September 23, 2013 • 08:44:58 a.m.

Beautiful works, weather combine to draw hundreds to Batavia art fest

By JONATHAN BILYK - jbilyk@shawmedia.com

BATAVIA - Chris and Holly Miller didn't wake up Sunday morning intending to bring their three young children to Batavia's riverfront to admire the booths full of paintings, photographs, sculptures, carvings and more.

But by the time the Batavia family had finished their lunch at a nearby restaurant, the opportunity to soak in some natural and human-made beauty proved too strong a draw to pass up.

"This is a first for us, coming here," said Chris Miller. "But it's a great chance to get out and take in some sunshine and a little culture, at the same time."

Sunday, the Millers were among hundreds who stopped in at the Batavia Riverwalk for the city's annual Art in Your Eye festival.

Organizers moved the event this year to mid-September to try a different scheduling option to escape the heat, humidity and stormy conditions typical of August, when the event had been held in years past.

However, as in years past, the event again boasted dozens of artists from Kane County, the Chicago area and beyond, who turned out to exhibit and sell their works.

Inside Batavia City Hall, local artists displayed art works in a juried competition .

But the big draw, amid sunny fall weather conditions over the festival's two-day run proved to be the tented outdoor exhibits in the festival's outdoor art fair.

Artists exhibited art produced using a range of techniques and media.

Batavia resident Ezra Siegel exhibited several of his abstract and myth-based paintings, drawing a steady stream of visitors and selling a few works.

This weekend marked the first time Siegel has exhibited in Batavia, as the Chicago native and world-traveled artist has typically missed Art in Your Eye in years past due to schedule conflicts.

He noted this year, thanks to the new date, he was able to attend and add his works to the collections on display

He said he hopes events like Art in Your Eye can help Batavia gain prominence within the regional artistic communities.

"There is a younger generation moving into this area, people who are fairly worldly, and sophisticated," Siegel said. "I'm hoping Batavia gets put on the map for its community of artists, this fair and (local art studio) Water Street."

The opportunity to peruse the artistic displays proved to be an attractive option for many Sunday, including Don and Kathy Adams, of Aurora.

The couple said they enjoy visiting outdoor art shows, but had not been to Batavia's before.

"We're really enjoying this one so far," said Kathy Adams. "It seems larger, more spacious, and a lot less hectic."

And Laura Shepp, of Naperville, and Rick Nolte, of Bloomingdale, stopped in at Art in Your Eye as they rode their bicycles north on the Fox River Trail from North Aurora.

"We just kind of ended up here," said Shepp. "But we're going to stay and check it out.

"It's a beautiful day. Why not?"


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