Jack Benny Center for the Arts
39 Jack Benny Drive, Waukegan, IL 60087
(847) 360-4740 fax (847) 662-0592
Hours of Operation:
Waukegan Park District Emergency Closing Information
The Waukegan Park District through its Cultural Arts Division offers fine and cultural arts programs through Jack Benny Center for the Arts, Bowen Heritage Circle/Waukegan History Museum, Schornick Theatre, and the Visual Arts Center. Arts programming includes special events, dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, as well as, a professional theatre, a community symphony orchestra and a concert chorus, each providing enrichment to the lives of those who attend. Programs allow students, lecturers, artists, musicians, and actors opportunities to contribute to the culturally diverse community. The park district works cooperatively with the historical society’s volunteer board by providing a museum supervisor, a research library and museum. Historically significant archives, events, tours, programs, and exhibits provide opportunities to learn about the community and its history.
The fine arts programming of the Jack Benny Center for the Arts (including Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus, the Bowen Park Theatre Company) is supported by the Waukegan Park District, partial support through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, an agency of the State of Illinois and a marketing exchange with hibu.
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Private music lessons are available at the Waukegan Park District’s Jack Benny Center for the Arts located in beautiful Bowen Park, 39 Jack Benny Drive, Waukegan, Illinois. One-on-one lessons offer focused attention and individualized study for each music student. Music lessons are offered in guitar, violin, viola, cello, string bass, Suzuki violin, woodwinds, Suzuki flute, piano, and voice. Private lessons are one of the most effective ways of musical advancement. Lessons are 30-60 minutes in length and meet once a week. Those interested should call Jack Benny Center for the Arts at 847-360-4740 for fees and availability. Private music lessons are an activity that offers immediate evaluation and assessment between teacher and student/parent.
Our spacious 29’ x 49’ dance studio is the home to the Cultural Arts dance program and a variety of other dance and movement classes throughout the year. Classes are held for toddlers through adults. The dance studio is on the lower level of the Jack Benny Center for the Arts at 39 Jack Benny Drive in Bowen Park. From Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Hip Hop, a variety of classes are offered to meet dance needs while Yoga, Tai Chi Chuan, and other classes are offered to meet the needs for movement and body awareness.
The Dr. Lynn Schornick Theatre is the home of the Bowen Park Theatre Company, but is also the stage for a variety of classes, workshops, and performances. Classes in theatre arts are held year-round for youth through adult. Classes include Stage One-theatre for youth, Roundtree Players-theatre ensemble group for teens, Acting 101 for Adults, Stage Make-up, Scene Study, Improvisation classes and workshops, and Audition Clinics. Classes and workshops are taught by Chicago/Milwaukee area actors and directors as well as workshops offered through Second City Chicago. The theatre space seats up to 100 and is the home to our Summer, Spring, and Holiday Shows for Young Audiences.
Theatre Classes Online Registration
Our Visual Arts Center is located at 533 Grand Avenue. This facility has a spacious artstudio and gallery. Art studios are also available for rent.
Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival
Mr. Jim Harrington, a local artist, had a dream of a festival celebrating the arts in Waukegan. A fine arts component was added to the 2000 “Beach Bash!” held at the Waukegan lakefront. The event worked out beautifully when the organizers of the art portion of the event offered sand sculptures and sand art as the project for the artists. The event was successful and no longer needed to piggyback on another event---with that, Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival was created.
The book Dandelion Wine was written by one of Waukegan’s favorite sons, Ray Bradbury. This story takes the reader through the ravines and up and down the streets of Green Town (Waukegan) as seen by a young Douglas Spaulding. The City of Waukegan, Art, Etc., and the Cultural Arts Division of the Waukegan Park District honors Mr. Bradbury and Green Town with the Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival each year. The festival celebrates art, music, drama, and dance through art demonstrations, an open microphone program, musicians, and storytellers. Past Dandelion Wine Festivals have included: a community drum circle; the Lake County Art League setting up their tents with artists discussing their artwork and techniques with those strolling through the park; musicians young and old playing music for an audience that ranges from infant to senior citizen; and storytellers drawing people in with stories of far away lands or a tale about a ravine only two miles away.
