Budding artists take a bow in Oak Lawn

  • Written by Kelly White


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                                                                           Photo by Kelly White

Kelsey Klusacek, 9, of Oak Lawn, and her grandmother, Kate Monahan, of Oak Lawn, look over some of Kelsey's artwork she submitted into the Oak Lawn Park District’s Community Art Day on March 11 at the Oak View Center in Oak Lawn.


Kate Monahan has taken great pride in passing down one of her favorite hobbies to those she holds dearest to her heart -- painting. She enjoys spending afternoons with acrylic paints and her granddaughters, Kelsey Klusacek, 9, and Jordyn Klusacek, 10.

“Painting came very naturally to the girls and it’s something that we can all enjoy doing together,” said Monahan, of Oak Lawn.

“I’ve been painting with my grandma for about five years now, and it’s always so fun and something I really look forward to,” Kelsey Klusacek, also of Oak Lawn, said.

Oak Lawn Park District paid homage to its local artists, like the Klusacek sisters, on March 11 during the third annual Community Art Day and Competition at the Oak View Center.

The free event was open to all ages and featured a variety of art, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photography from 60 artists.

“The Oak Lawn Park District is dedicated to embracing and celebrating the arts, and we wanted a chance for the community to come together to showcase their talents,” said Michael Sinkewich, recreation supervisor for the Oak Lawn Park District. “We use this event to encourage art in the community by not only allowing local artists to showcase their talents, but by allowing everyone in attendance the opportunity to experience local art and to learn art techniques from the artists at the event.”

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Photo by Kelly White 

Maeve Hughes, 6, of Oak Lawn, is happy with the finger-paintings she created for the third annual Community Art Day and Competition at the Oak View Center in Oak Lawn.


During the event, there was a youth gallery set-up for artists ages 6 to 18 to showcase up to five pieces of their artwork and enter the youth art competition.  The youth art competition encompassed awards presented by Laurie Snaer, art instructor for the Oak Lawn Park District, and ribbons were presented for first, second, and third place, along with awards for honorable mentions and trophies for “Best in Show,” “Young Budding Artist,” “Most Promising Artist” and “Best Use of a Medium.” A people’s choice award was available for patrons to vote for their favorite artist.

Aspiring to become an artist when she grows up, Julia Bolcarolic knew this was the perfect way to get her artwork out into the open.

“I’ve always liked art because of the outcome,” said Bolcarolic, 10, of Oak Lawn. “You can share anything you create with others and they can hang it up in their homes.”

Artist Maeve Hughes, 6, of Oak Lawn, agreed.

“Art is amazing because you can put your mind into it and make anything you want,” she said.

The event did not stop at the youth artists, as an adult gallery was held in a separate room artwork display. Some of the adult artists also demonstrated a variety of art techniques that they have been working on while creating their masterpieces. 

An interactive movie and art project was also available for all attendees to enjoy.

No art was sold at the event. However, artists had the option to pass out their contact information if they wanted to sell their artwork after the event.

“We believe that everyone is an artist, no matter their age, and that is definitely on display at this event,” Sinkewich said. “The art created and showcased at our event by both youth and adults is incredible.”

The first Community Art Day was held in October of 2015. Prior to that, the park district offered a youth art competition for 10 years, according to Sinkewich.

“We transitioned into the Community Art Day because we wanted to expand beyond the youth artists,” he said. “So, we created an event that was able to encompass artists of all ages and abilities and expose our entire community to art. This event is a great reminder of the many benefits of art in the community, and we hope that everyone in attendance takes home that message and brings art into their lives. “