Arts fair brings out Evanston community downtown

Audrey Cheng

The 33rd annual Fountain Square Art Festival was held on Saturday and Sunday, benefitting the Evanston Chamber of Commerce.

The event, centered around Church Street and Sherman Avenue, featured works-paintings, sculptures, jewelry, woodwork, mixed media-of more than 225 artists.

There was also live jazz, food vendors and art activities for children. Michigan-based artist Robert Myrvall sold wood furnishings for his sixth year at the festival. Myrvall said he and his wife design and create the furnishings on their own, and sell their work at various art fairs around the Midwest and East Coast.

“The art fair has always been pretty good, but it’s gotten a little bit light this time,” Myrvall said. “I don’t know what it is, but money is not really coming out today.”

Sculptor Kevin Heekin had better luck, and said it had been a “good year.” While money is the ultimate reason he comes to art shows, Heekin said he is really able to sense the appreciation Evanston residents have for art. The artist of 20 years has been selling sculptures at the festival for eight years.

“The college certainly helps people,” Heekin said. “They’re educated and it usually makes good ground.”

Over the years, the festival has “won acclaim as one of the most prestigious art festivals in the Midwest” and is the “largest and oldest juried fine arts fair on Chicago’s North Shore,” according to the city website.

Evanston residents Brad Cote and Deb McMahon, who have been attending the festival for four years, said they went to the festival as one of their first dates a few years ago. McMahon said this year, they saw works at the festival they hadn’t seen anywhere else.

“We go to the art festival in Highland Park or Clinton Art Festival, but we just saw the puzzle guy,” Cote said. “Some things (here) are very, very different.”

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