What comes with more than 70 artists, a beer and wine garden, music by Grammy-nominated artists and a roving steampunk-inspired contraption loaded with loudspeakers called the Sonic Boom?
The sixth-annual Riverside Arts Weekend, that’s what.
Riverside’s showcase of the arts returns to the downtown area on Saturday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be held within Guthrie Park, which is located across the street from the Riverside train station.
“We’d like to be known as a weekend that features interesting and cool, innovative art, hence the name RAW,” said Jean Sussman, who is a village trustee and one of 10 volunteers helping to organize the event.
Each year, RAW has evolved somewhat, and its location has changed over time. The 2013 edition of the event is certainly the most ambitious — a multimedia art fair/community festival featuring not only traditional art, but music, fashion, performance and community participation.
After trying last year to attract artists on their own, the RAW organizers turned again to Erin Melloy of EM Events to solicit artists for this year’s event. She was successful in attracting more than 70 artists of all kinds — ceramics, glass, painting sculpture, jewelry, wood, mixed media and more — including three Riverside artists. For the first time, RAW directly invited six of the artists whose work will be on display this weekend.
“We want to bring the arts and people into Riverside to make people aware of our town,” said Sussman. “But the other RAW goal is to demonstrate we’re a high-quality arts weekend, with an excellent juried art fair and different kinds of performers.”
A $3,500 grant from the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad made it possible this year to attract a strong group of musical performers, with an emphasis on folk and international music.
The musical lineup includes Brazilian jazz guitarist Paulinho Garcia; the Mexican folk ensemble Sones de Mexico, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008; jazz saxophonist Corbin Andrick and his quintet; Brookfield’s own Liz Berg; North Riverside resident Bud Bureau and his Buddy Love Review; Riverside rock ‘n’ roll from Fable; the DePaul Women’s A Capella ensemble; and the Hauser Junior High band.
In addition, Redmoon Theater will bring its Sonic Boom chariot to town as part of a performance “intervention” project the company has been fine tuning with students from Central School.
On Saturday, May 18, some 40 Central School students will take part in four 20-minute spectacles (two in the morning and two in the afternoon) featuring the Sonic Boom vehicle.
Returning for a second straight year are fashion design students from Dominican University in River Forest. On May 19 at 2 p.m., the student designers will host a runway fashion show called “Revelry.”
The community’s artistic assistance will also be called upon again this year. With the help of a $700 grant from Riverside Township, RAW will host a kids community art project that will center on the creation of lanterns to be strung across Guthrie Park.
New this year, adults can enjoy beverages in the beer and wine garden, which will be set up near the main stage area in the park. Mollie’s Public House will be presiding over the garden.
Plenty of food will also be available from Jimmy’s Place, Empanadus, Chocolate Twist, Aunt Diana’s and Fruit Blend Smoothies.
This story has been edited to correct the dates of the event.