Greetings Old Town neighbors!
I hope everyone is into the holiday swing, enjoying traditions and creating some new ones. Our Association has had another milestone year thanks to our Board of Directors, Committees, staff, volunteers, and membership. A new feature this fall has been the ad hoc Community Service Committee, an all-volunteer group working weekly to collect clothing and blankets, and prepare meals for our city’s migrants, homeless, and veterans.
Thank you to Marya Lucas and the Events Committee for putting on some memorable get-togethers. Oktoberfest was attended by over 300 guests. We met some new members and connected with neighbors and friends enjoying food, beverages, and music. The Halloween Parade was great fun for both kids and parents, marching through Old Town led by a Dixieland band, despite the rain! The Art Gallery Committee hosted a second annual Lincoln Park Art Night as well as the Student and Instructor Exhibition. This year’s exhibition featured not only works of art from our instructors and students, but also the addition of a Holiday Artisan Pop-Up Shop. Thank you to Barb Guttmann for organizing the many monthly artist showings throughout the year.
OTTA received a grant for $150,000, appropriated from the “Build Illinois Bond Fund”, for costs associated with capital improvements to the Old Town Art Center. Upon notification of the grant by Representative Margaret Croke in June, the Board appointed an ad hoc Committee to oversee the development of this project. The Committee has outlined the potential scope of building improvements, interviewed architectural consultants, and will host a workshop in early January, open to members, to get further input on the building improvements program and initial design.
Another significant achievement is the establishment of a “sister-neighborhoods” agreement between La Commune Libre de Montmartre in Paris, the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association, and the Old Town Triangle Association. Montmartre, a deeply historical area of Paris, shares the arts focus, creative history, artists, studios, and other attributes of Old Town. For 2024 we are planning events to engage our community groups.
Happy Holidays to all as we continue to live our Mission, Vision, and Values into 2024!
Raymond Clark, President OTTA