Just about two years ago Brookfield resident Kathi Parisi decided to follow a dream when she started taking oil painting classes at the LaGrange Art League. This weekend, the fruit of her labor will be on display – and for sale – during the Brookfield Art Festival.
The festival will be held in the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard on Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parisi, who specializes in landscape painting, will be one of some 30 artists participating in the event.
“I do mostly landscapes and waterscapes, a lot from northern Michigan, where we have a lake house,” said Parisi. “It’s very inspirational.”
Parisi works strictly with a palette knife, giving her paintings thick textures. She began her painting lessons after leaving her job as a flight attendant for American Airlines. She had informally done some painting on her own but wanted to get some professional instruction.
“It was a bucket list kind of thing,” Parisi said.
At her space in the art festival lineup, Parisi will display about 30 paintings.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” she said. “I hope people like my art. It’s about getting my name out there and seeing how people react to it.”
Parisi sought to get involved in the art festival after seeing it advertised. She’s one of several local artists – from Brookfield, Riverside, Western Springs and other nearby suburbs and Chicago – in the festival. The art work includes everything from painting to sculpture, jewelry, photography and drawing, according to event organizer Abby Brennan. Artists range in age from 18 to 60, she said.
“Last year was really successful,” said Brennan of the festival’s inaugural effort. “It generated great foot traffic. Rarely do we say no to an artist who wants to participate, and we’re still reaching out to local artists.”
For this year’s event, Brennan has enlisted the sponsorship of the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce and moved it up a month. Last year the art festival was in July.
“We moved it up a month to get some relief from the heat and be closer to the end of the school year,” said Brennan, noting that by mid-July, many local families begin leaving town on vacation.
Brennan set out to double the number of artists participating (last year there were about 20), and has gone a long way toward doing that by starting the recruiting process earlier.
In addition to artists’ booths, the Friends of the Brookfield Library will host a children’s arts and crafts area on both days. There will also be some light refreshments for sale, courtesy of Chefs Ahoy of Brookfield and Bill’s Place of LaGrange Park.
Other bars and restaurants along Grand Boulevard and nearby will be also be open for business during the event.
Grand Boulevard will be closed to traffic during the event, starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 11. It should reopen to traffic after artists break down their booths on Sunday, some time after 4 p.m.