Kaneland Fine Arts Festival exhibits artistic integrity, creativity at the local level

By on April 25, 2013

The 14th annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF) was held on Sunday, exhibiting a diverse collection of local artists and performers. As always, the festival was successful in its goal to bring out community members for an afternoon and expose them to a smorgasbord of artistic styles—from glass fusing, caricature drawing and oil painting to acrylic, digital and silhouette art. You name it, it was probably on display at Kaneland High School last Sunday. And that’s not even taking into account the visual performers who make up a considerable portion of the festival lineup.

The Fine Arts Festival exists thanks to former KHS art teacher Bonnie Whildin, who in 1985 came up with the idea of providing the Kaneland community with an opportunity to experience the arts in an interactive setting, absolutely free of charge.

That dream took 13 years to come to fruition, but in May 1998, the inaugural Fine Arts Festival event took place at Kaneland South Elementary School (now Kaneland John Shields), with around 200 people in attendance for the two-hour event.

To say that the Fine Arts Festival has grown since then would be quite an understatement. Close to 30 professional artists and performers were slated to participate in this year’s gala. Over 3,000 people were expected to attend the event, which is now seven hours in length.

Elburn Herald reporter Mary Parrilli attended the festival; her experience documented in the story on page 1A of this week’s issue.

“Visual artists showcased their work throughout the festival, as well,” Parrilli wrote. “There were professional artists with installments in the pavilion, and some with work being displayed and auctioned at the entrance. There was a separate section called the Kaneland Senior Art Gallery, displaying art created by four KHS seniors.”

This year also marked the debut of KCFAF’s Artist in Residence program, featuring the creative 3D work of Chicago painter/photographer Eric Nye.

“It was a lovely festival,” said KCFAF Executive Director Maria Dripps-Paulson. “This year, every aspect of the festival—the performances, the visual artists, the student artwork, and the volunteers—seemed to be of extremely high quality.”

If you haven’t attended a Fine Arts Festival event, we suggest you consider doing so next spring. A staggering amount of planning and preparation goes into the festival each year, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more driven, enthusiastic bunch than the Fine Arts Festival Committee. Never mind the fact that the festival is an ideal opportunity for professional artists—many of whom are local—to display their one-of-a-kind art.

“From a backstage perspective, all of the volunteers, staff and planning committee worked together as a cohesive unit,” Dripps-Paulson said. “I talked to each professional visual artist before they left, and the constant comment was how amazingly organized and smooth everything ran thanks to the very friendly and helpful volunteers. I was very pleased.”

Not nearly as pleased as we are to have the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival in our backyard