Monday, March 21, 2011

Western Avenue Series

Mile 3: 106th Street-98th Street
This painting is a part of my Western Avenue Series, through which I'll be making 24 watercolor paintings, one to document each mile of Western Avenue, in Chicago.  I started this project because while it is not considered to be among the most “beautiful” of Chicago’s streets, Western Avenue is a perfect place to document the humanness of Chicago, the positive and the negative. In the words of Stuart Dybek, "Western, with apologies to State Street, is a great street,  Unlike State, it is a street that goes to the interior, the heart of the city, as it glides and glows through a United Nations of neighborhoods."  Check back next Monday to see a post about the next mile of Western. 
Beverly Glass is a family business in operation since 1958.  I love this old postcard featuring the storefront.  In choosing to paint their storefront at 10430 S. Western Avenue, I was in part drawn to the clean, rather nicely proportioned facade.  It is a well maintained building, and while the architecture is clearly a reflection of the past, it seems that it remains a viable business today.  This seems a fair representation of this portion of Western: many businesses that have survived for decades, the architecture is reflective of a style in vogue during the 1950s and 60s, and their seems to be pride in local, family-run commerce.  I imagine Beverly to be a place where families live for several generations, people run into their neighbors in restaurants and bars, value is placed on tradition and change happens slowly.

What are some of your favorite family businesses that are still operating today?
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