And on this gorgeous Saturday, the crowds were definitely out in full force. My sis and I got there about 11:30 and lucked out in finding a pretty decent parking space. One of the downsides of Art in the Park is that any large parking lots are multiple blocks away from the park and often already packed and any close parking is all street parking. We spotted a space about a block away from the park and took it right away rather than gamble that there might be something closer. (We were actually on the way to a parking lot on the Knox College campus that would have put us about 2 blocks away from the park)
We merged our way into the crowds lining the sidewalks of Standish Park. Right away, we were drawn to a booth selling this amazing pottery -- gorgeous platters and bowls and vases. We were delightfully surprised to learn that the artist behind this work was my junior high school art teacher. Just about anything I know about art comes from the two years spent in her studio classroom. Had it not been for the fact that her work was pretty pricey, I would have left the park with several of her pieces.
That's the only real problem with Art in the Park -- the art is gorgeous but very expensive. I absolutely fell in love with the art found in one booth on the outer edges of the park. This artist worked in oils and had the sort of urban sensibility I tend to love -- reminiscent of Edward Hopper's urban work like Nighthawks . One piece was this amazing "close-up" of a neon diner sign that would be hanging in my house right now if it hadn't been for the $1200 price tag. My sis fell in love with this gorgeous painting of Wrigley Field. (My sis is a devoted Cubs fan who is in agony right now as the Cubs continue to toy with her emotions by seemingly self-destructing as they enter the home stretch into the playoffs.) This artist also had several pieces that featured local buildings here in town -- the sign outside a now-closed downtown furniture store and another of the Antiques Mall which is housed in a gorgeous old building downtown. This artist did sell smaller, more affordable prints of his work, but unfortunately didn't seem to have prints of any the pieces that we loved so much.
We also saw some beautiful handcrafted jewelry (although neither my sis nor I are big jewelry wearers and the pieces that did prove tempting were again more expensive than I could justify spending on something I'd wear only occasionally -- like the $80 necklace or the $40 earrings). We saw an artist who worked in spray paints, creating art on demand there on the spot. We listened to some great live music. We ran into many people we knew. We had a great hour spent browsing and celebrating art.
And then we went to Wal-Mart.