When an organization opens a press release with a statement about what an event “is not,” you know there’s an identity problem.
Often confused with the Highland Park’s Port Clinton Art Festival, leaders at The Art Center Highland Park (TACHP) want everyone to know that its Festival of Fine Arts is an entirely different event.
“After all this time, people still think we’re a subset of Amdur Productions’ Port Clinton Art Festival,” says TACHP’s Director of Events Jackie Chilow. “In fact, when I brought in our receipts to our own bank the Monday after last year’s event, the bank teller said she’d missed our weekend event but would definitely go to the next one [Port Clinton].This just emphasized that people don’t know that this is The Art Center Highland Park’s event and an important one for our success.”
Chilow says that while the Port Clinton Art Festival is a great event, it’s important for the public to know that TACHP’s 21st annual festival—which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 22 and June 23—is not connected in any way.
The confusion often occurs because a few years ago TACHP outsourced most of the management of FOFA to Amdur Productions. “I was not here when they decided to outsource, but if I was I’d have voted 100 percent for this strategy,” says current TACHP Executive Director James M. Lynch, “Amy Amdur and her team have been great partners. Obviously, with so many festivals in their portfolio, they’re a great asset for us and we can rely on them for professional level event management.”
TACHP’s Festival of Fine Arts has had many iterations over time, starting first as a venue for the teachers and students of the then Suburban Fine Arts Center to showcase their work and raise money for the center. Over the years it has opened to artists from all over the country, sometimes all over the world, and attendance ranges between 7,000-10,000 people. Some critics of the festival say that it had been “getting away” from its local roots as artists from their own classes (over 400 professional level classes offered a year) and faculty were only marginally involved in the show.
So this year TACHP listened and is taking action.
Changes for 2019 lead back to the origins of the event. There will be a tent dedicated to TACHP students and faculty. Classes will continue as usual and festival goers will be invited to tour the center. Faculty members will hold “TAC Try a Class”demonstrations throughout both days and hope to involve people in some hands-on projects.
“There will be a cooling center in our building lobby to invite people into the building,” says Lynch, “to reinforce with our visitors and our guest artists that this is about us, TACHP, our professional level galleries, and our hundreds of classes each year. We want our 7,000 to 10,000 visitors to buy art from our amazingly talented artists and then consider taking a class with us during the year.”
The festival, starting in front of the TACHP building at 1957 Sheridan Road, and extending to Central Avenue and surrounding blocks, will feature more than 100 artists. Each have been carefully chosen for their unique offerings, sale-ability, originality,and professionalism.That makes this festival, of the dozens offered this season, one of the “must-see” events of the summer circuit.
Music, food, and drinks complete the event. There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door but organizers hope people are comfortable giving that much or more to ensure TACHP programs continue. TACHP is poised to celebrate its 60th anniversary in Highland Park with a yearlong agenda to expand horizons and make art available to everyone.
“None of that $5 donation at the door goes to anyone, Amdur Productions included,” says Lynch, “It is how we pay teachers’ salaries, invest in new program-ming, fund outreach, scholarships, and continue to do our important work.”
For more information about this event or other programming, contact [email protected] or cal 847-432-1888.