Sun sets the stage for Art in the Park

Clarinetist Derek Emch and Michiko Saiki on recorder play a duet during Art in the Park Friday at Simpson Garden Park.


BG Independent News

All kinds of artists turned out for Bowling Green’s second annual Art in the Park in Simpson Garden Park.

Aaron Pickens paints in the park.

Aaron Pickens paints in the park.

Artists were drawing, painting, doing needle work. Adult and budding actors staged shows. Performer Nick Zoulek blew saxophone; Michiko Saiki blew bubbles. And, of course, there were those who expressed their artistic inclinations by snapping photos with their smart phones.

Denise Carter works on a rag rug wall hanging.

Denise Carter works on a rag rug wall hanging.

Jacqueline Nathan, president of the Bowling Green Arts Council, said the Art in the Park was a success, drawing at least as many attendees as last year’s inaugural event. Sunny weather in the 80s certainly helped.

Aaron Pickens, of Grand Rapids, was painting a line of arbor vitae. Painting outdoors is way of taking a break from his highly detailed and realistic paintings of toys. Those can take 500 hours to complete.

But if painting outdoors is fun, it’s serious fun. Painting outdoors is a challenge. There’s so much detail, he said. “You have to learn what to leave out. The landscape taught me how to paint.”

Denise Carter was working on a rag rug that will serve as a wall hanging. She pulled brightly colored fabric through the weave of a coffee bean sack. The fabric became flowers, but Carter wasn’t depicting the blossoms in front of her. For her working outside was enjoyable because the colors were so much brighter in the full sun.

The Black Swamp Players perform "the Spot."

The Black Swamp Players perform “the Spot.”

Nearby in the amphitheater the sun served as stage lighting for theater. The Black Swamp Players offered the all-too-topical political satire “The Spot” about the filming of a candidate’s television commercial. The one-act play cast light on a process where the best kind of authenticity is the totally fake variety.

Horizon Youth Theatre offered up an excerpt from their upcoming musical “Honk!” The open air setting seemed quite fitting for the mother duckling played by Sky Frishman to sing about the trials and joys of being mother to a feathery brood. She lamented that her husband was largely absent. She might as well have mated with a decoy, she said.

Not all the action was outside. Inside glass artist Gail Christofferson was guiding volunteers, young and old, in the creation of a stained glass mural. Participants glued small irregular pieces of glass onto 20-by-20-inch frames. The finished work will eventually hang in the lobby of the community center.

Right now, the project has enough funds for 25 panels, Christofferson said, but she is hoping it can raise enough money for 50.

The project is a collective effort. Some of the panel designs were done by Bowling Green High School art students.

Among those helping were members of Wood Lane’s Aktion club who helped sorting the glass pieces and setting up. She’ll also be at the movies in the park events July 19 and Aug. 9, and then will visit various community organizations giving as many people as possible a hand in the project.

When done it’s will help shade the center’s lobby from the intense sunlight. And some folks will be able to look up and see a reminder of a sunny Friday afternoon spent in Simpson Garden communing with nature and art.