bldg 19th st. corner store_0004.JPG .JPG

                                  Picture of dilapidated building not far from here.


We met in the gallery at CUARC on February 21, 2015

to offer our dreams & visions

for the future of North Lawndale.


Here is some of what we came up with during the creative imagining session:


In a word what is your vision for North Lawndale?

Vibrant, family, safety, litter free, artistic.


Words to attract businesses to North Lawndale:

sorely needed, people deserve a change, upcoming stable neighborhood, convenient, gentrification, underserved community.


Who lives in North Lawndale?

Deep rooted generational folks, hardworking, desire for change, looking for better options, people who need your projects & services. Low income people, low income seniors, devoted Christians and others .


What do I want North Lawndale to look like?

Clean, beautiful, green, full....proud property oriented...

safe environment...rehabbed brick and stone single family homes...

3 commercial districts.


When you walk through the neighborhood what feelings would you like to have?

Friendly & open, comfortable, awe, accountability, sunny, happy, peaceful, proud.


What do you want your neighbors to look like?

Happy relaxed folks who are part of the solution not part of the problem

loving & respectful of differences, caring, I don't care how they look just so long as they are neighborly, the whole world, diverse in age/race/religion, willing to become involved in the community.


POEMS WE WROTE THAT DAY about North Lawndale

You and me

how happy we will be

when the hood is clean and everyone is friendly!


North Lawndale's empty spaces

to accommodate new development

that is coming it's way

good for North Lawndale.


The future of North Lawndale's

is as bright as it can be

we only have to wait

and we will all soon see.


The true future is insignificant

it is today's dreams that

shape tomorrow's activities.


Lawndale is a place to see

history, strength, longevity

moving upward convenient to all

New businesses, give us a call.


Friendly, greeting people

adorable, charming families

peace, safe in neighborhood

happy, fun in North Lawndale.


What does North Lawndale need to move forward?

Jobs, self motivated people, good promotion, community volunteers, recycling, clean up, common platform, trust, commitment, become known around Chicago, block clubs, more businesses.

                                                       NEXT -

We plan to take part in the organization- North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council that is now organizing for change in the neighborhood!


plant with village 3.jpg 


Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Each year the non-profit organization, Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center plans
a gift Give-Away on Dec. 24 for needy families in North Lawndale. Families sign
up ahead of time and tell us their kids' names, gender, ages, We start collecting
gifts months ahead of time. Many  individuals and businesses give to the cause.
Volunteers store things in our Santa's hide-out until the week before. We bring
them in, transform the art gallery & front hallway into Santa's wonderland of gifts. 
On December 24, families come to their appointment times & get the boxes of
goodies & gifts we have handpicked for them & also get to look around & choose
among those items on display. Some families come by w/o appointments and we
ask them to come back at the end of the day!
                                                          We elves are happy to make others happy!
Located in North Lawndale, our art gallery features artists who are under-represented in the art world. The gallery also presents theme shows focused on social justice issues. A steppingstone gallery for new artists and artists trying to break into the Chicago art scene, it's artists are local, from other states, and even from other parts of the world.
Artists seeking answers, experience, a place to begin their exhibition careers, and a way to begin their careers in the USA; artists are glad to find a welcoming gallery who understands the struggle of modern day artists.
The Chicago Black Artists Show is all about today's African American Artists- who they are, what their interests are, where they are coming from. These are artists who are expressing themselves and are showing as part of a group show of black artists- powerful and strong. This is a fall art show.
The Womens' Art Show features women homage art and what concerns them. It is on display during February & March.
The Spring National/International Art Show features art by artists from anywhere but Illinois! Artists from other states and other countries are included in a large group show in the gallery. We have a chance to see what artists from far away are concerned about.
During December and January we offer Art As Gift Art Show in the gallery for people shopping for presents!
We also offer information on how to find support as an artist, where to exhibit, art organizations, how to hang your art and present it, online presence, and more.
Contact us for more information. Plus, see our gallery page on this website to find out how to apply to be in group shows here!

