Kaneland celebrates 15th Fine Arts Festival

By on April 17, 2014

Photos: The Kaneland Arts Initiative celebrated its 15th annual Fine Arts Festival on Sunday at Kaneland High School. The event boasted a wealth of professional artists, musicians, dancers and actors. Peter Thaddeus (right) creates an acrylic work of art to add to those displayed around him. Peter has a B.A. in interior design from the Illinois Institute of Art. He not only creates acrylic paintings, but enjoys teaching others to do the same. Potter Earl Heinz (below) works with McDole second-grader Gianna Walgren to create a clay masterpiece. Photos by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—More than 500 Kaneland School District art pieces were on display at the Kaneland Arts Initiative’s 15th annual Fine Arts Festival on Sunday.

The festival also had a variety of professional artists, musicians, dancers and actors. According to Maria Dripps-Paulson, executive director of KAI, about 2,500 attended the arts gala, held at Kaneland High School.

“There’s always something new. And always something fun,” Dripps-Paulson said.

The event showed art in the hallway, around the corner and in the pavillion, aka cafeteria.
Gloria Elliott, a fifth-grader at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School, during the festival walked to a display table and pointed out her artistic creation. Elliott, a Maple Park resident, had made a little lavender with blue specks dragon sculpture with thin wings flapped out.

She said it was cool to be able to show her work.

“People actually get to see what you’ve made,” Elliott said. “It just makes you feel really happy to see it.”

Kaneland parent Chris Wimberger, a Sugar Grove resident, expressed his appreciation for the festival.

“We have, I think, just a mix of everybody—diverse backgrounds and different cultures,” he said. “Seeing all that come together in the form of art is just amazing.”

Dylan Good Trio took center stage in the dark auditorium during the Fine Arts Festival. Good, a Kaneland High School graduate, was featured as the fest’s Kaneland Alumni Spotlight.

The trio included Good on drums, Dan Lopatka on bass and Mike Lockler on electric guitar. Together they blended jazzy, mellow and cool sounds with a beating drum pulse.

Autumn Ross, a KHS sophomore, had an art piece that stood out during the arts festival. From afar it gave the appearance of a colorless drawing with eyebrows, wide almond-shaped eyes and thick, curved lashes, with the bottom of her eyes showing diamond-shaped tears.

A closer look showed no tears but rather fingers gripping, clutching.

“It’s creepy,” said Kim Yost, a Sugar Grove resident.

Paul Quitno of Rochelle, Ill., approved of Ross’ artwork.

“That’s very artistic,” Quitno said. “Very creative.”

The pavillion came alive with professional artists doing their crafts. The Kaneland Youth Orchestra serenaded those in attendance with slow tunes.

Lawrence J. Cimaglio did a glass-fusing demonstration during the festival. He rolled glass in a flame, then he blew the end of the glass and it bubbled to become a Christmas ornament.

Lee Chulwoo provided Korean calligraphy, dipping his brush in black ink and painting characters on thin, white Korean paper made of rice.

Breanna Roberts, a John Stewart Elementary School student, smiled as she watched her name written in the calligraphy.

“I’ve never seen something in Korean,” she said.

Greta Bell, a modern oil painting artist, peddled on a red bike and powered a colorful carousel, an “r/evolving circus.”

As the carousel moved, it showed vivid painted canvases. Painted pictures included a chandelier, teddy bear and cassette. Each picture represents a submitted story that Bell turned into art.

Natasha Lehrer pumped her feet up and down on treadles of a spinning wheel. She used a mix of wool and angora to create yarn.

“It brought back memories,” onlooker Martin Perez said. “It brought me back to my childhood and growing up with my great-grandparents, helping them do the same thing (Lehrer’s) doing here. So it’s an emotional thing.”

Meanwhile, Michael Shiroda, caricature artist, created standout caricatures of posed attendees, making exaggerated facial features. His tool of choice was a Caran d’Ache Fixpencil. He smudged the art with a blending stump.

“It creates a little bit more depth,” Shiroda said.

Hix Bros. Ukulele Ensemble brought in the tropical singing and ukulele sounds of Hawaii. Dancers smiled and moved hands gracefully.

People from C.AK.E. Village, an African cultural, visual and performing arts center, had volunteers on the auditorium stage as drums sounded like a party happening.

Dancers from The Barefoot Hawaiian, a professional dance troop, did hula dancing. As the lights turned off, one tossed a glowing fire-like stick and circled it round and round to the sound of a beating drum.

Michael McCormack, a junior at KHS and member of the school’s Science Club, helped students make harmonicas out of popsicle sticks, tiny straws and rubber bands.

Leah DeClue, 10, a Shabbonah, Ill., resident, used the harmonica to create a sound she described as “weird.”

“I think it’s actually interesting because I’ve never seen anything made out of popsicle sticks,” DeClue said.

KHS Art Club members painted dragons and black cats on childrens’ cheeks. One child walked around while sporting a full-faced tiger.

Art Club members also twisted balloons into pink swords and yellow and red flowers with green stems.

Brianna Silva, a sixth-grader at Kaneland Harter Middle School, participated in an acting workshop through Avenue J Studios. She pinpointed what made the festival “a great one.”

“Probably being able to just let my personality go,” Silva said. “When we were doing charades, I didn’t have to hold back on what I was going to say or what I was going to do. I just got to do it and got to have fun in that moment.”