Stories by Ariel Parrella-Aureli

Felt food snacks like a Chicago-style hot dog and deep-dish pizza are sold on the pop-up shop Chef’s Kiss Co. (Courtesy of Rebecca Skoch)

Chicago Food Favorites Reimagined as Holiday Ornaments, Decor for Pop-Up Shop

Craving a Chicago-style dog or a slice of deep dish? A new online pop-up serves artful representations of the city’s most popular eats — and these dishes double as holiday gifts and ornaments that won’t get your fingers greasy. 

Alexia Brockmann, 12, has made hundreds of masks during the pandemic. (Photo: Kerry Fitzpatrick)

Helping Those in Need a Family Affair This Holiday Season

About two dozen volunteers of all ages took to the streets Saturday to distribute 120 care pages to people experiencing homelessness in Chicago. Meet the founders of The heARTS Project, the new nonprofit behind the effort.

Magic, a bottlenose dolphin born at Brookfield Zoo in 2013. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

Brookfield Zoo Loses 7 Years of ‘Magic’ After Bottlenose Dolphin Dies From Longtime Respiratory Illness

The Chicago Zoological Society said it was devastated by the loss of the dolphin, Magic, who was born and hand-reared at Brookfield Zoo. Others who had visited the dolphin expressed their sadness on social media.

“Cherry” by artist Sung-Hee Min is on display at 1701 W. North Ave. (Ariel Parrella-Aureli / WTTW News)

New Sculptures in Wicker Park and Bucktown Encourage Neighborhood Exploration

Six new works on display as part of the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit aim to get community members outside to explore the area and support local businesses as winter sets in amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Volunteers load up cars in Washington Park as part of the third annual Be Part of the Light event Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (Ariel Parrella-Aureli / WTTW News)

Volunteers Light Up King Drive to Spread Holiday Cheer During Somber Times

More than 500 volunteers participated in the kickoff event for My Block My Hood My City’s third annual Be Part of the Light event, which aims to decorate a 12-mile stretch of King Drive on the city’s South Side.

Catherine Ashton (Facebook photo)

Chicago Yoga Community Remembers Teacher, Therapist and Trauma Expert Catherine Ashton

Friends, family members and former students gathered virtually on Sunday to remember longtime Chicago yoga teacher and therapist Catherine Ashton, who died Nov. 14 as a result of pancreatic cancer.

Families pick up Thanksgiving meal boxes and coats for their children at West Town nonprofit Northwestern Settlement on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Ariel Parrella-Aureli / WTTW News)

West Town Nonprofit Brings Community Together for Donation of 700 Thanksgiving Meals

“Feeding hunger is also feeding the spirit, that’s what events like this do,” said Ron Manderschied, president of Northwestern Settlement. “It provides the food for sustenance but also feeds the soul.” 

The family of Frank Aguilar added new flowers and a new photo to his memorial at the corner of South Hamlin and West 32nd Street to honor his life on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, the eve of Day of the Dead. (Ariel Parrella-Aureli / WTTW News)

Nearly a Year After Drive-By Shooting, Family of Frank Aguilar Still Looking For Answers

The family of Frank Aguilar, a 32-year-old nurse who was gunned down in November 2019, gathered in Little Village on Sunday to commemorate his life and to continue to push for justice in finding his killer.

A scene from a protest in Chicago on June 4, 2020. (WTTW News)

‘Good Trouble’ Highlights Voices From the Front Lines of Social Justice Movements

Chicago takes part in a nationwide listening party for a new audio play that uses the words of protesters, activists, immigrants and survivors to explore recent social and protest movements. We go for a listen.

Horace Nowell III, left, and his father have their first in-person visit during the pandemic and show off their T-shirts. In the background is a painting the two made together. (Courtesy Horace Nowell)

Local Artist Encourages People to ‘Remember in November’ With T-Shirt Designed to Spread Voter Awareness

A father-son duo takes inspiration from major news events of 2020 to remind people how important it is to make their voices heard in the upcoming election.

Elizabeth Morales, founder of Del Dia Chicago, sits with boxes of fresh produce she gets every week from farmers. (Courtesy Elizabeth Morales)

Pilsen’s Feed the Crib Initiative Helps Struggling Families Access Fresh Produce

Meet Elizabeth Morales, a 29-year-old teacher and community service organizer who is working to support local families and individuals struggling with food and housing insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Artists Michelle Vega and Sir Charles at Zinemercado in Logan Square on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (Ariel Parrella-Aureli / WTTW News)

Annual Logan Square Zine Fest Zinemercado Highlights Resiliency of DIY Art Community

It looked a little different this year due to the coronavirus, but an independent zine fest brought a steady stream of customers, vendors and artists together Sunday to experience art in person, some for the first time since March. 

(ErikaWittlieb / Pixabay)

New Campaign Aims to Raise Awareness of Restorative Justice

The coronavirus pandemic is highlighting systemic racism that Black and Brown communities have faced for decades, including systemic racism in the prison and criminal justice system. 

Allie Mae Miller stands next to the refrigerator she painted and donated to the Love Fridge project in Avondale. (Ariel Parrella-Aureli / WTTW News)

10 Colorful Fridges and Counting: Fighting Food Insecurity One Fridge at a Time

Painted fridges stocked with free, fresh food and drinks have been popping up across Chicago for the past two months. Find out how the Love Fridge project is helping those in need during the pandemic.