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ArtsFest St. Charles to applaud every genre in 11-day celebration

Four-day jazz salute to commence during festival

ST. CHARLES – St. Charles Arts Council director Kathryn Hill believes the arts are an important piece of the fabric of a community.

“I think the arts are the backbone of a community,” Hill said. “Think about how boring life would be without creative thought and artistic talent. Creative thought is what solves problems, it’s what moves us into the future.”

The arts will be on full display from Sept. 6 to 15 during the ninth annual ArtsFest St. Charles, which launches with a newly created special event Sept. 5. ArtsFest is presented by the St. Charles Arts Council in partnership with the St. Charles Park District.

Hill recently was named the new director of the St. Charles Arts Council following the departure of the group’s first director, Alison Bastian, who left her position in August to prepare for the birth of her second child.

Prior to coming to the TriCities a few years ago, Hill lived and worked in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and spent 10 years as the director of Art Reach, a nonprofit organization that has the goal of keeping arts and culture alive in the community.

“It’s a natural transition,” Hill said, in talking about her new position.

As part of a kickoff party from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at the St. Charles History Museum, local artist Rita Grendze will install the site-specific work “Synapses 4: community” along the museum’s facade.

“The Arts Council has commissioned an art piece and St. Charles artist Rita Grendze is putting together an installation piece that will be unveiled on Sept. 5 at the History Museum,” Hill said. “That will kick off the whole event.”

Grendze will present an artist talk at 5:15 p.m. and refreshments will be served.

Hill said she hopes people who attend any of the activities associated with ArtsFest will come away with “a new exposure or appreciation for the culture and the arts that we have here in St. Charles.”

ArtsFest will feature a number of activities that will take place at venues across the city. That includes a Gallery Crawl and a Poetry Crawl.

Hill is appreciative of the number of venues and artists participating in this year’s ArtsFest.

“Everyone has been so willing to participate,” Hill said. “It’s very heartening. It’s a wonderful thing. We’ve got participation from other arts organizations, like Fine Line Creative Arts Center.

Opening weekend

An artist reception for the St. Charles Arts Council’s Pop Up Gallery is planned from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 6 at 1400 Route 38 (Lincoln Highway), Suite K, next to Binny’s behind Salsa Verde. Featured artists are Bill Bergeson, Chuck Cassell, Emma Fang, Claudia Frost, Deanna Gibson, Megara Gutierrez, Ray Harkless, Jim Hendrick, Priscilla Huang, Jane Jackson, Jennifer King, Kathi Kuchler, Suzanne Lattanzio, Lance Long, Linda Marquis, Therese Militello, Denise Napoli, Hyunju Park, Danielle Piloto, Mary Ellen Segraves, Molly Walsh-Lorenzini and Fred Zinke. Volunteers are sought to help staff this exhibit, which will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through September.

Another reception will be at the same time at the Fine Line’s gallery for “Celebrating Chroma,” an all-media national juried art exhibit.

Elsewhere, the evening also offers Sip Parties from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m, a studio canvas painting class. Steel Beam Theatre presents its “Broadway Gender Benders” musical revue at 8 p.m.

The fun continues Sept. 7 with Sip Parties for all ages and continued performances at Steel Beam and at Pheasant Run Resort.

Find “all of the arts … all over town” at

Jazz celebration
around the corner

Music also will be in the spotlight as part of ArtsFest. St. Charles Jazz Weekend, put on by the St. Charles Business Alliance, will run Sept. 12 to 15.

Live jazz will be showcased at different downtown establishments. Sixteen venues will take part in this year’s event, featuring numerous jazz groups, including Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Frank Catalano.

Patrons can enjoy jazz music from lunch through evening, with the opportunity to visit multiple spots, including the 1st Street Plaza on that weekend’s afternoons. Planned are 35 performances during the four-day lineup.

More information is available by visiting

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