Introduction

Lakefront Anonymous pt. II

Saturday, June 4, 2022
11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. central
Kathy Osterman Beach, 5800 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60660

Lakefront Anonymous pt. II

For part two in a special two-part series of programs, William Swislow and Aron Packer guide a walking tour along Lake Michigan.

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. Following their presentation on Wednesday, March 30, the authors will now guide a walking tour of some of the finest of the carvings on Saturday, June 4!

The walking tour begins at the southeast corner of Kathy Osterman (Hollywood) Beach and will continue south toward Foster Beach. Please reference the image below to identify the walking tour’s meeting place. Swislow and Packer recommend guests arrive fifteen minutes early to give themselves enough time to locate the tour group.

Graphic of a map of Osterman Beach with a red X, black circle and "meet here" in red text, marking the meeting spot near the Hollywood Avenue Breakwater Light
Image courtesy William Swislow

Tour tickets: $15

Register on Eventbrite

There’s limited availability, so we recommend reserving your tickets in advance!

Please contact Lindsey Wurz at lindsey@art.org with questions related to the walking tour and or accessibility accommodations.


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 Cars.com, is a writer and art collector who operates the cultural website interestingideas.com. 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.