Barrington's Art in the Barn marks 45 years of benefiting Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

  • Sharon Vogel, left, has chaired Art in the Barn for 20 years and each year she invites Karen Lambert, president of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, to help out in the brat tent, which she gladly obliges.

    Sharon Vogel, left, has chaired Art in the Barn for 20 years and each year she invites Karen Lambert, president of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, to help out in the brat tent, which she gladly obliges. Courtesy of Art in the Barn

 
Updated 9/26/2019 10:04 AM

The iconic Art in the Barn festival -- held on the grounds of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington -- turns 45 this year, and its appeal of blending a juried art show with historic barns continues to draw crowds.

"Just the fact that we've lasted this long, as an all-volunteer festival, is pretty amazing," says Sharon Vogel of Fox River Grove.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Patrons find fine art displayed against the rustic planks of these original farm buildings, like the upper barn shown here.
Patrons find fine art displayed against the rustic planks of these original farm buildings, like the upper barn shown here. - Courtesy of Art in the Barn

Vogel returns this year to co-chair the event with Megan Clarke of Hawthorn Woods. For Vogel, it's her 20th year organizing the two-day event. The unique venue showcases 175 artists spread out across the upper and lower barns, the corn crib, machine shed and mill room.

Art in the Barn takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29, on the hospital grounds. Admission is $5; children are free.

A variety of media -- and artists -- can be found at Art in the Barn.
A variety of media -- and artists -- can be found at Art in the Barn. - Courtesy of Art in the Barn

"I love art and I love the community aspect of (Art in the Barn)," Vogel says. "I wanted to be a part of something that contributes to the hospital, and this was something I could do."

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As a Barrington area Realtor, Vogel brings her wide network of contacts to the festival and her knack for art and design.

Under her leadership, the barns -- and the setting -- are decorated for fall, with haystacks, cornstalks, mums and pumpkins, making the visit as much about spending a day in the country as it is about taking in art.

"We have so much fun decorating the grounds before the show," Vogel says.

Vogel is a longtime member of the hospital's Volunteer Auxiliary, which continues to organize the festival. Auxiliary members rely on some 400 community volunteers who help out o- site during the event.

Brady Blust, 9, of Lake Barrington and his brother Cole, 6, paint during last year's Art in the Barn festival on the grounds of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington.
  Brady Blust, 9, of Lake Barrington and his brother Cole, 6, paint during last year's Art in the Barn festival on the grounds of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. - Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer, 2018

A group of 10 women conceived the idea of using the historic barns -- once owned by Quaker Oats as part of its research farm and donated to the hospital in 1973 -- as a venue to showcase fine art set against the rustic barn walls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Right from the start, it just took off," Vogel says. "It added some culture to our area and became a family-oriented, community event."

Children's activities have grown at the event, starting with hands-on painting activities. Youngsters can paint on easels, as well as decorate pumpkins. They also can have their faces painted before taking in the petting zoo.

As the years went on, auxiliary members added live entertainment that plays out on a stage in the middle of the barns. It features benches made of haystacks and is located within proximity to their brat tent, which organizers say is a popular draw all its own.

Children can try their hand at painting in a special tent designed to spark their creativity.
Children can try their hand at painting in a special tent designed to spark their creativity. - Courtesy of Art in the Barn

Look for local celebrities to man the grills, including Karen Lambert, president of the hospital, and a new beer and wine tent located in the same area.

"We've never had beer and wine before," Vogel says, "but so many people at the brat tent asked us where the beer was that we decided to try offering it this year."

The brats are so popular that last year the food tent alone raised more than $10,000 of the nearly $85,000 raised. Approximately half of those proceeds are set aside for scholarships for students pursuing careers in the health care field, while the rest is earmarked for improvements to the hospital.

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45th annual Art in the Barn festival

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29

Where: Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital grounds, 450 W. Route 22, Barrington

Cost: $5 at the gate, free for children younger than 12; no pets

Details: www.artinthebarn-barrington.com

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