When people think about Brookfield, the top things most likely coming to mind are a world-class zoo, woodsy bike trail, touch-and-go Eight Corners intersection, the nation’s largest video arcade and even the burgeoning dining scene.
But for one group of residents, the hope is that Brookfield can soon grow to be recognized as an artistic and creative suburbs.
In October 2019, The Compassion Factory Art Gallery and Studio launched the inaugural Brookfield Art Walk, dedicated to showcasing the local art scene. Featuring Brookfield businesses and artists, the premiere event was developed with the purpose of transforming Brookfield into a destination for public art.
Though the COVID pandemic put a halt to a 2020 event, the art walk returned last September, with the same goal of delivering art and music into the public sphere in a vibrant, neighborly format.
However, with The Compassion Factory opting out of coordinating an art walk for 2022, Brookfield residents Shannon Gosciejew and Terri Angarone — two artists involved with the gallery — stepped up to organize a summer kickoff art walk for Saturday, June 4.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along the Broadway Avenue business corridor, the 2022 Brookfield Art Walk will feature work from 30 artists of all ages, from teens to seniors, from Brookfield and the surrounding suburbs.
With art including paintings, photography, stained glass, jewelry, sculpture, woodwork, live poetry creation, home decor crafts and more, Gosciejew says visitors can tap into an afternoon of creative energy.
Gosciejew and Angarone, who were involved in coordinating the 2021 event and had their own artist booths, belong to the newly formed Brookfield Art Collective, which aims to make space for local artists and foster collaboration between artists in the Brookfield area.
“Chicago is known for being an art-friendly and vibrant city, with each neighborhood having its own flavor — why can’t the ‘burbs?” Gosciejew said. “Berwyn, Riverside, Oak Park, Forest Park and LaGrange all have a thriving art scene. I want the town I live in to have that, too.”
Along with art, the walk will also feature music, with A Sound Education offering free, 10-minute mini lessons; music from area bands Falling Stars (10 a.m.-noon) and The Chicago Swing Project (1-3 p.m.); and drinks and snacks from BuckleDown Brewing and The Chicago Donut Company.
Sponsors for the event include The Compassion Factory, A Sound Education, Floss & Company and Anderson Music Studio.
For Angarone, continuing the Brookfield Art Walk means taking seriously the objective of bringing residents of all ages together to enjoy a variety of art, all while creating an outlet for conversation.
“I love art that makes you think and maybe can change your perspective a little bit,” she said.
Personally for Angarone, the pandemic was an especially pivotal moment in her goal of striving to showcase the importance of incorporating art into community spaces.
“I think people needed the feeling that they were not alone — not only the isolation, but everything else in people’s lives that were affected,” she said. “Art really can really bring out voices in people and help them, including me, to articulate that voice. And, the art walk is a quirky fun time I think describes Brookfield to a T. I hope Brookfield never changes its quirkiness.”
Gosciejew hopes both visitors of the past art walks and new visitors are able to experience a spirited artistic atmosphere and witness the creative diversity of Brookfield.
“I think we all have learned that we need more than food and water to exist. Art feeds your soul and shows you the world differently,” she said. “You only have one life, but with art, you can experience the vision and stories of others’ lives and enjoy this life more fully.”
For more information about the art walk and Brookfield artists, visit brookfieldartists.org.