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Local authors, musicians celebrated through exhibit in Grayslake

Kathy Bostrom Wildwood signs one her books for Heritage Center Executive Director Dave Oberg Saturday’s event. | JIM NEWTON/SUN-TIMES MEDIA

Kathy Bostrom of Wildwood signs one of her books for Heritage Center Executive Director Dave Oberg at Saturday’s event. | JIM NEWTON/SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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Updated: February 28, 2014 6:23AM

Saturday afternoon was all about celebrating homegrown talent at the Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum.

The center held a grand opening for its new “Made in Grayslake” exhibition, which runs through July and features the works of local authors and musicians. Many of those authors were present Saturday, meeting and signing books for visitors.

The exhibit also included pictures and artifacts of local musicians and bands, including a signed guitar from the rock band Chevelle, which formed in Grayslake in the mid-1990s. Live music was provided by local musician Kyle Magnusson, who showed his proficiency at both keyboards and guitar.

“It’s amazing really, when you look at all of the musicians and you are surrounded by all of the books. It’s astonishing the talent that came out of this town,” said Dave Oberg, executive director of the Heritage Center, which was created in a partnership between the village and the Grayslake Historical Society.

Part II of the exhibit, which will feature the business and industry of Grayslake, including the legacies of companies such as the Grayslake Gelatin Company, opens Feb. 22.

Oberg said staff and volunteers embraced the project from the start and made it larger than initially imagined. He said Historical Society President Charlotte Renehan pushed for including local authors and musicians because their artistry is a product of Grayslake, and volunteer Linda Willhite threw herself into the project by helping to identify and locate local authors and their works.

“It was a real team effort,” Oberg said. “Everyone pitched in and wanted to help.”

Children’s author Kathy Bostrom of Wildwood said she was happy to participate in the event and the exhibition.

“It’s wonderful for a community to embrace their authors,” Bostrom said. “With the closing of bookstores, it’s harder to be visible. It’s also nice meeting with other authors.”

Bostrom, a retired pastor with Wildwood Presbyterian Church, has recently published her first book without a religious theme, titled “The View at the Zoo.” She is also a main author in the Little Blessings series, penning titles such as “Who Made the World” and “What is God Like.”

USA Today bestselling author Marilyn Brant of Grayslake was all smiles as she greeted visitors and signed copies of her books, including a coming-of-age romantic mystery released last fall entitled “The Road to You.”

Brant said she began writing magazine articles when she retired from teaching to stay at home after having her first child, and soon decided to pursue her dream of writing a novel. She completed her first published novel, “According to Jane,” in 2009, and has written several others since.

“I realized my love of books and fiction made me want to write a novel,” she said.

Grayslake author Randi Rossi, who wrote the somewhat autobiographical “The Last Man to Live the Real American Dream,” which received rave reviews from Midwest Book Review, also attended the exhibition opening.

“I was kind of surprised. It’s nice that they did it,” Rossi said. “The whole experience is a lot of fun.”

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