Lakefront Anonymous pt. I

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
6–7 p.m. central
Zoom Video Conference

Lakefront Anonymous pt. I

For part one in a special two-part series of programs, William Swislow and Aron Packer present Lakefront Anonymous.

Photograph of a stone carving in the foreground with a lake and beach in the background
Photograph courtesy William Swislow

One of the world’s most remarkable outdoor art treasures lies hidden in plain sight along Chicago’s Lake Michigan waterfront: carvings in the old limestone revetments that line much of the lakeshore. Many of them are spectacular, most are by anonymous creators, and all are rarely noticed. Made over the course of nearly a century and ranging in size from a few inches to several feet, these carvings are both an art environment and a spontaneous social history of Chicago at play.

Swislow and Packer have documented thousands of these carvings and produced Lakefront Anonymous: Chicago’s Unknown Art Gallery, a lavishly illustrated book about these works of art. In their presentation, they will share examples of this art underfoot, tell its history, discuss the carvers who made it as well as its significance as an outstanding example of vernacular creativity.

Later, in June, Swislow and Packer will lead a walking tour of some of the finest of the carvings, part two of the two-part series.

Photograph of a fish carving in light grey stone with the letters GAR engraved above
Photograph courtesy William Swislow

Closed captions will be available at the virtual program. Please contact Lindsey Wurz at with questions related to accessibility accommodations.

This program is free to join! To show your support to Intuit, please consider the pay-what-you-can option when you complete your reservation. Your contributions help ensure the sustainability of our public programs and support guest lecturers and teaching artists.

Two hours before the event, Intuit will email the Zoom link to those who RSVP on Eventbrite. Please check your junk folder; unfortunately, these emails are sent there sometimes.

This program is funded in part by the Alphawood Foundation, the Department of Cultural Affairs, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Illinois Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Prince Charitable Trust, Terra Foundation for American Art, and individual donations from Intuit members and supporters.

Meet William Swislow and Aron Packer

Photograph of two men, identified as Bill Swislow (left) and Aron Packer (right), smiling
Photograph of William Swislow (left) and Aron Packer (right) courtesy William Swislow

William Swislow, a longtime journalist and a founder and former executive at, is a writer and art collector who operates the cultural website He has written for art publications, including Raw Vision, Folk Art Messenger, The Outsider and The SCA Journal. Swislow sits on the boards of Intuit and The Society for Commercial Archeology.

Aron Packer has more than 25 years of experience as a Chicago gallerist with a focus on contemporary art and expertise in folk and outsider art. He has staged more than 200 exhibitions over the years. Packer currently works as a fine art specialist at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers and curates exhibitions at various venues.