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Datebook: Inside Out Celebrates Art And Nature

Art and nature meet up at the Inside Out Arts Fair, coming up Saturday, July 20. This day-long event offers opportunities to acquire art, as well as a chance to become a better artist yourself.

The Inside Out: Accessible Art Cooperative teams each summer with the Sugar Grove Nature Center at Funks Grove for the Inside Out Arts Fair. Placing the event smack in the middle of the prairie—with trails, streams, and groves of trees—allows for plenty of artistic inspiration, according to Theresa Chambers, the marking manager for the cooperative and one of the organizers of the fair.

plein air painter
Credit Inside Out Accessible Art Cooperative
A plein air painter demonstrates her work at the Inside Out Arts Fair at Sugar Grove Nature Center.

“We have a lot of artists who like to go out there and do what’s called ‘plein air’ painting, which is where you paint outdoors,” explained Chambers. “We do have several plein air artists who are coming that day, and we’re going to have a little show at the end of the day.” 

“We partnered with Sugar Grove because they were wanting to have an art show at their facility.” 

Most of the artists who will have booths at the fair are local, and for some it’s their first opportunity to sell their work at a fair, said Chambers.

“We have several youth artists who are 18 and younger who will have their work for sale, so that’s exciting. It’s not very often that youth get an opportunity to see their art without having to pay a huge booth fee. What we ask our artists who are selling to do is to donate 10% of their sales to the Nature Center because that’s how the center helps to keep their programming going. So, this is really a service project for our cooperative, so we can reach more people through art, we can have fun through hands-on art and enjoy it in nature.” 

The celebration of art and nature includes many activities and classes for children, including rock painting, chalk art, graffiti and spray painting, clay creatures...oh, and bubbles. GIANT bubbles. 

“There’s a special recipe that you can look up on Google and it tells you how to make these special giant bubbles,” Chambers said with a smile. “I believe glycerin is the magic ingredient. They’re super non-toxic and safe for everybody to play with.” 

Budding photographers are invited to go on a photo walk with two professional photographers.

“People can bring their cell phones or digital or point and shoot cameras and go out on the trails to get ideas on what’s a good angle, what’s the lighting like. Basically, just ideas of what makes a great shot.” 

There’s also live music, with an Irish music jam in the morning, plus tunes from Bob Hogart, a.k.a Old Hippie Bob. Everyone is invited to take part in the Rhythm Circle in Imagination Grove. 

Admission and activities are free at the fair, said Chambers. This helps the Cooperative achieve their year-round mission.

“We have a three-fold mission. We support local art and artists.  The second part is art education, which we are touching on in several ways, with hands-on art activities, art experiences, and promoting our upcoming art classes we’ll have in the fall.  And the third one is service through the arts. This fair is a huge service activity for us because we’re reaching out to new artists.  We have artists who have never shown their work before have their art up for sale. So, we’re getting those artists out there so people can meet them.” 

The Inside Out Arts Fair at Sugar Grove Nature Center is Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

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Reporter, content producer and former All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.