Waukegan Park District


Jack Benny Center for the Arts
39 Jack Benny Drive, Waukegan, IL 60087
(847) 360-4740          fax (847) 662-0592


Hours of Operation:

Monday-Thursday 10am-9pm
Friday  10am-5pm
Saturday   9am-4pm


To go straight to section, click:

• Music
• Dance
• Theatre
• Art
• Special Events
• General Donations





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Waukegan Park District | Cultural Arts General InformationA young, Waukegan Park District violinist.

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 is supported by the Waukegan Park District, with partial support through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, an agency of the State of Illinois.



Private Music InstructionPrivate music lessons are offered at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts.

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, woodwinds, Suzuki flute, piano, brass 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 over an eight week session. Call the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, 847-360-4740, for fees and availability. Private music lessons are an activity that offers immediate evaluation and assessment between teacher and student/parent.

Private and Group Music Instructor Biographies


Dance Studio

Our spacious 29’ x 49’ dance studio is the home to the dance program and a variety of other movement classes throughout the year. Classes are held for preschool 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. 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.

Dance Instructor Biographies



Dr. Lynn Schornick Theatre


The Dr. Lynn Schornick Theatre is the home of the Bowen Park Theatre Company, and seats 80. It is also the stage for classes, workshops, and performances. Classes in theatre arts are held year-round for youth through adult. Classes include Stage One-theatre for youth, Compass Creative Dramatics brings in youth musical theatre, 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 professional companies.

Theatre Instructor Biographies







Our Visual Arts Center is located at 533 Grand Avenue. This facility has a spacious art studio and gallery. Art studios are also available for rent.

Click HERE to go to the Visual Arts page on our website for more information.
For a map to the Visual Arts Center, click HERE.



Special Events

Dandelion Wine Fine Arts FestivalDandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival-First Saturday in June since 2001
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 “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 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 andthen 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.


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 through the eyes of a young Douglas Spaulding. 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, musicians, and storytellers. Past Dandelion Wine Festivals have included: a community drum circle; 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. Volunteers are always welcome.


Event day: June 4, 2016
Event time: 10am-4pm
Event location: Bowen Park

Artist/Vendor Applications: 2016 applications will be available in December/January

Sponsors are needed for the Ray Bradbury's "Dandelion Wine" Fine Arts Festival.  The 17th Annual Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival will be Saturday, June 4 from 10a-4p in Bowen Park.  The festival is dedicated to showcasing local and regional artists and venues, championing the arts, remaining free to the public, offering low participation fees to artists, and remembering one of Waukegan’s favorite sons, author Ray Bradbury.  To learn more, click here for the Sponsorship Packet.



Tour of Homes
The Tour of Homes is an annual event that showcases 3-5 beautiful Waukegan homes. 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 2016
Ticket Prices:

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- A Living History Event
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. 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: September 2016. Event begins at 1911 N Sheridan Road with check in. Buses transport participants to the cemetery where there is no nearby parking. This is a ticketed event.




The Joseph A. Favero Memorial Do-It-Yourself Messiah and Carol Sing-Along
Join the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus in December 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. Scores may be rented night of for a deposit of $10. For that same fee, you may also purchase a score to keep. 


Date for 2015 is Decembr 19, at 7pm at the First United Methodist Church, 128 N Martin Luther King Jr Avenue..


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.


General Donations
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




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