The first Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival had Waukegan Public School students from 1st to 8th grade visiting Bowen Park to work with professional artists on a team project based on the story Dandelion Wine. When the students were done with their creations they enjoyed a lunch provided by the Waukegan School District and then participated in a drama workshop. The second year of the event had professional artists from Chicago and Waukegan visit schools and worked with the students painting canvases based on the theme-“The Rhythms of Our Cultures” as a way to celebrate not only the arts but also the diversity of our community. Each year a theme is presented to the participants for the community art project.
Mr. Ray Bradbury is the honorary chairman for this event and was quite pleased that the group chose Dandelion Wine as its theme.
Event time: 10am-4pm
Event location: Bowen Park
Artist Applications Available Please check back for artist applications for the 2015 event.
Tour of Homes
The Tour of Homes is an annual event that showcases the beautiful homes of Waukegan. Participants are able to learn the history of some of the finest homes in the city as well as tour their interiors. The Tour of Homes, started in 1969, is the main fundraiser of the Waukegan Historical Society.
Date: TBA 2015
General Public Tickets can be purchased at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, 39 Jack Benny Drive, Waukegan
Downtown Ace Hardware. 239 N Genesee Street, Waukegan
Call The Jack Benny Center for more information (847) 360-4740.
Oakwood Cemetery Walk
Oakwood Cemetery Walk, an annual event that began in 1995, takes the participants through the city cemetery (1851). Visitors to Oakwood have been taken back to a time and place that has ranged from pre- Civil War to as recent as 1979. Four to six “residents” are portrayed by local “actors” each year. There has always been diversity among the characters portrayed. Finding information about women and minorities has been challenging but rewarding. The cemetery walk has featured the first female physician in Waukegan and George Washington Bell, a former slave turned Union soldier. This annual event is a cooperative program between the Waukegan Park District, City of Waukegan, and the Waukegan Historical Society.
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2014 12-3:30pm
This year's theme is "Firsts in Waukegan". Featured stories will include: 1st Waukegan Fair, 1st Waukegan baseball team, local inventions, Glen Rock Pop, 1st airplane ride, Academy Theater, 1st telephone, 1st lighthouse.
Tickets can be purchased at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, 39 Jack Benny Dr. for $3 in advance, or $5 day of Cemetery Walk.
You may also register online.
There is no parking at the Cemetery. Shuttle buses take participants round trip from Bowen Park (Lilac Cottage) to the cemetery.
12:00 bus - program # 4605
12:30 bus - #4606
1:30 bus - #4607
2:00 bus - #4608
3:15 bus - #4609
The Joseph A. Favero Memorial Do-It-Yourself Messiah and Carol Sing-Along
Join the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus December 13, 2014 at 7pm for the annual Joseph A. Favero Memorial Do-It-Yourself Messiah and Carol Sing-Along at the First United Methodist Church of Waukegan, 128 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. General admission tickets are $15.00. Tickets and scores may be purchased at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts in advance or at the door.
The Benefits of an ARTS Education. . .are Endless!
The arts teach the importance of teamwork and cooperation ...a music student’s skill in reading, writing and mathematics are improved ...throughout history, all the arts have served to connect our imaginations with questions about life ...students studying performing arts build their imagination, communication skills, self-esteem, and self-confidence...the arts teach self-discipline...our personal, social, economic, and cultural environments are shaped by the arts ...music education fosters discipline and commitment...arts offer a unique source of enjoyment and refreshment for the imagination.
The Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus, Bowen Park Theatre and scholarship fund would greatly appreciate your contribution. To download a contribution form in .pdf format, please click here.
Jack Benny Center for the Arts
39 Jack Benny Drive
Waukegan, IL 60087
847-360-4740 Fax: 847-662-0592