Spring this year was chilly and damp, but the pivot to summer is nearly here and the welcome change of seasons will be marked with the annual Art & Garden Street Fair, one of Homewood’s most popular festivals.
But this 2017 Art & Garden Street Fair version won’t be routine.
To celebrate the approach of warmer weather and the event’s 10th anniversary, the village is planning a colorful extension to the two-day festival, giving it a four-day lead-in called Art Week: Changing Lives Through Giving.
Between June 5 and June 10, the Homewood-Flossmoor community will be able to enjoy six days of food, art, garden shopping, science and music events in downtown Homewood.
“We are excited to expand our flagship festival and really highlight all the amazing arts and culture events happening right in our town,” said Director of Community Marketing and Events Zach Thomas.
More than 2,000 people have typically attend the Art & Garden event, he said.
Staff has planned a number of special events during the week.
Pets on Parade
Homewood is going to the cats and dogs! Thomas compared the “Pets on Parade” Homewood style program to “Cows on Parade,” a public art installation that made its American debut in Chicago in 1999.
The project is a collaboration between the South Suburban Humane Society, the village of Homewood and Bottle & Bottega, an art party business in downtown Homewood.
Individuals and organizations purchased and decorated pet statues earlier this spring. The colorful dogs and cats will be unveiled at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 9, at the fair.
After the fair, the statues will be placed throughout the downtown area. During Fall Fest in September the statues will be auctioned off, with proceeds benefitting the humane society’s adoption, veterinary service and animal advocacy programs.
Michael Wexler Theater
Michael Wexler was a Homewood actor and artist who died in a traffic accident in 2015. His family and friends, led by brothers Ron and David Wexler, raised money to create the Michael Wexler Theater in his name for the Homewood Science Center (HSC), 18022 Dixie Highway.
The theater will be dedicated at “A Celebration of Film,” a cocktail soiree from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuessday, June 6.
The event will include information about Michael Wexler and a presentation by Allison Grant, the assistant curator of education and exhibitions at Columbia College’s Museum of Contemporary Photography.
A gallery of photo prints contributed by members of the community will also be unveiled and available for sale. HSC will receive 30 percent of the profits.
The event will also serve as a fundraiser to help complete and enhance the theater space. Projection, sound and stage facilities have been installed, but HSC is hoping to add more furnishings and sound-enhancing features.
A donation of $250 will contribute to the cost of new carpeting, $500 will help with sound tiles and $1,000 will help buy furnishings.
“It really is a community project,” said Holly Kelsven, HSC marketing and events coordinator who acknowledged the outpouring of support from the Homewood community. “We really want people to feel they are part of this project.”
Tickets for the soiree are $35 and can be purchased at bit.ly/2qomrBW.
PopUp Science: The Science of Film
HSC officials have plans to give the Michael Wexler Theater a workout during its first week of operation.
On Wednesday, June 7, from 6 to 8 p.m., the theater will host the PopUp Mini Film Festival. Several short films will be shown and there will be a 6:30 p.m. presentation by John Sowa, chairman of the Governors State University chemistry and biological sciences division, highlighting how film is used in science, from the microscopic to the astrological.
The film fest will include the work of Teen STEAM, an HSC video production group of local junior high-aged students under the tutelage of Megan Tipton. The group has produced video capturing PopUp Science events and scientific experiments.
On Friday, June 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. HSC will have a booth at the fair with “Science of Film” activities. Kids will be able to make zoetrope film strips. Local artist Adam Kelsven will provide strips with drawings on them, and kids will be able to color and enhance the designs before viewing them through a zoetrope, an early tool for creating animated images.
Youngsters, many of whom may never have known anything but digital photography, will be able to see how images are created using sun paper.
“We want kids to understand that film wasn’t always (digital),” Kelsven said. “Film used to be a chemical process relying on light.”
The community photography gallery curated by Grant will be on display.
The main event at HSC on Saturday, June 10, will be “The Science of Film: Then and Now” from noon to 3 p.m. Guests will have an opportunity to learn about the history and technology of photography and film with hands-on activities and exhibits.
The event will include information and activities from the Wednesday and Friday HSC events, plus equipment used to demonstrate the differences between film and digital photography, including a stereoscope to show an early version of virtual reality from the 1800s along with contemporary digital VR systems.
Keslow Camera of Chicago will provide much of the equipment.
The event is free, but within it will be an activity for a fee that will allow kids to build their own cardboard VR tool.
Art Week will begin with a celebration of young artistic talent. A curated show of art by students from Homewood schools and Homewood-Flossmoor High School will be hosted from 5 to 8 p.m. at Bottle & Bottega, 2009 Ridge Road.
Student talent will also be on display from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, when the Theatre and Arts Leadership Kouncil will perform improvisational acting on Martin Avenue Square, 18020 Martin Ave.
The fair will also have its own commemorative work of art. The village commissioned artist Ryan Duggan to design a commemorative screen-printed and limited edition poster, available for sale during the street fair.
“He’s famous for creating unique concert posters,” Thomas said. “He was able to do something that harkens back to Homewood’s history, while also offering a whimsical, modern approach. That Mayberry feel, but it’s still modern.”
Duggan’s design will be the subject of this year’s Chalk of the Town street art on Kroner Lane near the intersection with Martin Avenue.
The chalk artwork will be created by Nancy Pochis Bank and her team of artists. At the previous two fairs, Bank and crew created chalk versions of masterpieces: in 2015 “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat and in 2016 “Wheat Field with Cypresses” by Van Gogh.
“Chalk of the Town” is not just for the professionals. All ages are welcome to help make downtown Homewood a work of art on Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10. Each participant will receive a space and loaned artist chalk to create their artwork. Space is limited and is first come-first served.
On Friday and Saturday the fair also will include booths by a number of area artists, including Bayete Collection, Cloud Nine Sterling, Doughney Design, Jean Insalaco, Koster Pottery, Lon’s Granite, Lou Lou Belle, Made Sew Happy, Plates ‘N Such, Poppies, Thomas Photographic Services, Marc Fishman from Unshaven Comics, Village Artists, Vondell Designs, Zeldenrust Farm Market, Atom and Ryn paintings, Ryan Duggan (Saturday only), Ray Kaelin and Jose Magan, landscape architect.
As guests make and appreciate visual artwork, they’ll be serenaded by a range of musical entertainers.
There will be music Friday, June 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. with MG Bailey, who plays folk, blues and bluegrass. Then Bumpus will performs a mix of funk and soul covers and originals from 6 to 9 p.m.
On Saturday, June 10, the music will begin with regular Homewood festival performer Super Stolie, who specializes in getting kids dancing. She will take the stage from 11 a.m. til noon. Eric Lambert will perform Americana, bluegrass, soul and folk from 1 to 3 p.m. DJ Kevin Warwick is spinning classic rock, punk, funk and soul from 3 to 6 p.m.
Headlining the evening stage will be 80’s Babies (formerly Dr. Feelgood and 80’s Babies) playing from 6 to 9 p.m. Their repertoire is everything from David Bowie and Michael Jackson to The Police and Rick James.
Food vendors include Bakewell Bakery, The Cottage on Dixie, EmpanadUS, Fratello’s Cafe & Deli, Grady’s Grille, La Voute Bistro + Bar, TJ’s Kettle Corn and Wiley’s Grill.
The Art & Garden Street Fair is free and open to the public. For more information, call 708-798-3000 or visit bit.ly/HomewoodArtsWeek.