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posted: 4/18/2012 8:18 AM

The arts come alive at Kaneland festival

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  • Second-grader Brianna Vestal sits on her dad Don's shoulders to get eye level with her class artwork, a spinner hanging from the Kaneland High School ceiling during a previous Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival. They are from Sugar Grove.

       Second-grader Brianna Vestal sits on her dad Don's shoulders to get eye level with her class artwork, a spinner hanging from the Kaneland High School ceiling during a previous Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival. They are from Sugar Grove.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2010

  • Young dancers with Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl perform onstage during a previous Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival at Kaneland High School. This year's festival is set for Sunday, April 22.

       Young dancers with Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl perform onstage during a previous Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival at Kaneland High School. This year's festival is set for Sunday, April 22.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2010

 
 

Imagine immersing yourself in the visual and performing arts for an entire day.

Taking a workshop on glass fusing, mime performance or caricature drawing.

Watching a band or comedy troupe. Seeing an artist create a new piece right before your eyes.

Now, imagine this is all free and right here in Kane County.

This vision became reality in 1998 when a former Kaneland Community Unit District 302 superintendent and a teacher created the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival.

Now in its 13th year, the all-day celebration of the arts offers something many school-based festivals don't -- professional performing and visual artists, in addition to student work.

The festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at Kaneland High School, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park.

"There are other events that happen throughout the year, but this is our biggest," said Maria Dripps-Paulson, a former Kaneland teacher and band director who organizes the festival. "Best of all, it's all free."

New this year is a Barn Quilt workshop, led by siblings Laura VanGemert and Steve Mockus.

"Barn quilts are eight-by-eight-foot decorative squares on a barn," Dripps-Paulson said. "Since we originated as a rural community, we thought this would be a fun workshop."

Mockus and VanGemert, whose work adorns a barn on Green Street in Elburn, have created a barn quilt to auction off at the festival, and students will have an opportunity to help create another.

Other workshops include glass fusing, caricatures, face painting and balloon animals, a mime company in the black box theater, and Brightest Stars Music with Amy Peters.

In the pavilion, 17 visual artists will exhibit their work and create new pieces in front of visitors' eyes. Everything from jewelry to sculpture to pottery will be on display and available for purchase.

Student work will be featured and auctioned off as well.

"We will have a visual timeline with a piece of work from each grade (kindergarten through high school senior)," to show how students learn and grow in their art classes in District 302, Dripps-Paulson said.

Those who would rather relax and watch performances can do so in the auditorium or pavilion, where the lineup includes Banjo Buddies, a barbershop quartet, the Mime Company, an instrumental band and a few comedy troupes.

For the younger set, a pre-K Art Experience takes place all day, featuring visitors from area libraries and a preschool.

It takes a lot of work to put on a festival of this size, and Dripps-Paulson is grateful to the more than 100 volunteers who donate their time and efforts.

"We expect 3,000 visitors," Dripps-Paulson said.

For a complete schedule of events, visit kanelandartsfestival.org or call (630) 365-5100, ext. 180.

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