The Art of the Land Benefit at the Starline Factory Gallery in Harvard this past weekend was a first class event.  The caliber of art was high, delicious food abounded, and I think the Land Conservancy of McHenry County pulled in some well-deserved funds for their cause, helping protect over 1800 acres of McHenry County’s prairies, wetlands and woodlands.  The art was truly a reflection of the beauty of the land we take for granted in this part of the Midwest.

setup at the starline factorySetting up for the event at the Starline Factory Gallery. 

Owner Orrin Kinney has been renovating this enormous space, and is extremely supportive of the artists who are working here.  He provided these blocks, cut from original building timber, for use as display pedestals.  Featured here, Mary Jean Deja’s pottery.

Mary MariiuttoMary Mariutto, Magic Mushroom Series

I love Mariutto’s work, delving into the intricate mysteries that are found beneath the surface of the land.

Kelly BissellKelly Bissell, Global Warming

Bissell takes the art of crafting with wood to the highest level.  His finished and polished pieces were jaw-dropping.

Doug DeWittDoug DeWitt, Shred

DeWitt’s pieces contain items found in nature, things from old construction sites.  Some of them also contain his photos, and journal entries that detail the work done on the many little jobs it takes to maintain a property.  They had a unique, rustic flavor.

Yvonne BeckwayYvonne Beckway

This is one of my very favorites, and I have to apologize for not getting the name of this piece.  Yvonne Beckway creates these beautiful, mystical scenes, using ash from plants she has burned. It is an involved process, done out of doors, with nature’s whimsy taking a hand in the creation.

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Meadow

This piece of mine sold in the last 5 minutes of the show.

Another interesting part of this event was a photo contest, held to showcase the land around McHenry County.  Amateur photographers are assigned a site location, one of the dedicated land areas.  They take pictures and submit their five best to the contest.  One final photo is selected, and approx. 40 finals are then displayed at the Art of the Land.  What a great way to share these special places!

I also have to mention the Friday night event at this Benefit, Voices of the Land,  led by renowned storyteller Jim May.  Friday night’s “coffeehouse” show included musicians, poets, and people that shared their love of the land through the spoken medium. Attendees could wander about the space, perusing the art while listening, and then also take a seat for a closer spot, and participate if they so chose.

I look forward to applying as an artist again next year.  An unforgettable event with an interesting crowd and a notable group of artists, put on by an outstanding group of people.  Put it on your calendar.

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