Festival of the Arts returns to Libertyville’s Cook Park August 6-7 – Chicago Tribune | Candle Made Easy

More than 60 visual artists will exhibit their work at the 41st Annual Festival of the Arts August 6-7 at Cook Park in downtown Libertyville. The juried art fair is presented by the Adler Arts Center and Chamber of Commerce Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein, Vernon Hills.

The festival starts daily at 10am and ends on August 6th at 9pm and on August 7th at 5pm. The artists will be in the park until 6pm on August 6th. From 11am there is live music and vendors selling groceries until midday.

“We have everything from paintings and colored pencil drawings to jewellery. There’s woodworking, ceramics — a little bit of everything,” said Jena Mertz, program manager at the Adler Arts Center. “We call artists and then a group of staff and board members go through the applications and confirm that this is what the festival wants to be.”

This is the 11th year that Libertyville artist S. Jay Wexler is participating in the Festival of the Arts. “For a medium-sized arts festival, it’s really lively,” he said. “It turned out to be quite a fun activity. There is a beer garden and there is live music, people with children and dogs walk through the park all day long. It makes a lot of fun.”

Wexler described his background as “geological and mineralogical. I’m really into stones and rocks, so I incorporate that into my artwork. Everything is enriched with something natural.”

He had worked with sterling silver to turn these objects into wearable art, but with the rising price of sterling silver, Wexler has recently used copper extensively instead.

“It took me into a whole new medium and it lent itself to a whole different variety of stones,” he noted. “I’ve spent the whole year looking for interesting rocks to work with.”

Wexler creates a variety of different items including pendants, bracelets, rings, tableware, healing crystals, stone guitar picks, arrows, hanging art and more. He will also be selling copies of his book Box of Rocks.

Wexler’s creations range in price from $10 to $70.

“I sell a lot to kids and teens, and I also sell to adults who want a nicer piece of jewelry,” Wexler said. In addition to art fairs, Wexler sells his work at several stores in northern Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as online through Etsy.

This is the third year that jewelry maker Katy Froeter has participated in the festival. “It’s nice that it’s so close to home. I’m going to Pennsylvania, Texas and California,” Fröter said. “I also think it’s put together really well.”

The metalsmith described her pieces as “less ornate and more modern designs”. She will bring earrings, necklaces and rings to the festival. In addition, Froeter will be making permanent bracelets at the festival this year.

“Here you take a little jump ring on site and weld a chain on to someone,” she explained. “It’s trending right now.”

Fröter’s jewelry ranges in price from $30 to $200. She sells her artwork at around 24 art fairs each year, in a few stores in Chicago and one in Indiana, and makes pieces on commission.

Libertyville’s Eli Kopteva, who founded an initiative called United We Art with her 11-year-old daughter Sasha, will sell artworks donated by artists to benefit Ukraine.

“I am an immigrant from Ukraine. My family immigrated in 1996,” said Kopteva. The Adler Art Center donates the space that United We Art will use at the festival.

Kopteva emphasized: “United We Art is not only a Ukrainian initiative. I hope it turns into a community initiative where it engages local artists to donate art to charity,” she said.

At press time, over 30 artists had donated to the initiative, some with multiple pieces. The artworks include crafts, jewelry, embroidery, pottery, photos, watercolors, acrylics, oil paintings, painted stones and more. Children donated craft projects.

Minimum donations range from $5 to $150.

“This is a launch event for United We Art,” said Kopteva. “I hope to be able to work with the Adler Art Center on future events.”

In addition to the artworks, there will be a variety of musical performances throughout the festival. Artists also apply to participate in the event. “We’re taking a look at their online presence and the videos they’re providing to us,” Mertz said. “If we think it’s something that festival-goers will like, we invite them to come.”

The artists that made it are Highland Park Pops, Albion West, Greg Woods, Moon Money, Sneezy, Inversion Jazz Band, Blue Buddha and Joyce Renee Walker.

Grocery vendors include Mamma Mia Pizza, Taco Estilo 312, and Kiki’s Cotton Candy Food Truck. There will also be a food tent.

“It’s a community event,” Mertz explained. “We have a lot of local artists, a lot of local musicians, local food vendors. Everyone comes out to celebrate together.”

41st Annual Festival of the Arts

When: 6th-7th August

Where: Cook Park, 413 N Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville

Tickets: Free admission

Information: 847-367-0707; adlercenter.org/festival-of-the-arts

Myrna Petlicki is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

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