A wide variety of nature scenes crafted with everything from recycled metal to chocolate are on display through April 3 as part of the “Sculpting WILD” juried art show at Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township.
The free, all ages show can be viewed during nature center hours, Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. The building is closed on Mondays and it also will be closed for Good Friday on Friday, April 2.
This is the third year for the Forest Preserve District’s juried art show, but the first one open to sculptures only. The 53 overall entries provided more than enough variety and skill to choose 38 finalists for the show, said Suzy Lyttle, a Forest Preserve program coordinator who is overseeing the competition.
Now that the final pieces have been chosen, visitors can view the artwork at Plum Creek Nature Center and vote for the People’s Choice Award. Online voting for this award via Facebook also will be available. (Details to come.)
The juried art show is exclusively featuring sculptures this year for two reasons, Lyttle explained.
“We’re trying to keep the show different every year,” she said. “And we are looking for future sculpture trails in the preserve, so this is a good way to meet our community artists.”
The sculptures range in size from 7 inches to 7 feet tall and the nature topics they depict include birds, animals, birdhouses, plants, abstracts and more, Lyttle said. The most unusual entry is a sculpture of a opossum made out of chocolate that was created by an artist who competes in cake decorating contests.
“It is great to see how artists interpret 'wild,'” Lyttle said. “There are so many different mediums and ideas that these artists have explored and brought to life.”
Lyttle said the show features artists with a wide variety of experience including those who have been making art as a diversion during the pandemic, students in school and professionals. Artists come from all over the county including Crete, Homewood, Joliet, Lockport, Monee, New Lenox and Park Forest.
A jury will choose the art show’s first, second and third place sculptures and $500, $250 and $200 gift cards will be awarded to the winners, respectively. The People’s Choice Award winner will receive a $100 gift card. The contest is sponsored by The Nature Foundation of Will County.
The jury is made up of Lyttle; sculptor Steve Kost, last year’s first-place winner; art teacher Eryn Blaser; and Jim Flax, a member of The Nature Foundation of Will County.
Lyttle said she would encourage nature and art lovers to visit Plum Creek to view the sculptures and soak in their beauty and creativity.
“Visiting the show is a great way to get out of the house and experience nature in a different way,” she said. “You don’t have to hike in the deep snow to find this nature! Nature has always been a source of inspiration for art, so it’s really nice to see plants, animals and their homes through someone else’s lens.”
Please note: Masks must be worn inside Forest Preserve buildings, including Plum Creek Nature Center, with the exception of those younger than 2 years old and those with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing one, per state guidelines.
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