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Art show a colorful staple in St. Charles

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Nancy Wrobel of Winfield says one of her favorite times of the year is the Memorial Day weekend which includes making a pilgrimage to St. Charles for the city’s annual art show.

“I love this. I’ve been here every year, I think. Come Memorial Day weekend we go to the art fair here,” she said Saturday. “I like hanging art – more sculpture kinds of things as opposed to paintings. The people we meet here are always super-friendly, super-informative and they have a lot of nice stuff.”

Beginning Saturday at 10 a.m., the 26th annual St. Charles Fine Art Show returned to Riverside Avenue and Main Street in the city’s downtown. The show is organized by the St. Charles Business Alliance and sponsored by the local Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealership.

The show is scheduled to continue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

This year’s event features about 100 artists from around the country offering art items in a variety of mediums.

St. Charles Business Alliance Executive Director Jenna Sawicki said artists representing “Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Florida, California and Colorado” and more are in attendance at the event.

“This is a juried show and about 30% of them are new this year,” she said of the artists. “We’re always trying to bring in new artists that we think will do well here in the area. We had a ton of wonderful artists who applied this year offering a lot of different mediums. This keeps thing fresh.”

Jose Manual Napoles of St. Charles was one of those new artists and said this was not only his first time at the St. Charles event, but also as a participant in any art fair.

“I felt I was ready to come out and show my work,” he said. “I own a gallery in Elgin and I decided to come. I come every year myself just to check out the artwork, but this year I said ‘I want to be in it myself.’ I think I was ready for it.”

Sawicki said the St. Charles event is the first big art show of the summer in the area.

“We love kicking off the art show season,” Sawicki said. “We get a lot of positive feedback from the artists about how this is a good show to start with and they say it’s kind of an indicator of how the rest of their summer will go.

“We always like to hear when artists have great weekends and for us it’s a great opportunity to bring people into our community who love art and love St. Charles,” she said.

The two-day event includes the return of the “paint-a-car” which Sawicki said “kids loved” as well as live music and art on the new plaza near First Street, as well as a presentation by young artists from Elgin Community College.

“It’s cool to see young people starting out and we’re also working on our sustainability as an organization and we have a green team that is partnering with Clarke Environmental and offering some recycling and aluminum water bottles we are giving out as well,” she said.

St. Charles artist Jose Manual Napoles is one of the new juried artists participating in this weekend's 26th annual St. Charles Fine Art Show in the city's downtown. The event ends Sunday. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-News)
St. Charles artist Jose Manual Napoles is one of the new juried artists participating in this weekend’s 26th annual St. Charles Fine Art Show in the city’s downtown. The event ends Sunday. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-News)

Linda Bartus of Geneva said she has come to the art fair in St. Charles “almost every year” and that she likes to buy “almost everything” when it comes to her choice of medium.

“When I come to an art fair I probably buy something a third of the time,” she said. “Over the years we’ve bought a lot of wood furniture but we look at everything.”

Linda’s husband Ed Bartus said he also enjoys art shows and that he is “drawn to different things.”

“Every year, things are different and it’s whatever catches our eye,” he said. “It could be a painting or a piece of furniture or a knickknack. We probably go to a handful of these shows every summer.”

Deb Jongebloed of Batavia said she came “to the show last year and found some stuff I loved.”

“I’ve lived in the area for a while and I go to art fairs all summer, maybe a dozen or more,” she said on Saturday. “I really like jewelry but I got some nice copper things I bought here last year.”

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.



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