La Grange IL — Visitors to the 27th annual West End Arts Festival can browse thousands of pieces of art and interact with over 60 artists as they display their talents on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10 from 10am – 5pm.
The historic Stone Avenue Train Station is backdrop to this well-attended festival organized by the La Grange Business Association, where juried artists from across the country sell their works in an array of mediums including painting and photography, ceramics, glass and functional art, fashion, jewelry, and sculpture from tents along expansive Burlington Avenue.
For the second year, the West End Arts Festival will also highlight a category of emerging artists as a way of recognizing and mentoring local newcomers in the arts world.
New this year is an inflatable display by Matthew Hoffman, a Chicago-based, internationally recognized artist known for You Are Beautiful, an art project that ranges from stickers to large-scale public sculptures created to better the world through positive messages. Over 100 works of public art have been installed globally since 2002.
Youngsters can get creative by engaging in pint-sized arts and crafts activities and face painting or delight in Tiny Toes Music or visits with Princess Belle and Spiderman throughout the weekend.
Visitors can lend a hand, as well as their own special touches, to a community art project that will be completed at the festival. The art project will be displayed at the La Grange Art League before finding a permanent home.
A lively music stage features a diverse jazz lineup throughout the weekend that includes The Alex Rodriguez Quartet, The Do-Rights and Bad Ass Gumbo on Saturday; and R. Wesley Carr Trio, The New Swing Collective and Reginald Lewis and Company on Sunday.
Visitors to the festival can take a break along a winding path near the train station and enjoy menu specialties from local food vendors including Antonino’s Ristorante, Monk’s Burgers & More, Taqueria Mi Taquito, and Chill’s Italian Ice. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.
A live art auction will take place in front of the 122-year-old Stone Avenue METRA train station on Saturday beginning at 5:00pm. The auction features nearly 30 hand-made friendship benches that were painted by local artists and displayed in front of local businesses as part of a sidewalk art exhibit that was sponsored by the Park District of La Grange. Proceeds from the live auction will benefit local nonprofit groups, including the La Grange Pet Parade.
In a nod to the festival’s centerpiece, visitors can stop inside the historic train station to browse a custom-designed model train display produced by Venture Crew 57, a local club from a variety of Boy Scouts councils and troops.
“Art is at the heart of this festival, but it’s really so much more than that,” said Cathy Domanico, the LGBA’s executive director. “The West End Arts Festival is a reflection of the vitality and energy and creative spirit that’s displayed by each of the small businesses located in this neighborhood.”
This free, family-friendly festival has become a favorite of both artists and visitors alike and has helped define the eclectic West End as a must-see destination for both shopping and dining. Visitors are invited to stop in at the festival’s presenting sponsor, Jack’s West End located at 712 W Burlington, to browse what’s new in the art of men’s fashion.
“We’re delighted to be located at the center of this engaging open-air shopping experience that highlights artists from throughout the country,” said Susan McMillin, a co-owner of Jack’s West End. “It’s both exciting and inspiring to see so much talent and imagination, and as a small business owner myself, I can appreciate the passion that goes into all of the artists’ work.”
Along with Jack’s West End, the festival is made possible through the generosity of numerous local businesses including Vintage Charm, FNBC Bank & Trust, All Dry Services of La Grange, America’s Bath Company, Chiro One, Express Med Spa, Helping Hand, Matrix Home Solutions, North Hill Mobile Framing, Posey Law Group and Renewal by Andersen, along with the Village of La Grange.
Admission to the West End Arts Festival is free; donations will be accepted to benefit the La Grange Business Association. Free festival parking is available in the nearby commuter lots. Visitors may take the Burlington Northern METRA train directly to the Stone Avenue station. The West End Arts Festival is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
For festival schedule and updates, visit: www.westendartsfestival.com
The La Grange Business Association is a group of over 300 businesses, services and non-profit organizations that strive to energize and enhance the local economy through events, networking and advocacy.