Students flag designs for June 19-27 Fields Project

Art students from Rochelle, Polo, Ashton, Stillman Valley, Byron and Pecatonica high schools braved knee-high grass and light drizzle May 6 to plot two field sculptures for the Sixth Annual Fields Project scheduled for June 19-27.

Student Project Coordinator and Byron High School art teacher Maja Shoemaker said: “Having art students from six high schools work together is tremendously exciting. The submissions were so good this year, the students will actually be creating two 10-acre field designs.”

She continued: “One design features a coconut palm tree and is very refreshing. The other features an old-time square rigger sailing ship and may be our most complex design ever. We’re hoping the natural hills in the field will help us create the sense of rolling waves.”

Airplane rides will be available from the Ogle County Airport on Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27, to view the sculptures. Plane rides will be available for $20 this year. All together, six 10-to 15-acre field sculptures will be on display for the Sixth Annual Fields project.

The Fields Project celebrates the century long marriage of art and agriculture in Ogle County and culminates with an Art Show and Festival at Mix Park in Oregon, Ill., on June 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Fields Project has recruited a group of 21 visiting artists for the June 19-27 event. The artists will arrive from as far away as Maine and California to live with Ogle County farm families while creating original art in the scenic Rock River Valley. Overall, artists from nine states have been selected for the program.

The Festival promises to be especially lively this year with live music, free children’s activities, great food, and exhibits by 40 professional artists. The Sixth Annual Fields Project will also feature 11 sculptors and eight area artists.

All 40 artists were selected for the event by the Fields Project Committee. Committee standards used for the selection were based on slides of the artist’s work submitted with an application. Each artist was required to demonstrate a commitment to the relationship between art and agriculture. As Committee Co-Coordinator Betty Adams likes to say, “Agriculture is food for the table, and art is food for the soul.”

Among the 21 selected visiting Fields Project artists, four will be creating 10 to 15 acre field sculptures; while the other artists will be working in oil, acrylic and watercolor paints, pencil sketches, photography and pastels. One conceptual landscape mosaic artist, Joseph Ingoldsby, from Massachusetts, will be creating a field sculpture featuring a flock of endangered cranes in flight. Whitney Krueger of Santa Fe, N.M., and third-time Ogle County field sculptor, will be sculpting a monkey to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Monkey. Zach Chupa, of Newark, Del., will be sculpting “Chemical Chaos,” an interpretation of electrical activity seen in chemical reactions of amoebae. Donna Zarbin-Byrne of Evanston, Ill., hopes to sculpt text into her 10-to 20-acre field.

The Fields Project objectives are to focus public attention on art and agriculture; introduce visiting artists to the historic setting and activity of the Eagles’ Nest Art Colony, which thrived here from 1898 to 1942; and create new relationships and understanding between artists and farm families. For more information, call (815) 732-2385 or visit The Fields Project Web site

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