With the , its time to kick off one of the most important aspects of the season: the festivals.
This weekend, Sheridan Road in Highland Park will transform into an elaborate display of fine craft, music, children's activities and food for
"What differentiates this fest from others is that it looks different, it's more 3D oriented," said Founder Amy Amdur. "This festival focuses on fine craft like glass and wood and jewelry and mixed media pieces and furniture."
For the first time in the festival's 14-year history, the weekend event will be produced by Amdur's company,
"I wanted to be able to help them," Amdur said. "We've created a number of fundraising aspects that hadn't existed before."
Those aspects include a suggested $5 donation for adults entering the festival, as well as a Bid or Buy tent, a unique spin off the silent auction. Each of the 106 participating artists submits a piece, and attendees can either bid on it or buy the piece for $100. All the proceeds from the Bid or Buy and the door donations will go to .
"We're excited to be giving this a try," said TAC's Executive Director Gabrielle Rousso. "We're happy that [Amdur] has given us this opportunity and we're excited to see how it goes."
The event also includes a scavenger hunt for children and a demo area, where TAC staff will demonstrate what they do in their classes and invite attendees to participate.
"There's going to be lots for people to do other than shop and look at the fabulous art," Rousso said.
Artists participating in the festival were accepted through a juried application process, according to Amdur. Artists from both coasts applied in January, as well as local artists like Highland Park resident Susie Mandell.
"I've been doing this for a while, but I've never put myself out there before," Mandell said about her work.
The self-taught artist took up her craft ten years ago after her brother died. She uses a variety of materials, such as antique, vintage jewelry or bamboo bowls from Vietnam.
"From trying to recreate something we did as children, this all kind of happened and it just came to me," Mandell said. "I never thought I had an artistic bone in my body."
Mandell has sold her work in the past, but has never displayed it as she will this weekend.
"Every piece is very individual and very personal so its hard for me to part with it," she said. "But it's time."
The event is personal for Amdur as well, who participated in her first art festival when she was five years old.
"That's when it really began," Amdur said. "That event changed my life."
The Art Center's Festival of Fine Craft begins at 10 a.m. and goes until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at The Art Center.