The barn part was obvious. This is Barrington, after all. But how a little community event that paired fine art with a barn theme ended up raising around $3 million for Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital’s local health care initiatives over nearly four decades is a big success story worth telling.
“It all started in 1974 with 10 women who liked art,” says Sharon Vogel, co-chair of this year’s event who has also served on the Art in the Barn committee (under the umbrella of the Auxiliary Board of Good Shepherd Hospital) for 15 years. “What began as an art show with 30 artists and 1,500 attendees is now a huge community event in Barrington with 175 juried artists and more than 5,000 people coming through over the weekend.”
Later this month, on September 23 and 24, Art in the Barn will be held for its 43rd year. Proceeds of the annual event fund scholarships for future health care workers and provide financial support for hospital expansion projects.
Art aficionados—both novice and experienced—can peruse a wide variety of artists exhibiting in numerous art mediums, including oil, watercolor, pastel, drawing, acrylics, fiber, glass, photography, digital media, jewelry, printmaking, ceramics, decoupage, sculpture, wood, and mixed media. Children can participate in activities such as a petting zoo and an art tent where they can create their own works of art on easels or pumpkins. New this year will be children’s face painting as well as a Student Art Gallery, which will display works from two chosen artists from each of the District 220 Barrington elementary schools.
“We try to add something new every year,” says Vogel, who is co-chairing the event with long-time Barrington volunteer Megan Clark. “Monetary awards were new last year, when we created a ‘best of’ award for each medium.”
While the opportunity to get out with the family, enjoy art and entertainment, and see neighbors in an idyllic fall setting alone is appealing, the Art in the Barn event raises funds for some very important local initiatives. The impact over nearly four decades has been tremendous.
All exhibiting artists donate 20 percent of their proceeds for the day, entertainers give their time and talent, and sponsors help make it possible and financially viable. Last year’s event raised $83,000 to fund two key initiatives of Art in The Barn—scholarships for students pursuing degrees in health care as well as the Volunteer Auxiliary Board’s work.
“In 38 years, the Auxiliary board of Good Shepherd Hospital has donated approximately $750,000 in scholarships to upwards of 1,000 students,” says Betty Kilgore, chairman of the scholarship committee for the past four years. “Applicants must reside in the Good Shepherd Hospital service area and about to enter or already attending school for careers such as nursing, physical therapy, medical school, speech therapy, and similar health professions.”
Every year, the committee of four to six people interviews more than 40 applicants, who have each submitted personal essays and recommendation letters from teachers.
Approximately half the proceeds benefit the scholarships while the remaining funds support the Voluntary Auxiliary Board’s other initiatives including the Catchpenny Resale Shoppe—whose proceeds directly benefit the hospital’s expansion initiatives.
“We’ve helped pay for the cardiac unit, built a newer emergency room, and contributed to a modernization project to convert all rooms in the hospital to private rooms,” Kilgore says.
Vogel encourages sponsors to consider supporting Art in the Barn this year, as they are critical to the success of the event.
“Sponsors can get exposure on the website, visibility on the back of art cards distributed to 10,000 people, an ad in the booklet, and recognition of the Banner of Appreciation at the event,” she says. “Naming sponsorships are also available for areas such as the Brat Tent and Children’s Art Tent.”
And there’s more.
Throughout the day’s events, guests can pull up a hay bale, munch on a brat and some Kountry Kettlekorn, or sit and enjoy live music from local entertainers such as the Barrington Children’s Choir, Pat McKillen, along with John Ballantyne and his Crazy Heart Band, among others.
So yes, the barn part is obvious. But what better way to spend a fall afternoon in the rolling hills of Barrington than supporting art and making a difference in the lives of so many?
For a listing of artists and a full schedule of entertainment and events, visit artinthebarn-barrington.com.