• Eva's Launch (October 24th, 2013)

    Dear Chicago, and friends near and far,
    I want to personally invite you to join us for the maiden voyage of my 10 ft. Maine peapod rowboat, Eva, this Sunday, October 27th as artist Lia Rousset and I set out from Hollywood Beach (Thorndale and Sheridan) at 9 AM. Five months in the making (and one month after her scheduled launch date), we will be rowing Eva 1.5 miles from Hollywood Beach to Montrose Beach.  Organized as part of Tricia van Eck's curatorial vision for the EdgeUP Festival (, the journey will take us across the border of Edgewater and Uptown, creating a path by water that bridges the two communities. We plan on landing at Montrose Beach at 11 AM, and walking/biking/driving over to 6018 North to share mead, a meal and a short artist talk by myself and artists Judith Brotman and Philomena O'Halloran. If the conditions are poor (too windy, large swells, etcetera), we will have to cut the row short and meet you all at 1 PM at 6018 North, so please be advised. 

    Built with white oak and Chicago lumber sourced from Horigan's (urban arborists in Skokie, IL) and Rebuilding Exchange, Eva is a literal and metaphoric vehicle, with Chicago in her bones and Lake Michigan at her heart. In traditional maritime manner, I will christen Eva before we launch with mead I have been fermenting for the past 8 months. I hope to share the mead and the day's (hopefully) good weather with all of you. Over the past few months, all of you have lent an ear and an arm as I have built Eva, and I cannot thank you enough for you support, your words of encouragement, your blind faith in lending me your vehicles and your tools, and your incredibly generous helping hands. Her motto - solo mesoporos, roughly translating as "only half-way through the journey" - means I will hopefully get to take her out onto Lake Michigan with all of you next year. I look forward to many future conversations on the water and exciting projects to come.  

    Below is a curatorial statement from Tricia van Eck regarding EdgeUP:  
    EdgeUP celebrates Uptown and Edgewater as successful examples of the American melting pot. It spotlights these neighborhoods’ unique diversity of people, commercial, cultural, and culinary establishments. Through artistic interventions, encounters and exhibitions in public spaces, at the lakefront, in gardens, and on the streets, EdgeUP connects neighbors, artists, and groups to dynamically build community through art.

    Thank you and I hope to see you this Sunday!

    All my very best,
    Marissa Lee Benedict