A Sunday afternoon in Burlington Park

Hinsdalean's summer series stars with a visit to the 51st annual Fine Arts Festival

A rainy start to the Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival Saturday morning didn't discourage first-time participating artist John Scanlon.

"We still had people show up and I had a really good sale right off the bat," Scanlon said Sunday, noting that serious buyers are the ones who come out in inclement weather.

Scanlon's decision to skip a show he usually attends in Minnesota to come to Hinsdale last weekend was a good one, and not just from a financial perspective. He was chosen as the President's Award winner.

"I was honored," he said.

A woman passing by the tent clearly agreed with that decision.

"Is this yours?" she asked Scanlon. "Oh my God, absolutely beautiful."

The photo of a single tree surrounded by lavender fields in Provence, France, was taken in late June or early July, he told her. Instead of hearing the drone of cicadas, which filled Burlington Park Sunday, he heard a different insect on that shoot.

"Bees were a constant buzz," he said.

Other photos in his large tent featured shots of equally alluring sites from around the world, including a large, three-panel shot of Florence that caught this reporter's eye.

Scanlon, who lives in Glenwood, Iowa, and attends a couple dozen shows a year, said he absolutely plans to return to Hinsdale.

"If they guarantee me perfect weather," he joked.

Best of Show winner Lidia Wylangowska said she, too, was honored to be recognized.

"It's a beautiful show, beautiful set up," she said. "The crowd is amazing. Always when someone recognizes your work, it's so inspiring. It makes me want to paint more."

Wylangowska said she enjoys the festival and has participated a few times in previous years.

"It's a nice, small show, juried - that's important," she said.

The resident of south suburban Crete, who originally hails from Poland, said her environment has influenced her work. She has shifted from painting portraits to featuring animals, flowers and fruit. One of her pieces was of a particularly large, juicy-looking strawberry.

"It's a tasty one," she said.

Amanda Wagner, marketing director for the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce, found Wylangowska's work tempting.

"I purchased my very first piece of art this year, from her, and I am so excited to have been able to do so - especially from the show winner," Wagner said.

The 85 artists participating in the show included returning participants and new talent, Wagner said.

"Our artists are amazing and extremely supportive of this art show," she said.

Their booths featured a variety of mediums in addition to paining and photography - jewelry, ceramics, fiber arts, sculpture and mixed media. Attendees included everyone from serious shoppers to families, many with a dog and/or stroller, taking an afternoon walk through the park. When hunger pangs hit, food trucks and stands from Azteca, Monk and Tropical Sno were on site, ready to serve.

And for those kids who preferred making art to looking at it, Jimmy McDermott from the LyArts program at The Community House was on hand with a mixed-media flower craft kids could make and take home.

"It's the flagship event in town for one of the tenets of our organization," he said when asked about participation in the festival. "For a staff member, it's very fun."

The rain on Saturday gave McDermott an opportunity to peruse other artists' work. Although he didn't make a purchase this year, a couple of years ago he bought a photo of a Cuban woman, presumably in Havanna.

"I was really captivated by it," he said.

McDermott's boss, Dan Janowick, executive director of The Community House, was on hand in a different capacity, as chamber board president. He spent some time observing the crowds as well as the art.

"I really enjoyed seeing all ages in the community enjoying different mediums of art together," he said. "Art, in its many forms, is a true people connector because it can be appreciated in different ways no matter your age, experience or stage in life."

Author Bio

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean