More than 140 juried artists performed at Art at The Glen

Art at the Glen, presented by Highland Park-based Amdur Productions, has returned to the Glen’s downtown shopping district on the former Naval Air Station Glenview property.

The two consecutive days of the festival, which began on July 30, were sunny and well attended.

More than 140 juried artists were featured.

New this year was increased security by Glenview police in response to the mass shooting at this summer’s July 4th parade in downtown Highland Park along Port Clinton Square.

Amy Amdur is president of Amdur Productions, a fine arts festival company she founded in 1984. Amdur is also a resident of Highland Park. Amdur wasn’t in this year’s Highland Park Independence Day parade “by accident,” she said.

“I usually go and growing up we (Amdur’s family) always decorated a car and were always in the parade.”

Amdur Productions also produces the Port Clinton Arts Festival, which is still scheduled this summer on August 27 and 28 at the same location where the July 4 shooting occurred. Seven people were killed and many injured in the shooting.

“I can tell you that the tragedy in Highland Park hit me hard because it’s so many people in so many ways,” Amdur said. “And I go back to trying to find some level ground in life and I think there are some things that help me and one of them is art.

“There is a healing power of art.”

Amdur noticed last spring at the beginning of the season of the Amdur Art Festival the appearance of the color yellow in the works of artists.

She identified a subtle trend of color choices by artists who persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of Amdur’s festival artists were isolated during the pandemic while working in their studios.

Several artists reported that they were looking for brightness in a dark time of a pandemic for them. The works feature bright hues with references to the comforts of home, but with a longing for the outdoors and community. It now has a blue color that Amdur can see for other visual searchers as well.

“Soothing, cool colors,” said Amdur, who sees the world through her namesake vivid blue eyes. “It’s changed and you’ll see it in the artwork as you walk through the show.

“Blue is usually the color of the sky, the color of water,” Amdur said. “And those are two very comforting elements in our life experience.

“I think the blue comes in as a way of healing.”

When the Glenview show opened at 10 a.m. Saturday, Amdur walked through the middle of the show visiting the artists’ booths. It was easy to find blue in recent works of artists.

“Blue is calming, yellow is stimulating,” Amdur said while visiting the booth of oil on canvas artist Kasia Maksym of Beecher.

Maxim said: “I like blue. I think it has to do with the water, it has to do with the sky and right now I feel like, people are used to being in tight spaces, especially in COVID, everyone was inside.

“And when you go outside you see the sky, it’s a subconscious thing when you look at the sky,” Maxim said. “It’s like freedom, openness.

“And when you see blue,” Maxim said, “I don’t even know if you make that connection consciously, but you have this subconscious thought: ‘Wow, that’s comforting.’

“Wow, this creates excitement with the complementary yellow.”

“It (color) can really create different effects on your mood,” Maxim said.

Festival photographer and artist Seung Jae Kim of Glenview noted, “Blue represents the color of the sky and the lands, the forest, the mountains and the water,” Kim said.

Saturday morning’s show was attended by patron and retired naval officer Bernie Arends of Glenview, whose United States military service spanned from 1967 to 1997, he said.

Arends worked as a firefighter in Highland Park many years ago and knew Amdur well then.

That morning, at a Tower Drive midway festival, Amdur showed Arends her Highland Park Strong bracelet next to a wristwatch on the edge of her long white sundress.

The orange bracelet is worn in support of Highland Park. Orange is the complementary color to blue on the color wheel. Complementary colors create the strongest contrast for these two colors when placed next to each other and offset when combined.

“Blue is part of my life, dress blue, navy blue,” Arends said, adding that blue “is one of my favorite colors.”

Arends showed compassion at first sight of Amdur’s orange bracelet.

“To see that (the July 4th shooting) happen to her,” Arends said, “and how she has such loyalty to Highland Park, I just felt her pain right away. I knew what she must have been through.

Amdur replied, “I still have nightmares.”

But “Everyone wants life to go on,” she said.

At the time, Arends said of Amy Amdur, “She was a really great friend. It’s people like her that make life worth living and give you hope for the future.”

Karie Angell Luc freelances for the Pioneer Press.

Leave a Comment