PEORIA HEIGHTS — Theresa McDade paints. Barb Milaccio designs and creates jewelry. Now both women can add art fair organizer to their artistic resumés.
"Barb is the first person to text me in the morning, and the last one to text me at night," McDade said recently. "And sometimes I'll get (a text) from her in the middle of the night too."
The two women are the co-creators of the reborn Peoria Heights Fine Art Fair, the region's newest arts event coming to Prospect Road in the village for the first time in years on May 11. They conceived of the fair after a successful art show last fall that featured McDade's portraits of breast cancer survivors at Milaccio's Exhibit A Gallery in Peoria Heights that raised money for the Komen Foundation.
An arts fair was the natural follow-up.
"It was sad that the original Heights Art Fair just sort of ended (after 2012) without a lot of attention to it," McDade said. "Our goal was to bring it back better and bigger than it ever was."
The fair will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Saturday of Mothers Day weekend. It will showcase 35 local and regional artists and their juried works, and a few from as far away as Arizona and Wisconsin. The artist's white tents will be lined up on the south side of Prospect Road from Tower Park to Seiberling Avenue. They will face the businesses, allowing visitors to walk the downtown sidewalks to view the artists' exhibits.
Artistic mediums include painting, ceramic, jewelry, fiber, photography, wood, sculpture and more. Local artists who will be exhibiting and selling their works include ceramics by Christopher Kukla of Germantown Hills; ceramic sculpture by Marlene Miller of Washington; hand blown glass works of Hiram Toraason of Peoria; oil paintings by Mary Hildebrand of Metamora; original oil paintings on board by Cathy Enberg of Peoria; paintings by Julie Purdum of Hanna City; paintings of Ken Tiessen, Shelly Koenigs and Andre Petty, all of Peoria and found object sculpture of Morgan Elser of Delavan.
"We are featuring some wonderful artists," Milaccio said. "We totally opted for quality over quantity with our juried selections."
The organizers were looking for diversity in artistic mediums and styles that keep things interesting. It is also a satisfying mix of artists from the Peoria-area and beyond.
"When word circulated that we were bringing the Heights art fair back, we heard from a lot of artists who wanted to be a part of it," McDade said. "It was an easy sell to find people to participate.
The event will feature a children's art festival at Tower Park, DIY pot throwing, caricature drawings, balloon animals, music by Peoria musician Barry Cloyd, vendors and food trucks, free parking at the Heights Library, Pearl and Pabst buildings, buses transporting visitors from the Komen Walk that takes place that morning beginning at the Metro Centre off of University Street to the Heights, a drum circle from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Seiberling and free yoga at 1 p.m. at Heritage Square.
"The best part of the whole thing has been the cooperation of the entire village of Peoria Heights," Milaccio said. "Everything we needed to put this together was 100 percent done in the Heights. All the businesses and organizations truly came together to put this on."
Milaccio and McDade were always in the center of the activity.
"We've put our heart and soul behind this," Milaccio said. "We didn't want it to be small."
For more information, including the layout of the artist's tent exhibits, check out the event website at peoriaheightsfineartfair.org.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.