Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival returns to Evanston

Amdur Productions’ Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival returned to downtown Evanston for three consecutive days beginning Friday, August 19 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Evanston is a unique and diverse intellectual community that connects with art on multiple levels, and the ability to connect with art right now is more important than ever because art soothes the soul,” he said. said Amy Amdur of Highland Park, president of Amdur Productions. , a fine arts festival company he founded in 1984.

“A real experience of going to an art festival is a positive experience, it’s outdoors, it’s interactive and it’s multi-sensory,” Amdur said.

The festival also welcomed dogs if they were leashed and friendly, according to the Amdur Productions website.

More than 130 artists exhibited works around 800 Church St. Food and forks were an important part of the experience as people combined their love of cooking and art during their gathering.

“People really appreciate food in Evanston and when you look at art, it should be a relaxing event,” Amdur said. “We want to give people a place to stop, sit … enjoy a snack.”

The entertainment lineup included the duo, The String Shredders. On five-string electric fiddle were Edgar Gabriel of Arlington Heights, formerly of Evanston, and Ron Steta of Elk Grove Village on nylon-string electric guitar.

“I love Evanston, I would love to live here again,” Gabriel said. “There’s so much character, there’s so much culture, diversity, you’ve got it all here.”

Also highlighted this year is the Aspiring Artists Micro Music Festival which showcases emerging artists and composers.

Walking the midway Friday afternoon was patron Terri Tepper of North Barrington, who grew up in Evanston and attended Evanston Township High School.

Of Evanston, Tepper said, “My heart is here.”

Also checking out the art, and also looking at the art to bring that Friday, were Michelle Duckworth and Nancy Kleiman of San Antonio, Texas. Both are natives of Highland Park and graduated from Highland Park High School – Duckworth in 1977 and Kleiman in 1975.

“I love being back,” Duckworth said of North Shore. “I’m all about the art.”

Carrie Scheiner of Tampa, Fla., ate and sat at the festival, grabbing a chicken taco from vendor El Poblanito.

“So far so good,” Scheiner said of his visit to Evanston.

Artist and photographer Xavier Nuez of Ravenswood was on hand to speak with customers at the artist booth.

“I love Chicago,” Nuez said. “I travel all over the country, I always bring my equipment. For 30 years, I’ve been carrying lights on my night shoots and lighting up these places at night…colorful battery-powered lights.”

The Evanston show was a first for whimsical folk art and medium oil artist Channing Wilson of Crystal Lake.

“It’s exciting,” Channing said. “This is my first year doing the art fairs, so I’m staying pretty local and just testing the waters.”

Channing is influenced by the French impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh.

“I like the way his strokes are really quick and look very organic, you know, he does,” Channing said. “My art is a happy art, that’s what I wanted. I painted so much during the lockdown (the COVID-19 pandemic), it was like all I could do to keep my sanity.”

“So I think, ‘Happy and fun art’… Why not?” Channing said with a smile.

Karie Angell Luc is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

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