by Mary Parrilli; Photos by Patti Wilk
KANELAND—The 14th installment of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival was held Sunday afternoon at Kaneland High School.
The festival is the only one of its kind in the state of Illinois. Sponsored by the School District, the festival offers free public performances and art displays, and operates outside of regular school hours.
This year there were a number of performing artists in the school auditorium, including the Maud Powell String Quartet, the Waubonsee Community College Steel Band, an a capella group named Acappellago, an opera singer named Margaret Fox, and the M & M Dance Company.
In addition to the auditorium, there were also performances in the pavilion. The Cubs Dixieland Band, Kaneland String Ensemble, Bethlehem Brass, and Common Taters Square Dance Band also performed their talents.
Visual artists showcased their work throughout the festival, as well. 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: Nicole Grossman, Brandi Norton, Manuel Tapia and Danielle Wylie.
In the auditorium lobby was an artist showcase for Kaneland alumni. The featured artist was Elburn resident Megan Cline, who is a junior at the Art Institute in Chicago.
“I’ve stayed in contact with some of my Kaneland teachers, and when they heard about the arts festival coming up, they thought, ‘Well how about Megan?’ And they recommended me for the festival,” Cline said.
Cline specializes in printmaking, and uses a technique called photo etching. She also creates relief prints by carving wood and using oil-based ink to create prints. Cline also had on display a sculpture project she created at the Art Institute. The sculpture was of a human rib cage made of twigs and small branches, attached to an undergarment that she carved out of wood.
Among the professional artists on hand was Sue Norris, a potter from Sugar Grove. Norris creates elegant, but functional, salt- and wood-fired pottery. At the festival, she demonstrated her work and also allowed some children in attendance to try their hand at throwing pottery.
Edward C. Cook, a miniaturist, was also on display at the festival. Cook is a painter, but specializes in miniature paintings, which are just what they sound like: very small and detailed paintings. When asked if he had been painting his entire life, Cook responded with “Not yet.”
Cook has always had a knack for painting, but for a long time decided to work in the corporate world. Thirty-two years ago, he decided to make a career change and pursue his artistic talent. He does paintings of all sizes, but specializes in miniature paintings. Cook lives in Batavia and participates in art shows, and has his work in various galleries. He also sells to private buyers.
“If there’s one thing I can tell you about my husband, (it’s) that he is a miniaturist, not a miniature artist,” said Cook’s wife, Janice.
Several other professional artists showcased their hard work and unique talents during the festival, and there were also rows and rows of Kaneland student artwork on display. There were pieces from all grades, K-12, as well as sculptures (paper, foam, wire, metal), collages, mosaics, ceramics and drawings.
One of the works on display was a foam sculpture done by Rhyanna Pettry, a seventh-grader at Harter Middle School. The idea of the project was to pick an adjective and sculpt the word, creating a piece that reflected the student’s affinity the word, as well as why they picked it. Pettry picked the word “draw” because, well, she likes to draw. She added color to the word with paint; underneath the word, she painted a little pencil.
“I like to draw with charcoal the most … I like to draw people. It’s fun to draw them and to capture their movement,” Pettry said. “One time, I drew Albert Einstein, and I drew his hair all crazy. It was fun.”