This past Saturday, April 24, saw the return of the Laughing Corn Art Walk to Galesburg’s Main Street. Part of a loosely affiliated series of Sandburg-related events to boost awareness of the arts in Galesburg — including the Rootabaga Jazz Festival and the Rootabaga Poetry Slam — the art walk showcased local artists and businesses, who displayed and sold their work for the better part of the day.
Now in its second year, the art walk, which takes its name from the Carl Sandburg poem “Laughing Corn,” consisted of 12 booths set up on either side of Main Street, sandwiched between Cherry and Kellogg.
The booths ran the gamut, featuring stained glass work, clay jewelry, ink and watercolor drawings, hand-drawn portraits, paintings of every variety and bottle cap earrings. Interested attendees were given the chance to get information and make donations by the Galesburg Civic Arts Center (GCAC), which has organized the event in its two years of life.
Some of the artists featured at the walk are no strangers to the local art scene. Artists Melsie Anderson and Susie Richardson both said they show off their wares at several such events every year, including Galesburg’s own Art in the Park and events in nearby towns like Knoxville.
Anderson, who runs Island Girl Jewelry and will soon be selling her work on Etsy, an online marketplace to sell or buy handmade or vintage items, said that she was happy to return to the art walk, having participated last year. But she lamented the fact that so few people seemed to know about the event. Richardson, who noted that the GCAC did not seem to publicize the event much, echoed the sentiment.
Richardson, who has been making mixed media art all her adult life, said, “It’s a struggle, but we don’t give up here.”
April Jackson, a painter originally from Chicago, also participated in this year’s art walk. Jackson has been prolific in recent years, producing paintings while sandwiched between law offices. She has showcased her work at places like Innkeeper’s Coffee and Stone Alley Books, in addition to her semi-regular art shows, one of which will be taking place this Saturday afternoon at Old City Hall, 161 S. Cherry Street. #106.
Other artists came from farther away, such as Tanya Pshenychny, originally from Kiev, Ukraine, but now based in Peoria, Ill. Pshenychny works in ink and watercolor, and calls her works razorberries, “bittersweet and hard to swallow.” Examples of her work can be found at www.razorberries.com.
In addition to merely being a showcase for the art, attendees were invited to participate in raffles, the prizes for which included a free portrait by Allison Aldrich, another local artist participating in the event.