It’s undeniable that over the past several years, Brookfielders have worked hard to splash their village on the map as a local destination that embraces community engagement, neighborly camaraderie and public art.
And since 2009, one event in particular — the Brookfield Fine Arts Festival — has served to showcase the efforts of dozens of local artists and pave the way for Brookfield residents and others from the western suburbs to connect with local artists, all while enjoying the season’s transition to fall.
This year, the fest returns Saturday at Kiwanis Park, featuring more than 50 local artists selling their work with media ranging from jewelry and fiber arts to pottery, printmaking and art from repurposed objects.
“It is definitely more than just art — there’s going to be so much to look at and enjoy at the beautiful park setting,” said Shannon Roman Gosciejew, a Brookfield resident and fest organizer. “After covid, I think we all realized that keeping money in the community is super important and impactful for the growth of the community, and if you want a beautiful and vibrant community, you have to show up for events like this. Support the people who are working to keep the community together and a beautiful, inclusive space.”
Kicking off the morning will be a sunrise yoga session at the park’s bandshell from 8 to 9 a.m.
While strolling along the park, music entertainment will be plentiful all day long, featuring the sounds of local and Brookfield-based musicians. The Riverside Brookfield High School jazz ensemble kicks off the music at 9:30 a.m., followed by comedy and bluegrass music from Bluegrass Band at 11 a.m.; Stray Bolts at noon, melding elements of Americana, rock, jazz, country and R&B; young musicians from A Sound Education at 1:30 p.m.; and Evil Burrito performing power pop ballads at 2:30 p.m.
In between browsing art and meeting new artists, patrons can enjoy snacks and drinks, including from food trucks Rollin’ Tamales y Mas, offering Mexican food and vegan, plant-based tamales, and freshly made-to-order donuts and coffee from The Chicago Donut Company.
The Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Public Library will also be at the event with a setup for kids’ art projects.
Back for another year will be the Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest, from noon to 2 p.m. Cash prizes will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place winners. Adults 18 and older who are eager to showcase their drawing skills can pre-register at brookfieldartists.org
“You don’t need to go to other suburbs or the city for good art — it’s right here, and we’re your neighbors,” Gosciejew said.
Sponsored by the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce, the fest is planned and organized by the Brookfield Artists Collective — a new local group with the goal of bringing more art to Brookfield and offering resources for artists.
Hosting monthly artist meetups and opportunities to collaborate on area community art projects, the Collective is open to a plethora of artists and art of all mediums.
In line with the goal of increasing community art, a highlight of this year’s fest will be the opportunity for visitors to participate in completing two community art murals drafted by fellow event organizer and Brookfield resident Terri Angarone.
To begin the large mural, Angarone sketched outlines of a variety of people of all ages, along with words such as “Brookfield” and “love,” on several canvases. With different paints available to color in the mural, she hopes visitors get excited about grabbing a paintbrush to fill in the blanks and even add in their own artwork along the way.
“I’m a big advocate for outside murals and I would like to show the importance of outside art and how it makes people feel when they see it after working on it together,” she explained. “It brings together a community and its diversity. It will tie in what we think Brookfield is, and what we want it to be.”
Angarone also created a smaller mural for kids, with whimsical cartoon drawings to be colored in throughout the day.
Gosciejew and Angarone hope to give the murals to either the Village, Chamber of Commerce or library, so they can be displayed and residents can be proud of the public art project for years to come.
“Our goal with the mural is to get more community involvement and have something really fun that features that collaborative spirit we’re trying to capture,” Gosciejew added.
The Brookfield Fine Arts Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday Sept. 30 at Kiwanis Park, 8820 Brookfield Ave.