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posted: 10/26/2017 5:13 AM

'Wrapped in Art' project approved in Libertyville

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  • Residents two years ago "yarn bombed" the covered walkway in downtown Highland Park. A similar community art project using colorful yarn has been approved for downtown Libertyville.

    Residents two years ago "yarn bombed" the covered walkway in downtown Highland Park. A similar community art project using colorful yarn has been approved for downtown Libertyville.
    Courtesy of Beth McLaughlin

  • One of the "yarn bombed" pieces that covered a walkway in downtown Highland Park two years ago. A similar project is planned in Libertyville.

    One of the "yarn bombed" pieces that covered a walkway in downtown Highland Park two years ago. A similar project is planned in Libertyville.
    Courtesy of Beth McLaughlin

 
 

Knitting needles are at the ready for a community art project that will blanket downtown Libertyville with a colorful covering of yarn early next year.

Logistics of the "Wrapped in Art" project still are being determined, as organizers begin to enlist interested knitters, crocheters, students, residents and others in advance of the "yarnstorm."

Under the plan, the artwork would be installed in February on light poles, benches, trees and elsewhere and remain through March, which is Fine Arts Month in Libertyville. The likely location is two blocks along Milwaukee Avenue, the main business corridor downtown, but the artwork also could appear in other commercial areas of the village.

"We'll decide the details of what it's all going to mean," said Amy Williams, chair of the village's newly created fine arts commission.

The commission, at its first meeting Monday, recommended approval of the proposal by resident and artist Beth McKenna. The village board followed suit Tuesday and approved the use of village property.

"We're all aligned," said Trustee Donna Johnson. "We want it to be beautiful."

In both reviews, there were questions and considerations, such as how the coverings will look after weeks of harsh weather conditions and if a more temperate season might be better. But each ultimately gave the concept an enthusiastic thumbs-up, expecting it to brighten a dreary time of year and engage the community in a fun activity.

"I want this in February and March," said fine arts Commissioner Barry Reszel. "I don't want this in summer. It will be gorgeous, so let's figure out how to do it."

Beth Schrag, an associate of McKenna, gave an overview for the village board.

"The idea is to decorate public areas with yarn. It could be anything. Everybody in the community will be welcome to join us," she said.

A chief concern is how yarn wrappings would look after weeks of winter weather, snow and salt. Schrag said acrylic yarn, which doesn't bleed and is inexpensive, will solve that problem.

McKenna's suggestion is to install the wrappings just before the annual Let's Wine About Winter event in mid-February, but the schedule will be at the discretion of the commission. A regular review of the wrappings to ensure they remain aesthetically pleasing also was a condition of the approval.

The long lead time is needed to create the coverings. Williams and Schrag will be putting out the call for participants

"We're starting up a Facebook page and organizing knit-ins," Schrag said. "We need to start early."

Susan Lutz Kenyon, founding president of the Crocheters of the Lakes chapter of the Crochet Guild of America, attended both meetings. The group has 60 members, and she said she is fairly sure they will want to participate.

The Lake County KTOG, a knitting and crochet group that meets Tuesday nights at Panera in Libertyville, also is interested, according to Jen Speer, who was at the commission meeting.

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