Vickie Marasco: Following Her Heart, Nurturing Art and Others

Art and her heart have led Vickie Marasco to diverse, interesting places.

From Saudi Arabia, where she designed textiles for royalty, to pristine Lake Forest where she lives and does substantial work with the Deer Path Art League, to her latest project, curating art for Waukegan’s Urban Edge gallery space. With each undertaking, Marasco nurtures a growing number of opportunities for others.

Art is also healing her heart. Recently divorced, the petite, blue-eyed, blonde mother of three looks out from Urban Edge’s floor-to-ceiling windows at the Courthouse across the street. There she endured several years of divorce proceedings. “Now spending time in Waukegan makes me happy, provides me energy and peace rather than such sadness.”

Marasco looks more country club than urban edge, but she clearly is as comfortable in the concrete, brick, metal and glass Waukegan gallery as she is in the traditional Deer Path Art League Gallery.

It seems that she can’t say no to projects with the potential to help other artists grow.  She started with Deer Path Art League as a member of the volunteer board, which offers technique classes, provides outreach, and produces the Art Fair On The Square, a 58-year-old juried art show.

She couldn’t say no when she was asked to curate an art gallery in the Gorton Community Center, where she changes shows every 6 weeks and work with a mix of local and national artists.

And again, she couldn’t refuse when Mary Gorter Krey of the Gorter Family Foundation asked her to develop an art component for their North Chicago Community Partners after school program, now in four schools. “Some of those kids are unbelievably talented,” Marasco says. “It’s great to be able to nurture their passion.”

Marasco tried very hard to say no to the Urban Edge project, too. But she was hooked as soon as she saw the 5,000-square-foot space across from the Genesee Theatre. She understood Waukegan Mayor Robert Sabonjian and Public Relations Director David Motley’s art district initiative, which uses the arts to fill vacant spaces with viable businesses that create local jobs, broaden the tax base and improve the overall quality of life in Waukegan. If successful, this plan will not only grow opportunities for artists; it will make life better for the entire town.

Following her heart and art has helped Marasco craft an inspiring life.

To learn more about the arts in Waukegan, go to artwauk.com, deerpathartleague.org and facebook.com/UrbanEdgeSpace. Artwauk is coming up on Jan. 21.