Thousands turn out for fine arts fest

By on April 15, 2011

Photo: Visitors to the 2011 Kaneland Fine Arts Fest Sunday were treated to hundreds of pieces of art, and were even invited to add their own. A gallery will load below the story. Photo by Ben Draper

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Another year, another successful display of visual and performing arts by the Kaneland community.

The 12th annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF) was held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and offered glass, dance and painting workshops, various artists and performance ensembles to an audience that ranged from first-time viewers to highly experienced art spectators. Approximately 3,000 people attended the Fine Arts Festival this year.

The great weather this weekend probably didn’t hurt the crowd turnout, either.

“I was so pleased with this year’s festival. The weather held up, and many people came (to the event) for the very first time,” KCFAF Executive Director Maria Dripps-Paulson said. “I think that having great publicity pre-event led to many people coming to check us out. The festival was also a success because it’s free, which fits perfectly into many families’ budget these days. I simply love seeing people of every age group immersing themselves in the fine arts.”

Performance art on display during the festival included a hands-on workshop featuring the AMEBA Acrobatic and Aerial Dance Company. Visual forms of art, including pencil art, watercolors and calligraphy, were also demonstrated during the event, which was held at Kaneland High School.

The Fine Arts Festival is just a part of the artistically driven month of April in the Kaneland community. The KCFAF Juried Art Show, in its third year, is on display at the Sugar Grove Library all month long. The Juried Art Show features 18 artists and over 50 works of art.

Despite the success of this year’s Fine Arts Festival, Dripps-Paulson said she’d like to improve a few aspects of the event.

“I feel like we need to re-evaluate the performing artist part of the festival,” she said. “I heard a lot of comments like, ‘I didn’t even get to see the performers,’ which doesn’t make me happy for the performers. Some festival-goers are also torn between seeing pavilion performers and auditorium performers. Maybe we simply need to work on tweaking the schedule more.”

Dripps-Paulson also said performing artists are at more of a disadvantage than visual artists during the festival.

“Audiences kind of dabble and walk around all the artists, and you can walk up to an artist and in five or 10 minutes, be happy with your interaction and then walk out. But if you do that for a performing artist, well, it’s kind of insulting,” she said. “And you’re not really seeing their performance.”

The performing arts do not stop when the Fine Arts Festival ends, however, as there is a festival performance series that is featured year-round at the high school. The next performing event is “Bye Bye Birdie,” which will be a summer theatre production. Auditions will begin in May, with two weekend performances in July.

“We’ve pulled out a whole festival series that goes year-round to honor the performers so that there aren’t people walking in and out of their performance,” Dripps-Paulson said.