The fine art of thriving in a recession


Just west of Chicago's Austin neighborhood, a stretch of Harrison Street in Oak Park, Ill. is revitalizing once-sleepy (and empty) storefronts with a force retrograde to any Great Recession.

On Oct. 2-4, the Oak Park Arts District will hold its first Arts Retreat Weekend. The idea, as community events go, is to provide a "staycation" experience for locals whose funds have been tapped out by the recessionary drought. And to that end, the culinary, musical and artistic events typify anything that you'll see in any of the Chicago area's arts-rich areas.

If this feature concerned yet another weekend arts festival, we could stop the story right here. But the nine blocks of boutiques, art galleries, cafes and restaurants speak volumes about what a determined group of citizens, business owners and artists can do to cultivate hope, life and promise amidst economic turmoil and uncertainty.

Originally published