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Harlem merchants plan first Art Walk

Palos Heights’ first-ever Art Walk on Harlem is coming to town on Saturday, June 18.

          Artists will display their works up and down Harlem Avenue in the city’s downtown. Activities will spread out from the city’s Art Park, Diane’s Place and the Shoppes of Palos Place.

          The event is scheduled to start with Barre in the Park, a movement exercise program led by an instructor, at 9 a.m. in the Art Park, 72nd Court and 123rd Street. The art show will take place from noon to 8 p.m. on Harlem, between 122nd and 124th streets, where artwork will be on display outdoors.

          The City Council on Tuesday granted a special event permit for organizers to hold the art walk. It is the brainchild of Diane’s Place owner Diane Goerg and fellow members of the Harlem Avenue Business Association that she and fellow merchants in the city’s downtown formed last fall.

          Restaurants downtown will offer food and drink specials during the Art Walk, Alderman Jeffrey Key told the aldermen Tuesday as he promoted the event in his capacity as the City Council’s liaison to the city’s Business and Economic Development Committee.

          Planned for the day before Father’s Day, the event will also feature live music, said Key. Street performers of various kinds could be added as the event nears.

          The Art Walk is the third of a series of outdoor-fest like events promoting commerce on Harlem Avenue organized by the downtown merchants’ group.

It started with Christmas on Harlem held last December, the same Friday night as the city’s tree-lighting ceremony, and the next day. The goal was to promote Christmas shopping and dining out on Harlem. Organizers deemed it a success, although the highly-touted planned ice skating rink behind Palos Place remained a mud pit. Then in March the business association put together an Irish-themed celebration the weekend around St. Patrick’s Day.

All are patterned somewhat after the hugely successful Palos Heights Classic Car Event, which uses Harlem as a large outdoor amphitheater on both sides of the thoroughfare in the city’s downtown as a way to draw people to spend money in the restaurants and shops lining the street.

Classic cars also fill the parking lots near Diane’s Place during Cruise Nights every Sunday evening in warm weather months. Owners of classic and vintage autos park them on display for people to inspect as they stop in Diane’s, formerly Tastee Freez, for ice cream treats.

The Art Walk is “another great day of fun brought to you by the Harlem Avenue Business Association,” a post on Diane’s Place’s Facebook page says.

The Adopt-a-Pot planters meanwhile have been placed along Harlem Avenue and elsewhere in the city, Key told the council Tuesday. The flowers are meant to beautify the business district in advance of the Classic Car Event, and now the Art Walk event.

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