Practical visionary: Homewood Science Center director sees collaboration as key to the project

Youngsters watch as Nancy Bank’s team of 
artists creates a street chalk version of 
Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the
Island of La Grande Jatte” on Martin Avenue 
in Homewood, part of the 2015 Art & Garden Fair’s 
Chalk of the Town activity.

(Chronicle file photos)

For a few hours during last year’s Homewood Art & Garden Fair, a one-block stretch of Martin Avenue asphalt became a canvas on which local artists unleashed their imaginations.

It will be again when Chalk of the Town returns from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 11, as part of the ninth annual festival.

In 2015, Nancy Pochis Bank and a team of professional artists led the way, creating a chalk and paint version of Georges Seurat’s neo-Impressionistic masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”

They were joined by local artists, young and old, who created their own chalk art along the street. Anyone with an idea can get a piece of Martin Avenue to create their own work of art. Squares are available first-come, first served. Chalk will be provided.

Bank will return this year, but the work her team will create is a secret, according to village Events Manager Allisa Opyd. Clues will be posted on village social media sites so patrons can try to figure out what famous work will grace Martin Avenue this year, she said.

Although chalk art is relatively ephemeral, the Seurat piece, with a tempera base, slowly faded over about six months. 

Street chalking is not the only art activity festival goers can participate in. 

There will be artistic elements incorporated into the Homewood Science Center’s PopUP Science activities from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, according to Executive Director Edie Dobrez.

Museum of Science and Industry educator and science center board member Patty Messersmith will coordinate hands-on activities, including plant dissections and learning about monarch butterflies.

Dobrez said observation, the basic tool of science, is also a basic tool of art. As part of the exploration of plants and butterflies, participants will be invited to observe and then draw what they see during the activities.

Another activity that combines elements of art and science will be the new craft beer tasting feature. From 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday patrons who are over 21-years-old will be able to sample beers from area craft breweries include Vice District, One Trick Pony, Flossmoor Station, Blue Island Beer Company and Evil Horse Brewing Company.

Live music will fill the air throughout the two-day festival. 

For children who love to dance and sing, Little Miss Ann will perform Friday from 11 a.m. to noon. Scribble Monster, led by Jim Dague of Homewood, will entertain youngsters Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon.

Sunnyside Up will bring its unique interpretation of bluegrass music to the stage Friday from 2 to 5 p.m.

Local bands will again be featured Saturday afternoon. Work in Progress will perform from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The core of the blues, folk and bluegrass band were friends at Homewood-Flossmoor High School decades ago. They recently rediscovered their shared interest in music and started the band.

From 3 to 5 p.m., Through the Flood will perform. The teenagers met and formed the band almost three years ago during Melody Mart’s Summer Rock Band Camp. Their influences run from the classic rock of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin to alternative rock like Fallout Boy. 

Headline performers include two favorites from Chicago. Maggie Speaks will be on stage Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Latin Satin Soul will again bring the festival to a rousing, dancing conclusion from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

In addition to art and music, the festival will include a number of local food vendors and activities for families. 
More information at 708-798-3000 or visit www.HomeSweetHomewood.com.

Related story:

More information:

  • www.nancypochisbank.com/
  • www.scribblemonster.com/
  • www.littlemissann.com/
  • www.sunnysideupmusic.com/

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