By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Rain couldn’t dampen the spirit of the fourth Art in the Park Friday at Simpson Garden Park.
It did deter some, but not all, plein air artists. But others came out in force to entertain the attendees, who grew in number as the two-hour event progressed.
The rain that arrived mid-afternoon was receding just as folks arrived.
So a trio of musicians were heading out to the gazebo.
Alice Calderonello, of the BG Arts Council which staged the event with the city Parks and Recreation Department, said the performers took the changes necessitated by the weather in good spirits, even if it meant they were playing in odd corners, and for a shorter period of time.
Still by the time the event was wrapping up, musicians had ventured outdoors, and some visitors had wandered off into the garden to admire the garden’s blooms, which are delayed a bit by the cool, wet spring.
Phil Hollenbaugh, the volunteer who tends the extensive hosta garden, was on hand checking the plants.
Mayor Dick Edwards said that Bowling Green is second only to Dubuque, Iowa, in the number of hosta varieties in its municipal garden. Hollenbaugh said he has 50 more varieties to plant. But he laughed off any competition between the two cities.
He’s always happy when people come into the garden to enjoy the plants.
Painter Kim Sockman, one of the three artists to arrive to paint outside in the garden, was as close to the outside as she could be while still being inside. The retired art teacher was near the doorway to the Children’s Discovery Garden.
With an eye on the weather Thursday, she came out and snapped a photo of the wooden arch in the area. She worked from that image as well as glancing out at the scene. It was good she got a head start on her work because so many people, including her former art students, stopped to chat she wasn’t get a lot of work done.
“This is Bowling Green,” she said. “It’s a blast.”
That sense of community also attracted newer arrivals to town.
Rachel and Phil Beskid were there with their daughters Sylvia and Lucy, who were busy working on a craft project. The family moved to BG about a year ago, and Art in the Park was a way to connect with the community and feel at home, Phil Beskid said.
Holli and Jeremy Luring and their children also moved here in the past year. Holi Luring said they came because of the art and music, and the activities for the kids was a bonus.
A variety of art activities were provided by the parks department, the Montessori School of Bowling Green, and Jules Webster, owner of Art Supply Depo.
They live nearby, she said. “These are beautiful gardens.”
Jeremy Luring said the event with its small town feel was a good way to meet people.
Flutist Hong-Da Chin returned to have a chance to improvise music with some friends before he moves out of Bowling Green. He graduated with his doctorate in contemporary music in December and has a teaching position at Western Illinois University.
“I just wanted to improvise with them one last time for a long time.” He was joined in the gazebo by clarinetist Derek Emch and bassist Jenica Georgeson.
Emch, who has also played at earlier Art in the Parks, said he enjoys being outside adding to the atmosphere. People can stop and listen as they choose.
This was Georgeson’s first time at the event. She appreciated all activities offered, and especially enjoyed seeing some of her early music students at the Montessori School making crafts.
Theater lovers had the chance to preview a couple upcoming productions. Cast members for Horizon Youth Theatre’s “Dorothy in Wonderful” presented a couple excerpts from the musical, which will be presented later this month. Sandwiched between was a reading of a couple scenes from Scott Regan’s original script “Peanuts and Crackerjacks,” which will be staged next spring.
Neither peanuts nor crackerjacks were served, but there was popcorn, lemonade and apple juice and 27 dozen cookies baked by Nancy Buchanan.
She said this is the third year she’s baked for the event and each year she’s baked a few dozen more.
Zeb Albert wasn’t there for the cookies. He was intently watching Elaine Kaufman as she painted irises near the pond in the children’s garden.
The painter said the humidity posed a challenge working in watercolor, and she has not worked that much recently with the medium.
Albert, however, wasn’t buying it. He admired what her brush strokes were producing. “I’ve always loved art,” he said. “I could never do it, but it fascinates me. … I love watching the process.”