Ravenswood Remix, Chicago’s 1st Green-Themed Festival

By Sarah Tilotta | Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some of Justin Gates' mechanical jewelry. From the festival website.

Another new street festival has been added to the end of summer lineup on the north side of Chicago, but this one isn’t food-themed like many  festivals in the area, such as Northcenter Ribfest or North Side Summerfest.

This Labor Day weekend in Northcenter, Ravenswood Remix, set for the 4100 N. Ravenswood Ave. block, will become the first of its kind as a green-themed recycled art fair in Chicago, providing “a platform for artists who think outside the margins and want a place to display and sell their handmade goods”, and will benefit Hamilton Elementary School’s arts program.

Located on the east side of the Metra tracks on Ravenswood Ave. between Belle Plaine & Berteau, one block north of Irving Park Road, noon-10pm Saturday and Sunday, the festival include jewelry made from mechanical parts of clocks by artist Justin Gates, as well as finger-less gloves, scarves, and bags felted from reused sweaters by artist Denise Handwerker, and much more.

In addition to recycled art, Ravenswood Remix will also feature local eco-friendly food vendors, recycling workshops, and independent music Saturday & Sunday. Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe will be headlining the entertainment Saturday night, with sixteen other local bands from independent Chicago labels throughout the weekend, closing out with psychedelic rock band Apteka on Sunday evening. Free, one-hour long workshops for all ages will be held on both Saturday & Sunday, and include titles such as “Composting for Everyone”, “Greener Wedding Workshop”, “Roping in the Plastic Bag Problem” and “Sacred Groove Hoop Jam – Hula Hooping Workshop”.

Some of the artwork available at the Remix. From the festival website.

Remix is the brain child of local businessman Jay Lyon, of Lyon Communications and his colleague, Jen Gordon, who sits on the Local School Council at Hamilton Elementary School, 1650 W. Cornelia Ave., a CPS Performing Arts Magnet Cluster School. Gordon says that as a 10-year office resident of the Ravenswood corrider, Lyon started to notice more and more artists move into the area, many of which are working with found and recycled materials.

In sync with the broader green movement of promoting reuse and recycling, Gordon and Lyon decided to organize the Remix to bring in participation from local artists to benefit the school. The $5 suggested donation for admission to the festival will go go directly to supplementing the CPS’s funding of the arts program at Hamilton, where green efforts are already in place.

According to Gordon, Hamilton has implemented a “zero waste” lunch program, where discarded food is composted, and parents are encouraged to send lunches from home in recycle-able lunch bags. The school has also torn up black top on the property and planted a “Learning Garden” to teach kids how trees benefit the environment. Donations from the Ravenswood Remix will go to expanding arts programs at the school.

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