Community Corner: A thank you and an opportunity

By on March 6, 2014

by Maria Dripps-Paulson
Executive director, Kaneland Arts Initiative

The fifth annual Kaneland Arts Initiative Fine Arts Feast, held on Feb. 21, was by all accounts a resounding success. Approximately $5,000 was raised by the guests attending the event, as well as individuals interested in becoming arts patrons of the organization.

Highlights of the evening were the announcement of the summer musical, “Once Upon a Mattress,” performances by Diane McFarlin, Trisha Mills and Tom Kirkland. And the awarding of many raffle and silent auction items.

Special performances were given by Matthew (11) and Zachary (8) Uzarraga who began their theatre careers in Kaneland Arts Initiative productions and now are acting and modeling professionally in the area. Zachary this past fall portrayed Tam in the Paramount Theatre (Aurora) production of “Miss Saigon” and received rave reviews. In 2013, Matthew performed in the Jeff Award nominated musical “Oliver!” at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook, Ill. Matthew can be seen as Gavroche in Drury Lane’s upcoming performance of “Les Miserables” from March to June.

The Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) would like to extend a genuine and heartfelt thanks to chef Greg Slager, his family, and the Open Range Southwest Grill Restaurant located in the Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove. For five years, chef Greg has donated the dinner, as well as the use of the beautiful Pine Room, at no cost to the Kaneland Arts Initiative, making the evening truly 100 percent profit for the Kaneland Arts Initiative. KAI would like to encourage families and individuals to support the Open Range Southwest Grill restaurant by enjoying a meal at the wonderful, family-owned business.

As KAI begins to prepare for the 15th annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival on Sunday, April 13, it is pleased to announce a new partnership with Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation (CCWF) of Geneva. Artists and their families in the Kaneland School District are encouraged to participate in the Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation art contest. CCWF is a not-for-profit organization that provides public awareness and education, professional education, parent and caregiver psycho-social support groups and services, and related children’s sessions and materials, on empathy, positive communications and strong relationships. The CCWF mission is for every child and adolescent to be supported by a caring network of parents, caregivers and professionals within loving, non-violent families and peaceful communities.

CCWF, in partnership with KAI, is pleased to announce the Changing Children’s Worlds art contest. The purpose of this contest is to collect quality artwork that represents the International Child Development Foundation guidelines that are the central principles of the CCWF mission. All students in the Kaneland School District are encouraged to enter this contest. Artwork submitted will be judged by a panel of representatives from CCWF and KAI. Eleven pieces will be chosen and become a part of CCWF’s permanent art collection. Artwork will be displayed at the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival, and winning students will be recognized at an upcoming School Board meeting. Full details can be found on the KAI website,

Editor’s note
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