The West End Art Festival has become a celebration of all forms of art. This year, In addition to presenting works by more than 50 juried visual artists, the annual La Grange event will highlight performing arts and culinary arts.
The festival, Saturday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 15, is sponsored by the La Grange Business Association in cooperation with the Village of La Grange. Saturday will be Performing Arts Day with performances by local dance, music and theater groups. Both days will feature culinary demonstrations — The Art of Food.
“We are saluting art in many forms,” said Nancy Cummings, executive director of the La Grange Business Association. “La Grange has such a strong reputation as a destination for dining. We have so many restaurants that are so highly regarded, we thought we should capitalize on that because so much of what they do is an artistic component.”
The Art of Food was originally scheduled for Sunday only. “That was so well-received by the chefs, we expanded it into two days,” Cummings reported. Cooking demonstrations will be done on Saturday by DeVries Grocery & Market, chef John McMahon of Bella Bacinos, chef/partner Quoc Luong of O Mai La Grange, and chefs from Wild Monk and Sushi House. Sunday’s lineup includes baker/owner Nicole Betourney of Isn’t That Sweet Bakery, chef Lonnie Liming of Prasino, a chef from Thipi Thai and chef/owner Vikram Singh of Kama Indian Bistro.
Performing Arts Day features three local groups.
Matrix Dance Improv will perform from 11:30 a.m.-noon. “We’re going to do mostly improv,” said Corey Nagel, artistic director of the 20-year-old high school age troupe based at Jo’s Footwork Studio in Western Springs. “It’s a celebration of movement. I’ve slated about eight pieces and for half of those we’re inviting children to dance with us. It’s not just presentational, it’s interactive.”
The company will employ a variety of props. “We use fabric, there’s a mask piece, we have balls, ribbon rings,” Nagel noted. “We’re a different genre. It’s like a party in movement.”
A woodwind quintet from La Grange’s Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra will perform two half-hour sets, the first at 1 p.m. The musicians are Barbara Saks (flute), Allison Reyes (oboe), Deb Morris (clarinet), Martha Cavendar (bassoon) and Gary Greene (French Horn).
“We will be playing some classical as well as lighter selections,” Saks said. Handel’s “Water Music,” “St. Anthony Chorale” by Haydn, “Liberty Bell” and “Looney Tunes” are among the pieces selected.
“Quintet music is a blast to play,” Saks declared.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, the La Grange Area Teen Theater Ensemble (LATTE) will assemble a flash mob to the tune of “Some Nights” by Fun. “We hope to give people a chance to participate in a fun environment and be part of interactive art,” said producer/artistic manager Felicia Pfluger. (Call 708-655-0989 to participate.)
“We also hope to put on a few original skits from ‘Crazy Dates,’ which were written by either teens, seniors or myself,” Pfluger added. The 9-year-old theater company has a partnership with Plymouth Place, with seniors and teens performing together.
Pfluger described the theater company’s focus as “developing leadership while teaching stagecraft to teens.”
Another addition to the festival is a community mural. “This is an art project that will be worked on throughout the weekend by people in the community,” Cummings said. “They’ll have a free hand in helping to create this mural that will find a permanent home in La Grange.”