Right across campus, at the Standish Park Arboretum, the grass was filled with tents and people wandering around for Art in the Park, exploring work from local artists. There were many families with young children, in addition to teenagers in groups, and older individuals.
“The community attendance for this event is excellent year after year,” said Heather Norman, director of the Art Center, and Lynn Miller, the office manager.
Art in the Park is a community event that originated in 1986 and sponsored by the Galesburg Civic Art Center. It began when a group of artists in the community decided they wanted a venue to showcase and sell their work to the public. Norman and Miller said Art in the Park was a “juried art fair”. Artists sent in a written application and images of their work, which the Art in the Park committee looked over and choose who would be vendors at the event.
Many volunteers from the community help make Art in the Park possible year after year. Local business like Cornucopia, Q’s Café, Hy-Vee and The Cellar provided the food for Art in the Park. Other local businesses sold t-shirts for the event. Most entertainment was local as well; Knox College Jazz Ensemble provided the music for the event.
Some sellers at Art in the Park were long time vendors, like JoAnn Hale from Unique Designs, who has sold her jewelry for 14 years at this event. After contemplating for a while, Hale relayed the story of how she first found out about Art in the Park.
“I was driving in town and then all of a sudden there was a thunder storm. I passed by the park and saw lots of people hurriedly packing up,” Hale said. She liked the atmosphere even amidst the chaos and decided she would try to join the next year.
Others were fairly new to Art in the Park. Joshua Dixon and Tanya Pshenychny both have only presented for two years, this year being their second. Dixon, 23, has been painting for only three years, but his work was chosen as the promotional piece this year. Laughing, he said he had to be in now that his piece was being used for promotion.
“I like seeing people’s faces light up from artwork,” said Dixon.
Pshenychny’s business called Razorberries showcased original watercolor and ink work. Pshenychny scanned and printed all of her work herself. She loved the atmosphere of Art in the Park.
“There are people walking around in stilts,” she said, pointing out a sparkly, stilted man walking by. “You don’t see that at any other fairs.”
Last year, the Civic Art Center introduced a new exhibition for emerging artists. This year there was work from Galesburg High School, Knoxville High School, and Lombard Junior High School with Carl Sandburg College and Knox College also represented. Knox’s competitors were Jen Milius ‘10, Kurtis Schaper ‘10, Nicole Andersen ’10, Taylor Mueller ’10, and Heather Kopec ‘10.
There were even exhibits especially for children at Art in the Park. Kathleen Ridlon and the Midwest Dance Group taught kids how to dance with ribbons and then performed for the audience at noon. Stephanie Sorenson ’12 volunteered at the Willow Bead Necklace stand, where kids painted a large twig, put it on string, and hung it on a tree to dry.
The stilted man was not the only spectacle to behold at Art in the Park. Loren Lindgren and Jasmin Tomlins ‘10 advertised for Ginger Hundgen, a seamstress at Ducky’s, by walking around the Park in the playful, imaginative costumes she makes on her own time. All of the costumes are sewn completely by her with ideas from friends. Some of the costumes modeled by Lindgren and Tomlins were a lobster and lime and a glittery tree stump. Tomlins said she was there to “grow and shine” while in flower costume. As I left, Lindgren had just put on an Elvis costume.
All over the park there was unique art. Julie Balivia from Balivia Designs crocheted almost all of her jewelry, most of which was made of metal. She also makes all of her own clay beads. Fred Des Camps used intarsia, a form of wood inlaying and layering, to make designs for Wood Wonders.
All of the exhibitors at Art in the Park were passionate about their work and loved the opportunity to show at such a unique event.