Local artists’ palettes color pavement

By Nina Gougis

Saturday afternoon, an ordinary city parking lot was transformed into a canvas for more than 70 artists during Art Attack’s first Paint the Pavement event in Sycamore.

The event took place from 1 to 5 p.m. in a parking lot across the street from the Art Attack School of Art, 215 W. Elm St., and included an art contest for professional artists and amateurs, face painting and games.

Art Attack is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing art education to the community through year-round classes and special events.

Susan Edwards, Art Attack’s founder and executive director, said she borrowed the idea from a similar event held in Morrison. She said she was pleased with the turnout and plans to make it an annual event.

The organization raised more than $700 worth of paint and supplies for the event with the help of several sponsors.

For the art contest, each artist was placed into a professional or amateur category and given a 4-by-6-foot painting section. First, second and third place winners were chosen for each category.

The amateur prizes included a free class at Art Attack, candy from the DeKalb Confectionary, 149 N. Second St., and a gift certificate from Sycamore’s Ben Franklin Crafts, 341 E. State St.

Winners from the professional category received a gift certificate to Sycamore’s Taxco Mexican Restaurant, 223 W. State St.

Nikki Parlette, a freshman art major at Kishwaukee College, won the second-place professional prize for her abstract mermaid painting. She said she volunteered because of the encouraging environment the organization provides.

“I just really like art, and I wanted to be someplace where I felt comfortable and at home,” Parlette said.

Other participants, like Sycamore art teacher Ross Martin, liked the event because it allowed others – his students especially – to observe his work.

Martin, who designed the Art Attack school’s mural and logo, said art education can play a vital role in children’s social and intellectual development.

“Whatever children study – whether it’s math, history or social studies – they come to understand those things better through a good art program,” Martin said.

With the help of her two children, Zabrina Atkins, Art Attack secretary, won the first place amateur prize for her “Spirit of Bug’s Life” mural, which included characters from Disney films “Spirit” and “A Bug’s Life.” She said the best part of participating in the event was seeing so many people having a good time.

“Any time you can add some color to someone’s world, it’s a good thing,” Atkins said.

In addition to art programs, the organization will host its annual wine tasting and art show fundraiser Nov. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Art Attack School of Art.