A glass blower at work at the Prairie Arts Festival
On Saturday morning, with a sky that was as ominous as any I’ve ever seen, I headed off to the 25th annual Prairie Arts Festival held on the grounds of the Schaumburg Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center. Hosted by Schaumburg’s Prairie Center for the Arts, this fine arts exhibition and sale featured more than 140 artists, photographers, sculptors, jewelers, carvers, potters, glass blowers, and I’m sure I’ve left out some category of artisan.
I was sad to see that there were no digital artists exhibiting. However there was one traditional artist whose body of work was quite clearly inspired, both in terms of subject and in terms of painting style, by computer art. And while there were no digital artists, there were a number of photographers who had clearly used either Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, or other software to manipulate their digital photography in order to produce a body of work that was less photograph and more art.
The setting for the Prairie Arts Festival
In terms of the range of themes for the art, the most popular theme by far was scenic. By scenic, I mean landscapes, cityscapes, and work with a strong architectural component – a barn for example. With respect to having a single subject for a painting or photograph: flowers were it – both for photographers and artists. There was little in the way of abstract or contemporary art. And, not surprisingly, no examples of space art or astronomical art. For my tastes a photograph of, for example, the Orion Nebula, is far more interesting than a painting of a barn.
In addition to the art, there were three musical acts performing simultaneously on the three stages spread from one end of the festival to the other. One stage had a harpist, another a steel drum band, and the last an acoustic group, making for a very nice blend of musical styles.
A view of the Prairie Arts Festival from across the pond
With plenty of art and music in a park setting there was only one more element needed – food. There were about ten food vendors and I duly consumed my fair share of ‘junk’ food. The one food item that really tempted me was the chocolate coated bacon – a temptation I resisted.
In summary, I arrived at the festival certain that we were in for a very nasty storm but the winds swiftly carried the storm clouds east and it wasn’t very long before we were treated to blue skies. One objective I had in attending the festival was to look for new ideas for my own art with respect to compositional elements and subject portrayal. Unfortunately with the art and photography so heavily weighted towards traditional landscapes and flowers, I came home without experiencing any eureka moments.