Two new murals to be debuted during Elgin Art Harvest, a family-friendly, interactive celebration of art

Chicago Tribune 3 weeks ago

Two new murals will be among the highlights of this year’s Art Harvest, the fourth-annual celebration of public art set for Oct. 26 that offers a variety of art-themed activities designed for families.

The free festival on Saturday, Oct. 26, will feature, among other things, an art treasure hunt with prizes, a hay maze and hayrides, pumpkin decorating and arts-and-crafts stations, all of which can be found along DuPage Court.

“Last year, we tried the hay maze and hayride to great success, so those items are returning this year along with our close-up magician,” said Amanda Harris, the city’s cultural arts manager.

In addition to the new murals, visitors will be able to check out three new art-wrapped utility boxes, all of which will be part of the treasure hunt

This year will also mark the last event for the stainless steel “Continuum” sculpture created by Nathan Pierce, a Missouri-based artist. It’s located at the curve on Riverside Drive near Festival Park and will be removed in a couple of weeks, Harris said.

The number of people checking out Art Harvest has grown over the years, with an average attendance of about 450 people, Harris said.

“As the event has gotten a bit bigger each year with new pieces of artwork being added, our attendance has grown,” she said. “People love to have something to bring their families to that is interactive and outdoors. Our first year we had about 300 attendees, last year we were at almost 500.”

The festival was launched four years ago when the city was looking for an interactive way to unveil its first two pieces of public art.

“We wanted to do something that would be kind of an unveiling and be family friendly,” said Harris, noting that a festival-type atmosphere tends to “take away that forced wall of the artist and the artwork.”

It’s also an alternative to the city’s widely popular but more adult-themed “Nightmare on Chicago Street,” a Halloween horror fest that’s held a week earlier.

One of the two new murals, “Raices del Alma,” which translates to “roots of the soul,” was created by Melina Scotte, of Oak Brook Terrace.

Scotte, who started making art when she was 12, has been participating in art exhibitions since 2017.

She is excited for her mural, located at the Spring Street parking deck, to be on display and looks forward to watching people interact with it, she said.

The colorful piece, which took about two-and-a-half-weeks to complete, represents the tradition, experience and history of the Latin culture. Her artwork is mostly inspired by people, her surroundings, colors and music, she said.

“I am really happy” with how the piece turned out and it’s role in the art fest, she said. “I actually enjoy it a lot, the whole process. I enjoy the experience (of seeing) how people enjoy it.”

Andrea Jablonski, of Chicago, is the creator of the other new mural, named “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Poppies, Blue Bubbles.”

This burst of color is painted under the Highland Avenue Bridge along the river walk. Because the water levels have been so high lately, the mural is only about 90% complete, she said.

“I liked the idea of painting something a little more unique,” Jablonski said. “It was definitely a challenging location.”

She created the piece in honor of the history of the Fox River and its significance to the Elgin area, she said. The red poppies in the mural are meant as a salute to military vets.

“There definitely are a lot of veterans in the area and I wanted to make people aware there is a veteran community (in Elgin), and we should be grateful to them for serving and give a little nod to them once in a while,” Jablonski said. “For the most part it is a very colorful mural that really brightens up that area, for sure.”

Jennifer Fukala, executive director Downtown Neighborhood Association, said area businesses will be open during the fest and welcoming trick-or-treaters. Organizers encourage those who come out to dress up in Halloween costumes.

“I think it’s great we have a kid- and family-friendly event in downtown,” Fukala said. “It has gained popularity over the years. We want to make downtown Elgin fun and inclusive for families and kids.”

The event’s main area is at DuPage Court near Al’s Café in downtown Elgin with the art scattered around the downtown area. Maps will be available for those who want to take a walking tour.

For more information about the event, go to cityofelgin.org/2267/Art-Harvest.

Amanda Marrazzo is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.


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