Vacations offer a chance to broaden our horizons and expand our lives with new experiences. When we are in the planning phase for upcoming trips, we look for opportunities to include a wide spectrum of activities. Each destination serves up its unique flavor, by presenting a selection of attractions. An excursion to St. Charles, Illinois, offered a relaxing art-filled escape along the Fox River. Our timing not only allowed for views of their public art, but we also found ourselves able to enjoy their annual Fine Art Show.
Each spring, when the flowers burst on the scene, visitors will find another artistic display. All around town, artwork can be discovered. Since we were staying in the heart of downtown, a stroll down to Mt. St. Mary Park was the perfect choice for an artful adventure. We were greeted by Mr. Eggwards, who reminded us of a dapper version of Humpty Dumpty. Fortunately, he appears to have a better sense of balance. Heading into the park, we discovered that a walking path weaves its way for more than a mile through this green space. Strategically located along the route, you will find a variety of sculptures designed to elicit discussion and smiles.
While some of the art pieces leave plenty to interpretation, others tend to direct the viewer in a preconceived fashion. The stainless steel piece on the left is designed using a selection of geometric shapes. The way they are assembled led me to see some sort of futuristic robotic device. Since my mind was running toward the science fiction side, the statue on the right seemed to make a good complement. I spotted this sculpture from afar and was immediately reminded of some alien craft landing near the White House. Sure enough, closer inspection showed this piece to be titled “The Martians Are Coming”. It’s good to find that the artist has a keen sense of humor.
Walking through Mt. St. Mary Park, during late springtime, was a joy. We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather or a more beautiful setting. The Fox River was flowing by and provided a draw for an abundance of feathered friends. We were making our way toward the end of our chosen path when we spotted a lady sitting on a park bench. As we drew closer, we realized that she was one of the many sculptures on display. The piece reminded us of similar hyper-realistic art that we had seen at McNider Art Museum, in Mason City, Iowa. I wonder how often someone has attempted to start a conversation with her.
Fine Art Show
As we came out of the park, we spotted the annual St. Charles Fine Art Fair in full swing. A convenient bridge offered us access to cross the Fox River and make our way to the event. Each Memorial Day weekend, regional and national artists descend upon the city for this celebration. The late spring weather had brought a large turnout of artists, so we were anxious to check out the booths. With free admission and parking, it was obvious that we weren’t the only ones who had this thought. Being so close to Chicago, we were sure that many had made the short pilgrimage to enjoy the event for themselves.
Variety is Key
While we may not be art experts, we do know what we like. Our home office is filled with pieces that we have collected during our travels. St. Charles was a chance to add to this collection. I tend to lean toward the unusual, while Crystal likes pieces more recognizable. Seeing a variety of handmade jewelry, I knew that she would be drawn to those booths. While she explored the offerings, I checked out some of the more bizarre creations. We discovered that they had something for just about every taste imaginable and all of it was handcrafted by true artists.
Getting the Public Involved
The creators behind this annual event wanted to find an interesting way to engage with visitors. A section was partitioned off to hold a variety of children’s activities. This year they chose to include a car that people could decorate with paint or chalk. This ended up being so popular, that within a few hours of the opening of the festival, the vehicle was almost completely covered. We found a small piece to leave our own artistic mark, before heading back to the show. As we strolled through the booths, we were entertained by live music, selfie stations, and tons of people watching. What a great way to enjoy a holiday weekend.
Art-Filled Escape in St. Charles
The decision to visit St. Charles, Illinois ended up being a relaxing adventure. This art-filled escape is a perfect way for families to enjoy some low-cost entertainment, in a fun venue. With all of this being located close to the downtown St. Charles corridor, you can park and navigate it all on foot. This allows for a closer examination of the art and causes visitors to adopt a casual pace of exploration. In the end, you will find the inviting nature of this Midwest city will make your visit an experience to remember. Now, which type of artwork would you want to take home?
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