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updated: 3/6/2015 1:38 PM

Join activities for Kaneland Fine Arts Festival

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Submitted by Kaneland Arts Initiative

As Kaneland Arts Initiative prepares for the 16th annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival, they invite the Kaneland community to take part in several opportunities.

• The Changing Children's World Foundation is partnering with families in the Kaneland Unit District 302 for its annual Changing Children's World Foundation Art Contest. The foundation is a nonprofit organization which provides public awareness/education, parent/caregiver psychosocial support groups and services and related children's sessions/materials on empathy, positive communications and strong relationships. The purpose of this contest is to collect quality artwork that represents the guidelines that center around its mission. All students in Kaneland Unit District 302 are encouraged to enter. Artwork will be judged by a panel from the foundation and the Kaneland Arts initiative and winning pieces will become a part of the Changing Children's World Foundation permanent art collection. All participants will be recognized in a special ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, April 12, at the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival and later in the year at a Kaneland board of education meeting.

The deadline for submission is Wednesday, March 11, to the Kaneland Art Faculty in each building. If you have a student in the district and would like to participate, click on the "16th Annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival" on the KAI website, www.kanelandartsinitiative.org.

• This year, the Kaneland Arts Initiative will introduce the 2015 Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival Featured Artist. The purpose of designating a featured artist is to commission a piece of art that represents Kaneland Arts Initiative through the artist's specific medium. The artwork created will become a permanent part of the Kaneland Unit District 302 professional art gallery and will be used for promotional material such as the festival T-shirt as well as the poster and program design.

This year's featured artist is Christopher Hodge. Starting with sketches and very loose pencil lines, Hodge prefers to render his art work in ink, due to the high level of commitment that ink requires. Once a line in ink is placed, there is no turning back, and if a mistake is made one must find a way to either cover the line, or incorporate it. This allows for his artwork to evolve as he creates it.

"I believe the imagination to be a dreamlike, fuzzy thing, and it isn't able to be defined until it is born into some form of creation."

Hodge started his art education at Waubonsee Community College, and continued his studies at North Central College where he received a bachelor in art education. Hodge is currently an art teacher in the Midwest. He also holds a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, and a master's in educational leadership and administration from North Central College.

The work, titled "Imagination Machine," is the shirt, poster, and program design for the April 12 festival. Special edition 2015 Festival T-shirts are available for purchase now for $20. An order form can be found on the Kaneland Arts Initiative website, www.kanelandartstinitiative.org. If you do not have a student in the school district, mail your form and money to KAI, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park, IL 60151. The artist will be present to autograph shirts.

• To help get the word out about this piece of art, Kaneland Arts Initiative and the local libraries have partnered together to create a coloring contest for students from preschool through high school. The artwork to be colored is Chris Hodge's "Imagination Machine." Students can print out the coloring page from the KAI website, color it, and turn it in to their public library. The libraries will choose winners of various ages and the Kaneland Arts Initiative will display the winning coloring pages at the festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 12.

More information on the festival will be posted at www.kanelandartsinitiative.org as it becomes available.