Photos by Julia Jacobs/Daily Senior Staffer
Captured: Evanston artists show work at Fountain Square Art Festival
June 29, 2015
More than 150 artists from around the country converged on Sherman Avenue and Church Street in downtown Evanston on Saturday and Sunday for the 36th annual Fountain Square Art Festival, the largest art fair of its kind in the North Shore. Although artists flock from both coasts — and some from overseas — several of the festival’s artists are Evanston’s own. Elaine Kemna-Irish, executive director of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, said organizers try to build up Evanston representation at the festival each year in the hope of developing a close-knit society of artists in the city. Last year, to further entice locals, the chamber started offering a 25 percent discount on booths for Evanston artists, Kemna-Irish said. “It really makes people who come to the festival understand that they could be part of it too,” she said.
After a two-decade career in architecture, during which she worked on Chicago projects such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, Evanston resident Nancy Desmond decided to go back to school for painting. Five years after getting her degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Desmond said she uses her background in architecture to inspire her artwork but appreciates the freedom painting allows her — without specific projects, client demands or rules of design. “You can do anything you want with painting,” Desmond said. “Also, paintings never leak.”
Cheryl Casden, an employee at Evanston’s Bottle and Bottega, works with a young festival-goer to add to the fair’s community mural. Bottle and Bottega, an art-and-wine event store at 1016 Davis St., set up a workshop at the festival where anyone could contribute to four different depictions of the city’s historic Grosse Pointe Lighthouse.
One of the four parts of the mural featured the use of different materials, such as tissue paper and rhinestones, to portray the lighthouse. Each section of the mural captured the landmark with inspiration from a different artistic movement: Realism, cubism, impressionism and multimedia.
A desire to make Japanese sword fittings led Evanston resident Omniobadiah Mee to take a continuing education class in jewelry-making at Evanston Township High School over a decade ago. Now, Mee’s life revolves around metals: he spends his days at a bronze foundry working with furniture and his nights making original jewelry and clothing.
Mee forges most of his jewelry with a hammer and often incorporates everyday metals such as keys and coins. One of Mee’s rarer pieces is a metal cocktail dress, which took him about 120 hours to make and is on sale for $8,000.
Photographers Jerry Alt (left) and Annette Patko pitched their tent at the festival only one mile away from their Evanston storefront, called Bordeaux Studio. Patko said her photographic passion lies in shooting portraits and food, while Alt has traveled to remote places such as Cuba and the Galapagos Islands to capture nature up close.
Art is a “family affair” for Katherine Eiff, who collaborates with her mother Stephanie Eiff in their beaded jewelry business. Although Katherine Eiff is an Evanston native and her mother lives in Tucson, Arizona, she said they manage to see each other about eight times each year to create their work and show it at festivals. “We’re business partners and best friends,” Eiff said about her mother. “My communication with her is much stronger, my bond with her is much stronger.”