This year, Knox students’ first weekend back at college was marked with a chance to get out into the Galesburg community.
The 25th annual Art in the Park was celebrated in Standish Park on Sept. 10 and featured over 40 booths of unique works. However, some artists expressed concern about the long-term prospects for such festivals — and even their own artwork.
George Bedeian has been making jewelry using the “lost wax casting” technique since the 70s. He worried, however, that the art is slowly dying.
“We’re not getting enough young people involved in this type of creativity,” he said.
Bedeian noted that many of his friends had begun to retire, but “I don’t see too many young people taking their place.”
Lost wax casting involves creating a mold out of wax and then filling the shape with silver. Because the wax is destroyed in the process, every piece is unique.
Bedeian learned the technique while serving on an army base, but doesn’t have resources to teach the technique him, since his work requires traveling full-time between art shows. He indicated this is true for many artists in fields similar to his.
Despite his concern, Bedeian loved his work.
“I kind of have a hard time parting with them,” he said about his pieces.
The Galesburg Civic Art center, which organized Art in the Park, may have helped to encourage young artists by sponsoring a contest for local high school and college artists.
Participants submitted artwork in a variety of media and visitors could vote on their favorite.
For now, at least, Art in the Park is still flourishing and the numerous vendors saw heavy foot traffic much of the day.
Many Knox students were also involved in the event. Student dancers put on a small performance and then helped out with children’s events, while the Knox College Cherry Street Combo provided music throughout the afternoon. Others volunteered to help staff the event itself.
“This is my first year [at Knox] and I wanted to volunteer,” freshman Kate Suits said; who worked at the show. “I love art fairs. It’s different here from all the others but … it’s still the same kind of friendly artist atmosphere.”
One booth always surrounded by a large audience featured an artist who made elaborate pictures out of spray paint.
He made his artwork in front of viewer’s eyes, creating colorful skylines that frequently featured overly large planets and the silhouettes of cities.
“I could stand here for the entirety of Art in the Park,” junior Alicia Niles said. “I always come back for this.”
Other students simply appreciated the chance to spend time in the larger Galesburg community.
“Standish Park is a good place for these kinds of things,” senior Casey Samoore said. “Students who say nothing happens in Galesburg can’t say that if they see this across the street.”