Author, artist Benjamin Busch to visit Waukegan Public Library

Post date: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 - 2:57pm

“The Art In War,” an exhibit of photographs by Benjamin Busch, will open at the Waukegan Public Library on Friday, September 11, 2015. Busch, an acclaimed writer, actor, and artist who served as a commanding officer in the United States Marine Corps, will show photographs from his 2003 and 2005 deployments to Iraq and visit the library to discuss his award-winning memoir, Dust to Dust.

The photographs explore themes of war and memory by focusing on ephemera, from torn posters to bloodstained walls. It’s a gripping exercise in evoking a particular time and place, made all the more powerful by the photographer’s presence as an officer in the war he is documenting, blurring the line between observer and participant. These are documentary photographs that are not the work of a journalist; they chronicle a specific time and place without the luxury of distance.

 “The Art In War” exhibit coincides with Busch’s appearance at the Waukegan Public Library’s writers’ series, which will bring three acclaimed authors to the Library for book talks, signings, and Q&A sessions this fall. The exhibit and writers’ series represent the Library’s contribution to “Those Who Serve,” a community-wide initiative called Waukegan ArtWise, which in its inaugural year spotlights the experiences of American service men and women.

Busch will speak about his Debut-litzer Prize-winning memoir Dust to Dust at the Waukegan Public Library on Thursday, September 17, 2015, at 6:30pm. The poetic memoir travels an elegiac path through Busch’s childhood, adolescence, and service in the Marine Corps, including his two deployments to Iraq.

“We’re excited to welcome Benjamin Busch to the library for the first book talk in our ‘Those Who Serve’ writers’ series,” said Richard Lee, Executive Director of the Waukegan Public Library. “Dust to Dust is a compelling look not just at a young man’s time at war, but at the way childhood informs adulthood.”

Busch will also screen his critically-acclaimed film BRIGHT at the Library on Friday, September 18, at 4:30pm. The film, written and directed by Busch and starring Eric Nenninger and Robert Wisdom, follows a blind man who must guide a younger man to face his deepest fear.

Waukegan Public Library will welcome authors Michael Pitre and Kirsten Holmstedt for book talks and signings on October 8, 2015, and November 5, 2015, respectively. Pitre will discuss his novel Fives and Twenty-Fives, while Holmstedt will focus on her book Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq.

 “The Art In War” will run through November 11, 2015. As part of “Those Who Serve,” the exhibit will contribute to a broader discussion of what it means to serve and sacrifice in America’s armed forces. “Those Who Serve” brings together numerous community partners for two months of programming centered on these themes, including complementary exhibits at Waukegan’s Urban Edge gallery, Dandelion Gallery, Karcher 405 Gallery and the Lake County Courthouse, theatrical performances at Clockwise Theatre, Bowen Park Theatre and Three Brothers Theatre, and an ongoing writers’ series at the Waukegan Public Library. The centerpiece of the series is an exhibition of Ryan Spencer Reed’s immersive photographic installation, “Despite Similarities to Reality, This Is A Work of Fiction.”

For more information about the exhibit, as well as the Waukegan Public Library’s writers’ series, please visit, or contact Amanda Civitello, Marketing and Communications Manager, at (847) 775-2560.

For more information on Waukegan ArtWise - “Those Who Serve,” a project of the Waukegan Arts Council in partnership with the City of Waukegan, please visit

Sen. Kirk's Staffers Host Office Hours at WPL

Post date: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 1:10pm

Staffers from the office of Senator Mark Kirk will be at Waukegan Public Library on Wednesday, August 19, from 1:30 to 3:30pm. Stop by their table to ask questions, make suggestions, and be an active participant in our government. Free parking is available to library patrons at the city parking garage located catercorner from the library at the intersection of County and Clayton streets.

Mexican History Through Art & Dance: A Workshop Series

Post date: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 4:01pm

Beginning on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the Waukegan Public Library will host two artists-in-residence from Mexico, Luis Alberto Sotelo Morales and Diego Ruiz. Morales and Ruiz will each present a series of three workshops focusing on the ancient art and culture and the traditional dances of Mexico.

The Waukegan Public Library is excited to present this series of workshops designed to introduce patrons to the ancestral Aztec culture of Mexico, tracing the course of the Aztec empire through its culture, political organization, military structure, and religious practices. Over the course of the series, participants will take part in lectures and create their own artworks which build on traditional Aztec motifs.

Practicing artist and academic, Morales also has archaeological experience and served as professor in UNAM’s archaeological drawing workshop courses and contributed illustrations to numerous journals. He designed this workshop series to introduce Waukegan residents to Mexican history with an interactive learning experience.

Dancing is also a key component of the workshop, with professional dancer Diego Ruiz presenting complementary workshops on traditional (and modern) Mexican dance. His workshops will focus on dance history and costuming - and even teach participants a few steps.