First Friday event to feature portraits exhibit

CRYSTAL LAKE – The First Friday event on Friday in the Dole Mansion at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park in Crystal Lake is a first in many respects.

Titled “Visage: Out of the Ordinary Portraits,” the juried exhibit showcases 14 artists and features an array of mediums including photography, mixed media, sculpture and oils.

“Portraits are usually downplayed in art shows. Artists tend not to bring them because they don’t sell,” said Jeffrey Sevener, an English teacher and artist from Crystal Lake. “Nobody wants to buy a portrait of someone they don’t know.”

But rather than shrink from that challenge, First Friday artists Sevener and Angela Swan of Lakewood turned the facial form on its head and recruited a number of other artists to do likewise.

“We thought about trying to have a show in terms of alternate-style portraits that portray a person from a different lens than normal, with paper or in spray paint or seeing how a person changes over time,” Sevener said.

Sevener, a Crystal Lake Central High School graduate who counts the 1920s among his inspirations, favors spray and acrylic paints used in a way that creates stark contrast – using color, shadow or bright light.

“In recent history we have not done such a broad call for art under a theme like this,” said Erin McElroy, advancement coordinator for the Lakeside Legacy Foundation. “You can see in every portrait a story. … There are different perspectives, different mediums. Each mini-exhibit is awesome.”

McElroy cited Ginnie Lange, a Crystal Lake photographer who chronicled the people of Ghana after partnering with the nonprofit relief organization International Aid Services. Her images in the Friday show reflect stories of hope, betterment and triumph over appalling circumstances.

“One of my most sincere ambitions is to see my photography used to change lives,” Lange said. “I strive to capture images that will awaken in all of us the desire to reach outside ourselves and extend a hand.”

The McHenry County Historical Society also will be on hand to sell chances to win a one-of-a-kind necklace created by Studio 2015 Jewelry in Woodstock. “The Tempest” features a 41-count Pietersite gemstone, accented by a hand-crafted, 18 karat, yellow gold pendant and 15 points of round diamonds.

Tickets are $20 each and the total number to be sold is 300. The drawing will be Nov. 2 at the society’s 50th anniversary dinner at the Starline Factory in Harvard. All proceeds benefit the society.

First Friday runs from 5 to 8 p.m. at 401 Country Club Road in Crystal Lake. Visitors are encouraged to view art, mingle with the artists, enjoy music and explore the Dole Mansion, all while enjoying light appetizers and a cash bar. They are free to attend, but donations to the foundation are appreciated.

For information, visit www.lakesidelegacy.org. Artwork can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Sept. 20.

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