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updated: 8/18/2013 5:55 PM

Thousands turn out for Arlington Heights art festival

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  • Steve Suvada, of Park Ridge, plays classical guitar for the crowds Sunday during the annual A Walk in the Park art fair in Arlington Heights.

       Steve Suvada, of Park Ridge, plays classical guitar for the crowds Sunday during the annual A Walk in the Park art fair in Arlington Heights.
    Dave Dvorak | Staff Photographer

  • A birdbath made from recycled and repurposed glass was among the items on display at artist Pamela Pence's booth during the annual A Walk in the Park art fair Arlington Heights Sunday.

       A birdbath made from recycled and repurposed glass was among the items on display at artist Pamela Pence's booth during the annual A Walk in the Park art fair Arlington Heights Sunday.
    Dave Dvorak | Staff Photographer

 
 

As a child, John Challand used to look at metal machine parts and see something interesting -- a bird's head, or a pair of eyes.

Years later, he decided to take what he saw in his imagination and create it in the real world. So he gathered pieces of scrap metal from old farm equipment and began making sculptures.

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People not only liked the finished products, they also wanted to buy them. Now he brings his sculptures -- which look like birds and other creatures -- to six or seven art shows a year.

"I never really did anything with art growing up," Challand said Sunday. "But when I started making these, people said I had an eye for this kind of thing. That gave me the confidence to do more, so here I am."

Challand, who lives in Malta, near DeKalb, was one of dozens of artists who displayed and sold their work Sunday during the 42nd annual A Walk in the Park art festival, held in North School Park in downtown Arlington Heights.

The event, organized by the Arlington Heights Art Guild, featured artists from all over the region. The work on sale covered multiple styles and mediums, including sculpture, watercolor paintings, photography, woodworking and more.

Artist Gary Weber, of Roselle, displayed a number of his wood-based works, including a series of unique banks made with vintage doors from post office boxes.

Weber said he buys the doors, some of which date back to the 19th century, from collectors and other dealers. Then he uses wood to create a small bank around the door. Besides art fairs, he also sells the banks and other art work at his Etsy marketplace website, boxnmor.etsy.com.

"People love to buy these as gifts," Weber said Sunday. "And there's a big market for those old doors. Lots of people collect them."

The festival ran all day Sunday, and crowds were bustling as soon as it opened at 10 a.m. Organizers predicted that between 2,000 and 3,000 people would visit.

"I try to come each year," Arlington Heights resident Mary Hyland said. "Sometimes I'll buy something, sometimes not. But it's fun to see the different things that people make."

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