For 43 years, art lovers have gathered each year for one fall weekend on the grounds of Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington to experience art in many different mediums.
Though much has changed over the years since the event first began, Art in the Barn still brings fine art to the community and serves a philanthropic purpose.
43rd annual Art in the BarnWhat: Juried fine art show
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24
Where: Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital grounds, 450 W. Hwy. 22, Barrington
Admission: $5; free for ages 11 and younger; no pets allowed
This year's event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24, in and around the old barns on the hospital property. 450 W. Hwy. 22, Barrington.
The event is expected to draw more than 5,000 visitors to check out the 175 artists exhibiting their works in various mediums, including oil, watercolor, pastel, decoupage, drawing, acrylics, alcohol ink, fiber, glass, photography, digital media, jewelry, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, scratchboard, wood and mixed media.
"The event is housed in the huge old barns and corn cribs left on the grounds of Good Shepherd Hospital," said Pam Weinert, publicity chair for Art in the Barn, which is hosted each year by the Auxiliary of Good Shepherd Hospital.
"This really makes the event unique and fun for both the artists and the attendees," she said. "We've been told by many returning artists and patrons that this event is their kick off for the fall season."
The event first began in 1975 as the auxiliary was looking for a way to raise funds for a new hospital in the area.
At the same time, a group of 10 women, artists and craftsmen met in a North Barrington home with hopes of starting a quality art event in the Barrington area, according to the written history of The Auxiliary of Good Shepherd Hospital.
Their goal was to have art for sale at the event, but also to educate the public on what quality work was all about.
Members of the two groups met and joined forces at a luncheon in 1975, and Art in the Barn was born.
The first year it was held in a barn on Highway 22, across from where the new hospital was to be located. Approximately 1,500 people attended.
In 1977, the event moved across the road to a larger, sturdier barn with two levels to host many more local artists.
Over the years, the event continued to grow. The first year, there were about 30 artists on hand. This year, there will be 175.
As the years passed, more and more was added to the event, including crafters and people selling homemade goods in 1978.
Soon, musicians were added, as well as a children's art area.
"Over the years, we've added children's events such as an art tent, face painting and petting zoo," Weinert said. "We also have continuous entertainment provided by local bands and dance troupes. There also is fabulous food for sale that is served in a food court area created between the barns."
But the fine art still remains the focus of the event.
Les Boeder of East Dundee has been attending Art in the Barn for at least 10 years, he says. For the past four years, he's had his oil paintings that feature western scenes, Native Americans, cowboys and horses on display and for sale at the event.
He says the quality of the event keeps bringing him back year after year.
"I love the setting. I love that you get such a large number of people that come through that view your works. It's great exposure," he said.
The event is also a way to experience fine art without having to go too far from home.
"I think there is some really fine work. There's always different people, and the quality of the work is outstanding," he said. "Some of the finest artists out there are here at this event."
Boeder added that he loves the fact that part of the sales of the artwork goes back to the hospital.
The first year, the event raised $1,796.16 for the auxiliary and the hospital. Now it is in the hundreds of thousands.
Over the years, they've raised more than $3 million for the hospital, Weinert said.
Now, the money raised through the event goes to fund scholarships for students pursuing a career in the medical field.
Admission is $5 per person; free for kids ages 12 and younger. For information, visit www.artinthebarn-barrington.com.