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West Central Illinois Arts Center hosts Gazeboo Art Festival

Tabi Jozwick, Courier Staff

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On Saturday, the West Central Illinois Arts Center hosted the annual Gazebo Art Festival at Chandler Park, with local area artists showcasing and selling their art to the general public.

 “We have had an art festival like this in (Chandler) Park since 1968,” said 5th Ward alderman Gayle Carper, who also served as jewelry maker and organizer of Gazebo Art Festival. “It hasn’t always been called Gazebo Art Festival. Sometimes, it was called Art in the Park, sometimes it was in connection with a program called Communiversity, but every year since 1968, there has been a fall art festival in (Chandler) Park, so we’re pretty proud of it.”

 According to Carper the Gazebo Art Festival allows artists to sell their goods and advertise their art.

 “Every year, we invite artists to apply to sell their goods and they are judged by a jury of professional artists to make sure that they are not selling stuff that is not handmade and that it meets a certain standard of artistic merit,” Carper said. “They come here to set up their booths and you get crowds of people.”

 Amy John of Reflections of Revelations based in Robins, Iowa, showcased her photography informing inquisitive people that she used her iPhone to take photographs instead of a traditional camera.

 “I love to travel and I travel the world,” John said. “I travel a lot by myself and so, I don’t want to look like that tourist and I don’t want to be singled out. I try to blend in, so I will take my phone with me instead of a camera and line up shots and do a couple that way so I can get the photos that I want, but not look a tourist, especially as a single female traveling the world alone, so that is one of the reasons why I started into the iPhone photography.”

 Like any photographer, John looks at different vantage points for her photographs, even in well photographed areas like Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa.  Her favorite place for photography is the sky from the airplane because a bird’s eye view from an airplane is rare yet unique.

 “Photographing historical places is really on my heart because you will never know when the building is going to be get torn down or when that place is no longer there,” John said. “There are always memories attached to things and so, I like to take photographs so that things can be remembered.”

 New to the Art Gazebo was the sidewalk chalk drawing competition that the City of Macomb Downtown Development hosted for both children and adults who wanted to relive their childhood passion of sidewalk drawing.

 “We came collaborating together with the art festival committee,” said director of Downtown Development Kristin Terry. “I always wanted to do this, so I thought it’s a great tie-in, so we’re doing first chalk walk drawings and we’re giving out prizes for the first, second and third winners. It’ll be judged and they’ll get a (Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce) gift certificate for their award.”

 According to Terry, the chalk drawings couldn’t have any political statement or any statements deemed inappropriate for a public art display. If the chalk drawings were a reproduction of another work of art, like the Mona Lisa, then both the artwork and the artist must be credited.

 “(The Gazebo Art Festival) does that so you can’t get sued for using someone else’s photography,” Terry said. “If it’s not your art, then credit it.”

 Other events at the Gazebo Art Festival included music, children’s art activities by the playground, wine tasting and the Macomb Public Library’s Friends of the Library Book Sale. The Macomb Farmers Market also had the Saturday farmer’s market in Chandler Park along with the Balloon Rally at Vince Grady Field.

 “If you can’t find something to do here today, I don’t know what’s wrong with you,”Carper said.

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West Central Illinois Arts Center hosts Gazeboo Art Festival