If you’ve driven downtown in the past week, chances are you’ve seen the fantastic community art project, “Wheels of Color”, on the fence of The Garden Faire at the corner of Washington and Jefferson in downtown Oswego. The project, made out of “up-cycled” bicycle wheels, was painted by members of our community at the Oswego Farmers Market during PrairieFest weekend with the help of the artistic folks over at Fox River Academy of Music and Art.
I spoke with Karen Kulzer, a General Director at the academy, about the piece and she informed me that their art department is very passionate about creating art projects from found objects, donations, etc., both in their classes and community projects. Their vision with “Wheels of Color” was to coordinate an art project for the Village of Oswego that the general public could actively participate in and to show how great ideas can spring even from discarded items.
They began accepting donations of old tires, bicycle rims, and wheels, along with
used paint cans and supplies in the spring. Karen told me that the majority of
the supplies used in this project came from the garages, barns, and sheds of
our community members, and was leftover from remodeling projects, old wagons,
and bent bicycle tires. Even the wire that secures the wheels was bought
secondhand at an auction!
The academy staff took their donated "canvases", cleaned and prepped them,
and along with their brushes, smocks, and donated paints set up a public booth
open during the Oswego Country Market. Several teachers and volunteers were on
hand to invite and help community members of all ages get creative and paint
their artistic visions on the wheels. They also received some fantastic creations from students participating in the academy’s week-long Duct Tape Art Camp.
With some help from Z and John Zidlicky of The Garden Faire, who are an amazing
supporter of the arts and our community, they decided to exhibit the project along the fence line of Washington Street, so both cars and people on foot would have the opportunity to appreciate the artwork. Since the display fence borders a major street, they thought it would be neat to have a wheel "theme" along a roadway.
“Wheels of Color” is truly a community project from start to finish. The hope with this project is to inspire more people in Oswego to be engaged in both the creation
and appreciation of art! On August 19th the Fox River Academy of Arts and Music will be back downtown giving the community another opportunity to show off their creative talents once again. They will be on hand at The Art of Oswego showing you how to create stylish purses and backpacks out of “up-cycled” t-shirts.
There is no better place for the community to get creative than in downtown Oswego, and on August 19th The Art of Oswego will be an event that you wont want to miss! The Art of Oswego is a reworking of the previous art fair and will highlight local talent and showcase our community’s creative side. It will give the Oswego the opportunity to show off their inner Picasso and there will be projects for all ages to participate in. The Fox River Academy will help you create your up-cycled t-shirt bag and Chalk the Walk will allow you to use the downtown sidewalks as your canvas! Admission will be free and all artwork will be available for purchase.
One more thing, The Art of Oswego is still accepting artist applications and is encouraging new and emerging artists to apply! So if you know a painter, photographer, designer, etc., make sure to pass this along to them. The cost for a 10x10 booth at this year’s event is $50. For more information or an artist application please call the Village of Oswego at 630-554-3618 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for artist applications is July 20th. Hope to see you there!