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Arts in Central Park returns to Decatur's downtown

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Aleman_Marilyn 09.20.19.JPG (copy)

Marilyn Aleman works to put together one of her ceramic artworks during the 2019 Arts in Central Park. Aleman is from Kokomoko, Indiana, and describes her clay pieces as whimsical and fun. 

DECATUR — Local visual artists will bring their talents back to Decatur this year for the Arts in Central Park.

The event will be Saturday and Sunday in downtown’s Central Park. A special VIP preview party will be held Friday evening, with registration required.

For more than 60 years, artists have had the opportunity to come together, providing a one-stop-shop for customers.

Organizers adjusted to the pandemic last year with a virtual, online shopping event. “But we’re back to in-person and we’re really excited,” said Jerry Johnson, executive director for the Decatur Area Arts Council.

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The online opportunity was created with high expectations, according to Johnson. “But virtual events are not the same as in-person events,” he said. “Therefore, it wasn’t what we had hoped it would be.”

Organizers of this year’s Arts in Central Park will bring back many activities that made it successful in the past. Approximately 50 booths will display a variety of artistry including paintings, pottery, metal sculptures, fiber arts, jewelry, glass, and other pieces.

Children will have the opportunity to select artwork from their own store in the Kids ArtShop in the Anne Lloyd Gallery in the Decatur Area Arts Council, just a few doors southwest of the park. “Children 12 and under can buy kid-priced artwork that is contributed by the artists who are in the park,” Johnson said.

Artist Eric Weatherford talks about creating a new mural at St. Patrick School in Decatur.

The Children’s Museum of Illinois will host the kids’ art activities tent. Live music will be heard wandering through the park. And food trucks will be available during the weekend.

Organizers have invited new activities to this year’s Arts in Central Park. Public Painted Pianos allow the public to play colorful upright pianos placed in the four corners of the park. “They are decorated by local artists,” Johnson said. “They’ll be there for people to just sit down and play.”

Another new feature for the annual artists event is Paint the Pavement. The temporary public arts project is designed for families, artists and other groups, allowing them to create on the park’s sidewalks. “For a small fee, $10, we will supply them with a collection of water soluble paints and assign them a section of the sidewalk,” Johnson said. “They can create a sidewalk mural.”

Registration for Paint the Pavement is suggested. “Or if they decide while they are at the park that they’d like to participate, they can go to the information booth to sign up,” Johnson said. “We will have final say if it remains on the sidewalk.”


Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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