted. I ended up buying five of her pieces, and I loved all of them. I spent most of the night listening to my friends play and contemplating if I had enough money to buy more art. My night ended with fried ice cream and hanging out with my friends, which was perfect. I did not expect my Saturday turn out this way, but I am glad it did. Something about being around people who love supporting others inspired me to do the same.

Photo depicts mural at the intersection of Genesse St and Water St in Waukegan, IL. Photo courtesy of Robby Virus.

Photo depicts mural at the intersection of Genesse St and Water St in Waukegan, IL. Photo courtesy of Robby Virus.

Are you an artist yourself? If you are interested in displaying or selling your art, this is the perfect opportunity. Follow ArtPark Waukegan on Facebook and let them know you are interested. Do not feel discouraged. Like me, there are people out there who would love to see, appreciate, and support you and your art.

Grab your mask, shoes, money, and friends, and get ready to have a good time! ArtWauk will be happening Saturday, Sept. 19, between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. and is open to everybody. Take a walk down Genesee Street, grab a bite, support local artists, and enjoy the good vibes. Remember: always be open to trying new things, step out of your comfort zone, and explore what people have to offer. Who knows what passions you will discover when you try something new?