MAPLE PARK – Kaneland High School sophomore Andriy McFarlin loves the creativity of working with clay.
"Ceramics class was my favorite class last semester," he said. "I could go and create something rather than copy word to word out of a textbook. I like being able to take something that came directly from the earth and make it into a usable and reusable art piece."
His ceramic house was one of many student art works on display Sunday at the 15th annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival produced by the newly named Kaneland Arts Initiative.
The house doubles as a cookie jar.
"The whole idea was to make a Christmas gift for my grandmother," McFarlin said.
Besides display his artwork at the festival, he was selling cancer awareness bracelets to raise money for the student group Prevention of Dangerous Actions, which promote healthy choices and discourage destructive behaviors. The group is raising money to put together comfort bags for cancer patients to "brighten their day while they are in the hospital," McFarlin said.
This year, the Geneva-based Changing Children's Worlds Foundation sponsored an art contest at the festival in participation with the Kaneland Arts Initiative. The contest generated 35 entries, said Kimberly Svevo-Cianci, the group's president and executive director.
Peter Jefferson's ceramic house took first place in the high school category.
"The house represents love for your children because it provides shelter for them," Jefferson stated in the narrative accompanying the artwork.
Svevo-Cianci said her group tries to help parents better communicate with their kids.
"When parents are communicating more positively with their kids, the kids listen differently," she said. "They are more attuned to their children's feelings."