Each year, the Waukegan ArtWise series brings together artists, cultural and civic organizations, and community members to engage with one theme. In 2015, the Those Who Serve series featured a monumental multi-media installation by Ryan Spencer Reed at Waukegan’s Urban Edge gallery, complementary exhibits at Waukegan Public Library, Waukegan History Museum, the Lake County Courthouse, Karcher 405 Gallery, Dandelion Gallery, among other galleries, as well as a wide variety of programming designed to explore what it means to serve our country – and how we can support those who sacrifice to keep us safe.

This year, ArtWise will turn to our community’s greatest resource: its people. With this year’s theme, we will celebrate Waukegan’s many cultures, identities, and abilities through visual art, literature, and performing arts. We’ll bring art into the heart of our downtown by giving new life to empty storefronts. We’ll feature extraordinary artists who examine what heritage and culture and diversity mean in today’s increasingly stratified world. We’ll learn historical context and engage with great ideas with speakers from the area’s leading universities.

And at the very end, we’ll celebrate our diverse community with stories, music, and dance at the historic Genesee Theatre.