Kate Tully of Prospect Heights likes to spark joy with her public art. She started by painting imaginative murals on her garage door, that drew a big response from her neighbors. For the last two years, she has collaborated with fellow Prospect Heights artist, Mara Lovisetto, to spread even more joy.
At the beginning of the pandemic, they set out to draw people outdoors — and brighten their moods. Well, over the last two years, their concept of sharing art work among nature, has mushroomed, so to speak.
They began by placing pieces of art around a small lake, called the slough, located in the middle of the four-acre preserve in Izaak Walton Park, near their homes in Prospect Heights. What started out with their own pieces, has grown to more than 40 whimsical installments and all designed around the theme of “Mushroom Magic.”
The pieces are wide-ranging in medium and style. There are painted mushrooms — think polka dots, mosaics, jewels and wood carvings — as well as ones that look like trolls, lampshades and larger than life cut-outs.
See them for yourselves. On Saturday, the artists and their volunteers are offering a free, Pop-Up Artwalk and Sale, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Izaak Walton Park, located at 201 N. Elmhurst Road. The family-themed event, supported by the Prospect Heights Park District, features live music, homemade ice cream, lemonade and art offerings for sale by local artists.
“The art walk has a special force that connects people, whether they are artists or not,” says Lovisetto, a former longtime art teacher at Hickory Point School in Northbrook. “There have been interactive experiences tied in as well.”
She points to a chalkboard which encourages people to draw something and add to the art. People have left drawings, quotes and words of encouragement. There is also a tiny art gallery in a chest which encourages visitors to take a tiny piece of art home, and then make something to bring back to share. This has been a favorite with all ages, she says, especially kids.
Tully says the art pieces vary, some are done by children and some by professional artists, near and far. A few of the pieces have just showed up on their own, she adds. “It’s fun when that happens, surprise art!”
With so many artists of all ages taking part, the art walk has taken on a life of its own, creating a community where art is appreciated in nature — and one that encourages others to try their hand at creating something.
“I think the underlying message is that creativity is a gift that is better shared,” Lovisetto says. “We are thrilled that it has become a destination which is free from politics or worries of COVID. It is a place that can change your mood, inspire or bring peace. Nature and art are always a winning combination.”