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updated: 3/14/2014 8:02 PM

'4th Fridays' brings chic to the suburbs

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  • The Starline Gallery in Harvard hosts "4th Fridays," a monthly art event.

    The Starline Gallery in Harvard hosts "4th Fridays," a monthly art event.
    Courtesy of Nancy Merkling

Josie Mintz

As the long Chicago winter drags on, most of us are looking for ways to combat cabin fever. We want to get out of the house, but with all the snow and the frigid temperatures, outdoor activities may only appeal to the hardiest of souls. Sure, there are things to do in bigger cities like Chicago and Milwaukee; but then you have to consider things like traffic, tolls and parking. So is there any way for suburbanites to beat the winter blahs?

It turns out, the answer to that question is right in our own backyard.

"4th Fridays," a monthly art event at The Starline Gallery in Harvard, has been rapidly growing in popularity and scope for the past 3 years. The event offers a fun and culturally relevant night out, featuring art by established and emerging regional artists, a photography contest exhibit, open Starline artist studios, live music on both floors, light appetizers and a cash bar -- all for a low $5 cover charge.

Each month brings a different art installation design theme, a new featured artist solo exhibit, a different juried art exhibit and photo exhibit and new bands that keep the experience original every time people attend. Nancy Merkling, creator and producer, works tirelessly to keep this trail-blazing event fresh and fun each month without lowering the bar for an elegant night.

Of course, she doesn't do it alone. She explains, "Supporting the arts comes in many forms. The fact that a team of over 70 dedicated volunteers work to put this on every month is a beautiful testimony to the appreciation people have for the arts right here in McHenry county."

Plans for an exciting "4th Fridays" show in March are well underway, with the event expected to draw attendees from as far away as Chicago and parts of Wisconsin, as well as plenty of people from the local suburbs. So with spring right around the corner, why not come out and enjoy a night of art, food and fun?

The next 4th Fridays event will be March 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Starline Gallery, 400 W Front St., Harvard.