Peace Parks of North Lawndale:  Transforming vacant lots in the hood into beautiful peaceful parks with art!
We are hoping everyone will go check it out and see what is happening. General orientation Saturdays at noon at CUARC, 1957 S. Spaulding Ave at 21st. by RSVP
Our organization is involved in the most unique and rewarding programming around. We are attempting to help our community become revitalized from the ground up w/o giving the boot to anyone!  
We are adding beauty, public art, green places, and African American heritage displays to our community in an attempt to do a lot. We want people to pay more attention to the need for beauty, the need for peace, the need for art in public places, and the need for green places. We want to engage the neighborhood, Chicago in general, and other people far away to enjoy the peace parks and the project leading up to making them a reality! We want to educate people about African American heroes. We want to help people see how recycling can be used in many ways, including building art. We want to turn people upside down while they enjoy seeing things in a new way and support people, peace, and art!  Check it out! A way for everyday people of all ages to be involved in creating parks, creating art to go into parks.
Our first Peace Park opened June 5, 2016 and is located at 2101 S. Spaulding Ave. just 2 blocks west the Kedzie stop on the pink line.
JUNE PRIDE ART SHOW at CUARC gallery!  June Annually. Saturdays 11-4 and by appt. send email request to view show with your group. contract. give date and time you wish to visit.
(The following article is written by Six Brown Chicks and may contain some inaccuracies) 

At last! An Art Retreat for Women By Six Brown Chicks, October 16, 2013 

At last! An Art Retreat for WomenFollow Lydia Katherine on Twitter @Lkaton10

ByLydia Katherine

The Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center (CUARC) has a mission to bring people together in a creative environment that offers socially impacting art, positive programs, creative workshops, and, a retreat for women!

Founder and curator Dianna Long tells Six Brown Chicks, “The Urban Art Retreat was founded in Portland, Oregon in 1984. It traveled to Chicago in 1991, and began as a temporary residence for single women.  I got the idea because I used to travel around the country to give talks and showcase art by women artists.”

Dianna Long of the Urban Art Retreat, and stunning artwork from their site,

Dianna Long of the Urban Art Retreat, and stunning artwork from their site, by Aunia Kuhn

To kick off Chicago Fashion Week, we’ve connected with Long, a fellow award winner in the upcoming Fashion and Arts Humanity Fete Awards. For more info, visit

Six Brown Chicks: How does art education create a better future for women?

Dianna Long: Art is expression using visual means; education is the sharing of information. Discussion and art-making are the basic methodologies of Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center, in all of its programs.

People can only benefit from expressing themselves and sharing information.

By creating art and images, sharing and discussing the art together, people can learn about themselves, about each other, about their dreams, inner selves, about their culture, and about what life means to them.

How does your art retreat influence positive development in Chicago neighborhoods?

I can see the change in each neighborhood where we have been located.  

Some people who live in disenfranchised neighborhoods may suffer from enact change, in order to participate in new beginnings, to be a part of the solution is very difficult if not impossible when depression is a part of one's life. 

So, to offer stress reduction, relaxation skills, art therapy, talk groups, support groups and discussion groups in general is important to me; and to deliver information on affordable and nearby resources is crucial.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had with Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center?

Of course it is hard to limit to one rewarding experience; there have been many.  

The ability to include so much flexibility within the organization has often allowed me to do things that were very important to me and really helped someone at the same time.

Of course all the artists I have helped with their careers are very satisfying for me. I remember one in particular; she had come into the gallery several times. I remember talking with her and asking her if she was an artist. She said, “Oh no, I am just a housewife." She said she liked to dabble in art; I encouraged her confidence and she began to appreciate her own art. She kept making art and soon enough, she brought art into the gallery. I began showing her art, and the rest is history. Today she is a pretty well-known artist in some circles and is doing very well.

What is the most important advice you can share about being an entrepreneur?

Do something you like and you believe in, because it is all encompassing; entrepreneurship takes up your whole life. So make it the center and expect that to be the way it is.

Do you wish to expand The Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center to other cities?

I especially enjoyed staying at the homes of women artists in the cities and towns I visited. I felt it was safer and more comfortable and they knew more about the kinds of things I was interested in seeing or visiting while in was staying in their cities/homes.

It really could be located anywhere with the idea of "A Room of Her Own" for women who need to "get away!" At one point I gave women lessons about how to open a women’s residence of their own as a way to use their home as an asset. This is one way I started. I toyed with the idea of having a chain of places around the country, but my preference for the simple life won over.

To learn more about CUARC, visit them online:

or on

Lydia Katherine believes in living for the moment, loving every moment, laughing at past moments and building greater moments! Follow her on Twitter: @Lkaton10



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