Tours Show Park Ridge's Famous Artists

Passports to Park Ridge’s Past, a May 12 kid-friendly walking tour, will benefit resotration efforts at Iannelli Studios Heritage Center.

"Passports to Park Ridge’s Past," a walking tour for children, families and others who are interested in finding out more about the artistic legacy of the town’s art colony history, will kick off Saturday, May 12, between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Iannelli Studios Heritage Center, 255 N. Northwest Highway, Park Ridge. 

Cost is $5 per person or $10 for a family pass.  Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

The historic walk, which is expected to take between 90 minutes and two hours to complete, will highlight the rich artistic legacy of Park Ridge.  Each participant on the self-guided walking tour will receive a special passport and map of historic locations that will guide them to 15 different landmarks where they will hear a short history of the site and have their passport stamped.  Those who take the tour may also choose to do a part or the entire route by automobile.  All participants will receive one entry for a special raffle.  Additional raffle tickets may be purchased the day of the event. 

Proceeds will benefit restoration efforts at Iannelli Studios Heritage Center which was saved from the wrecking ball last year through a community-wide grassroots effort.   Integral to the roots of American modernism, the Park Ridge studio of noted artist Alfonso Iannelli, who helped design the world famous Pickwick Theater and sculpted the Rock of Gibraltar on the Prudential Building in downtown Chicago, was selected for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2011 This Place Matters Community Challenge and was also featured last spring on Chicago Tonight.  For more information about Iannelli and his contributions to the world of art, go to http://blogs.wttw.com/moreonthestory/2011/05/24/sculptor-alfonso-iannelli/

“Once restored, Iannelli Studios could be to Park Ridge what the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is to Oak Park, bringing people from all over the world who are interested in the roots of American Modernism to our town to spend their time and money,” said Betsy Foxwell, president of The Kalo Foundation which spearhead the preservation effort.  “It will serve as a focal point to tell not only the story of Alfonso Iannelli, and his wife Margaret, but the larger narrative of the artists’ colony that flourished at the turn of the 20th Century and beyond.”

Contributions for ongoing restoration are being accepted by the Kalo Foundation; P.O. Box 791, Park Ridge, Illinois 60068 and may also be made online at www.kalofoundation.org.  Reservations for Passports to Park Ridge’s Past may also be made online and will be taken the day of the event from 8 to 11 a.m.  For more information, call 847-261-4595.

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