Deerfield’s Festival of Fine Art takes over downtown

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More than 150 artists will display and sell their work during Deerfield’s 12th annual Festival of Fine Art from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 30 and June 1, just east of the downtown railroad station.

Of the three featured artists — Debra Dembowski of Pewaukee, Wisc.; Frederick Prescott of Santa Fe, N.M., and Lisa Williams of Chicago — Dembowski has been at every Deerfield show since it began and Prescott is making his debut.

“I have a lot of clients in Deerfield and it will be nice to be near them,” Prescott said. “I’ve made lots of deliveries there and it will be fun to come to Deerfield and do the show.”

Prescott’s sculpture of giant animals, whose heads sway in the wind, is not new to residents of the North Shore who may have seen his work at other nearby shows. He has been displaying his art in the Chicago area for years, although his career actually began in his father’s machine shop in California.

“My father built coin meters for Laundromats,” Prescott said. “He was a workaholic who wanted his oldest son around him. When he would go out to see customers I started making sculptures. I had the place to myself unsupervised.”

After crafting his creations out of steel he learned to paint them, too, and his career was on its way.

“Who knew marrying steel with color and paint would turn into to kinetic art which would sway in the wind,” Prescott said.

Dembowski has been showing her mixed media pieces, including lots of jewelry, for the full 12 years of the festival, and she is glad to be returning.

“I really enjoy the summer shows like Deerfield,” Dembowski said. “The customers are very well educated and appreciate art. I am always happy to be there.”

Finding her themes in nature, Dembowski describes her work as mixed media that usually turns into a pin or pendant. She often paints faces on her metal works, to “give them personality” and use shapes she finds outdoors.

“My inspiration is found in the garden with flowers and animals,” Dembowski said. “I add faces to them to make them feel real.”

Williams will be returning to the festival for the first time in several years and is also glad to be back.

“It’s in my area and it’s nice to be able to sleep at home at night. I have a 5-year old,” said Williams, who creates jewelry from flat silver and wire with an urban flair.

“They’re very feminine and complex,” Williams said. “I try to make it exciting with color.”

In addition to Prescott, Dembowski and Williams, 147 other artists will line Park Avenue with their work, alongside Jewett Park just east of the railroad station. They come from 28 states and Canada, according to spokesperson Debbie Netter.

For those who want to hear art, too, there will be live music throughout the show both days. The sounds will range from classical performed by young musicians to jazz and rock.

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