Annual Show Helps League Put Spotlight On Local Artists

Jun 4, 2015

KVAL President Larry Bond
Credit Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The Kishwaukee Valley Art League presents the 44th Annual Northern Illinois Art Show June 6 and 7 in Sycamore.  WNIJ’s Guy Stephens spoke with the president of the League recently.  Larry Bond began by explaining why the art show was created.

Larry Bond: “The main reason was, to have an opportunity for local artists to exhibit in the community, for people to see their work, and the monies generated from this particular art show help us fund our projects throughout the year."

Guy Stephens: Talk about some of the other things the Art League does, besides the Art Show.

LB: “We have other opportunities for our members to exhibit, through local organizations, we have traveling shows.  Part of the monies that are generated from the Northern Illinois Art Show go towards our philanthropic thing called ‘The Art of Giving.’  And that’s where we give back to the community through small scholarships for area art students. For example, last year we had students from Sycamore High School and DeKalb High School receive cash donations from us to support their endeavors, and so forth. We’ve supported the local high schools, local elementary school art programs, and things like that.” 

GS:  So this all seems to be things would be in support of the mission.

LB:  “Yes. Our mission is to have communities appreciate art, exposure to art, and we try to do that any way we can.”

GS:  Well, let’s rotate back around to the show itself.  What might one find there?

LB:  “We have a juried show, so not just anybody can show up. We have an application process. You have to be approved.  Our emphasis is on art and fine crafts.  We’re kind of particular about the craft we let in. We have watercolorists, we have a sculptor, we pottery, we have pottery makers, have sign people, we have floral, so we a good variety. We set up two tents that are next to each other, and we have that as our KVAL exhibit space. So any of our members are allowed to exhibit their paintings, sculpture, artwork.  So it’s an opportunity for them to be recognized, be seen, and occasionally sell something.”

GS:  Why do you think this is important?

LB: “I think it’s important for the community to see what artists we do have locally.  A lot of times people don’t realize that their next door neighbor or some guy down the street is an accomplished artist.  And this is one way, if they go through out tent, they can have a chance to see that.  I think it’s important for any community to appreciate art, as well as all the arts – music, dance, theater.  I think that the fact that it’s held in Sycamore is also important, because DeKalb has NIU.  They have the (NIU) Art Museum and they have art shows and art galleries. But Sycamore does not have that. One of our goals, long-range goals, is to have our own gallery and probably place it in Sycamore, for the community to see art, and appreciate art.”

GS:  And as you say, that art could come from next door, or it could come from down the road, or up the road, depending on what direction. It could be from someone on a farm in northern Illinois.

LB:  “Right.  Exactly.  We have two or three artists who are farmers.  So that’s kind of strange that you said that. We do have that.”

GS:  And this is one of the ways for them to be seen?

LB:  “Yes. Exactly.  I encourage everyone to come out and take a look. You don’t have to buy anything, but just simply walking through and seeing what’s available, a lot of times gives people ideas about something they like to try, or whatever.  So, give us a visit.”


The Northern Illinois Art Show runs 9-5 Saturday June 6, and 9-4 Sunday, June 7, in Sycamore, on the DeKalb County Courthouse lawn.