RAW! The first time I saw and heard that 11 years ago, I thought it was something else that was going to occur in Riverside. However, I soon learned it meant Riverside Arts Weekend. Whew!

On the weekend of May 19 and 20, RAW will return to Guthrie Park as one of the finest art events in the Chicagoland area. The event has grown over the years and as a juried art fair, entrants are asked to submit requests to participate and requests are reviewed. 

The event attracts artists from across the country, many of them returning every year. All methods of artistic media will be on display and available for purchase or to simply enjoy. Many of the artists display methods of creativity that will fascinate those who possess artistic qualities as well of those who simply have an appreciation of art in all its forms.

The two-day event has something for everyone in the form of ongoing entertainment and the availability of food and beverages. Children will find they can stop in at the Riverside Arts Center tent to dabble in some art creations.

RAW weekend is also a good time to explore the “art” that is Riverside exemplified by its architecture and landscape. It is the perfect time for residents and non-residents to explore the village and reintroduce themselves into its heritage.

The event is the work of a nonprofit board of directors and many volunteers who work hard to create a sense of anticipation through an annual “spectacle” in the week leading up to RAW. 

Who can forget the “coyotes” that were seen all over downtown or the knit lamp post covers, and painted swans and, of course, the decorated tandem bikes. This year? As of this writing, I do not know but we will be surprised, pleasantly of course, as to what it will be for 2018.

RAW will take place on Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Guthrie Park at Riverside and Bloomingbank roads, across from the train station. 

Your favorite local newspaper, the Landmark, will have a booth, so stop by and tell them who your favorite columnist is. After all, newspapers are an art unto their own.

Riverside trivia: Guthrie Park was the site of an art fair probably around 40 years ago or more. It was the endeavor of two local young men, Clyde “Moose” Moravec and Mike West. Good to see the arts have returned to Guthrie Park.