Channel Your Creative Side in Rogers Park

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By Khrystyna Stetsiv

If you’re tired of mindlessly flipping through Netflix shows or TV channels, it’s time to channel your creativity.

42 percent of Americans say that watching TV is their favorite leisure activity, according to a survey by Harris Interactive.

Occupying time with actual hobbies, however, can be much more fun, interesting and rewarding.

Rogers Park’s has numerous opportunities for painters, musicians, writers, and artists of all kinds to create and display their work.

Paints and brushes

A 600-foot colorful mural stretches by the lake at Loyola Park Beach. Initiated in 1993 to manage the epidemic of illegal wall graffiti, The Artists of the Wall Festival has become an annual event that celebrates art, music, and community. Over Father’s Day weekend every July, Rogers Park residents gather to put their talents and paintbrushes to use. Volunteers from Loyola Park Advisory Council (LPAC) organize the event.

Those interested in contributing can register online and get their own mural space.

“The whole purpose of the festival is to bring community together. Please spread the word that we’re looking for volunteers for this year’s 25th Anniversary celebration,” says LPAC member Lucy Smith.

When roaming the streets of the neighborhood, you have probably discovered many other vibrant murals. The Mile of Murals is yet another community-based Rogers Park public art project.

2017 Mural “Resilience.” Photo from

Since the project’s start in 2007, local artists have created 10 large pieces for a total of 14,000 square feet of art. Future goals involve painting 19 large-scale works, resulting in a full mile of murals.

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If painting isn’t your strong suit, but you dream of sharpening your music skills, Flatts and Sharpe Music Company may be your haven.

Established in 1978, the music store in Rogers Park is one of the only two locations. Flatts and Sharpe not only sells a variety of musical instruments and sheet music, but also offers lessons, repairs, rentals, and hosts events.

“We’re a community-minded general store for everything musical,” says Chris Bell, Flatts and Sharpe owner since 2007.

From guitar strings and drum sticks to flutes and digital pianos, there is something for every customer. All employees are music lovers and experts, many of them playing in bands. The staff gives thorough advice and helps beginner musicians to pick the right instrument.

If you want to begin your musical journey, sign up for classes at Flatts and Sharpe. 30-minute weekly lessons cost $30 while an hour-lesson price is $45.

More than 50 music teachers for different instruments and levels gather from all over Chicago to give lessons here. Both children and adults can learn how to play music and eventually even perform at events and recitals hosted by Flatts and Sharpe.

“Everyone here is a regular,” smiles Bell. “If you’re a musician living in Rogers Park, you come here.”

Mastering a new musical instrument will require a lot of work, determination, and passion. You won’t become a maestro overnight, but pick up a guitar pick today and see where it takes you.

On the corner of Sheridan Street and Pratt Boulevard, Flatts and Sharpe is “the cornerstone of the neighborhood,” as Bell remarks.

Words and pages

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Immerse yourself into the world of literature at Armadillo’s Pillow. This charismatic bookstore sells a variety of used books, along with incense and jewelry.

You may find yourself sitting in an armchair amidst the bookshelves for a few hours, absorbed in the pages of some randomly-picked story. Let this place reignite your love for reading.


Pixels and photos

If painting, music, and literature do not move you, photography is yet another channel for creativity. If you prefer a more independent and flexible pastime, grab a camera and capture some photos of the lake. If you do not own a camera, take advantage of Loyola’s digital equipment loan service for students and faculty. Maybe looking through a lens is just the fresh perspective you need.

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Photos by Khrystyna Stetsiv 



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