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Around Rogers Park: A Walk Through Rogers Park, by Eric Kessler

But that’s not all in the world of books and Rogers Park.

Wisconsin native and CPS teacher Eric Kessler has also contributed to the literary (and artistic) pursuits of the neighborhood. In 2020, needing a break from the doom and gloom of the pandemic after it shut down in-class learning and kept people isolated in their apartments, Eric started taking walks. Like many of us, he did this to relieve tension, to get out of the apartment and to get a little exercise. But unlike most of us, Eric also started drawing what he saw.

One-hundred-twenty of these drawings have now found their way into a book he self-published in July, called “A Walk Through Rogers Park.” He didn’t expect much from this effort, only producing 20 books for sale. But he had not counted on the publicity generated by a Block Club Chicago article. His first batch of books sold out almost immediately and the orders keep coming in!

Eric’s drawings are a mix of pen, ink and watercolor that beautifully capture the unique architecture and spirit of the Rogers Park community. Eric is fascinated by the small details, but ones you miss when you’re in a hurry but that really stand out when you slow down and pay attention to your surroundings.

Talking to Eric about his new book was a pleasure. He is clearly delighted with the attention his book has generated since this story was first picked up. But he’s also firmly focused on getting back into the classroom and preparing to teach after a year of remote learning. Eric doesn’t rule out a second book at some future point – perhaps of his new surroundings in Ravenswood where he moved a few weeks ago to be closer to work.

One way or the other, after so many months of pandemic hardships, it’s nice to see something so positive emerge from this challenging time. A Walk Through Rogers Park is a wonderful tribute to a unique part of Chicago that has always been welcoming to artists and other creatives. If you want your own copy or just want to see some of Eric’s art, check out his website on Instagram.




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