Barrington exploring whether to seek donation for annual art festival

  • Barrington might seek a suggested donation from patrons attending the annual art festival held downtown over Memorial Day weekend. Donations would help festival organizers recover some of the estimated $2,000 it costs to host the event.

      Barrington might seek a suggested donation from patrons attending the annual art festival held downtown over Memorial Day weekend. Donations would help festival organizers recover some of the estimated $2,000 it costs to host the event. Barbara Vitello | Staff Photographer, 2016

 
 
Updated 1/13/2020 5:05 PM

Barrington might seek a suggested donation from patrons attending the village's annual art festival, in an effort to cover expenses for the event.

Set for downtown Barrington from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 23 and 24, over Memorial Day weekend, the 11th annual art festival once again will feature juried artists in a variety of mediums, live music, food and children's activities. Last year's free Barrington Art Festival drew about 8,000 visitors over the two days, according to the village.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Although this year's festival would remain a free event, the Barrington Cultural Commission is exploring whether to seek a $5 suggested contribution at the entrances. The 12-member volunteer commission is a branch of village government that coordinates and co-sponsors activities such as the art fest.

Patty Dowd Schmitz, the village's director of communications and community engagement, said the goal would be to collect enough money to cover the approximately $2,000 that the cultural commission budgeted for the fest. Commission members indicated fest-goers could receive some sort of trinket in exchange for the donation.

"You're not really going to decimate your crowd, right?" Schmitz said of the $5. "If people start feeling like it's not free, then you decimate the crowd."

Cultural commission member Beth Raseman floated the idea of a $500 cash raffle as an inducement to "really encourage donations."

Barrington would join other suburbs in seeking art fest contributions. For example, the long-running Port Clinton Art Festival in downtown Highland Park has a $5 suggested contribution.

In Chicago, the Old Town Art Fair has a $10 per-person suggested donation at the gates, with children free.

At the 2019 Barrington show staged by Amdur Productions, cash prizes were awarded to artists winning best of show, second and third place, along with eight merit awards. Amdur Productions President Amy Amdur called the Barrington fest "a community treasure" before last year's show, which attracted more than 100 artists.

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