Lake Forest, artists ready for art fair
Lake Forest artist Mark McMahon, son of the late artist Frankiln McMahon, who was one of the founders of the Art Fair on the Square, shows some of his works in his basement studio. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 6, 2012 1:54PM
LAKE FOREST — World-recognized artist Mark McMahon has set up a tent with his work at Art Fair on the Square for so many years that he’s not really sure what other people do over the long Labor Day weekend.
“I was raised doing that show,” he said.
The 58th annual Art Fair on the Square in Lake Forest’s Market Square will find McMahon, a longtime Lake Forest resident, holding court in his usual spot at the southwest corner of the Square from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
“My son still comes to help me set up,” said McMahon, whose father and mother were among the founders of the Deer Path Art League, which hosts the fair annually, and the fair itself. In fact, McMahon’s father, the renowned Franklin McMahon, who died earlier this year, will be among a number of artists honored in memoriam.
Mark McMahon will have a representation of his father’s paintings in his booth for the multitude of visitors he draws every year.
“I think he’d be pleased,” Mark McMahon said of his dad.
When Mark McMahon and his brothers and sisters “cut their teeth” showing their artwork at the Market Square art fair, it was just a neighborhood art show.
“I think I started when I was 10,” said McMahon, who still believes the Lake Forest fair is a good place for young artists to learn.
“Art Fair on the Square was the place you would go and put up your work in the morning, then walk around and get a feeling for how you were doing compared to other artists,” he said.
That’s what McMahon still does today.
“I talk to a lot of people. I start at 7 a.m. and don’t stop until 7 p.m.,” he said.
What began as a showplace for local artists in the 1950s this year will include the original work of 180 artists from 24 states with work in 16 art disciplines. Prices of the juried artists’ pieces will range from $50 to $10,000. Nearly 500 national and international artists applied to participate in the event, according to the Deer Path Art League website.
A Deer Path Art League member for 35 years, President Jolan Horen marvels at how the fair has changed in the number of artists showing and the number of people it draws. Horen is grateful for the show’s size and staying power.
“It is our biggest benefit,” she said. “It helps us to be able to have art classes at a reasonable price at the Gorton Community Center for children and adults.”
Getting children and teens interested in art is a major focus of the Deer Path Art League.
Specialty booths for children will include Creation Station, an interactive children’s art tent; the Young Artists gallery, where 20 area students from 7- to 17-year-olds will display and sell art-inspired creations, including picture frames, boxes and earrings; and an Emerging Artists area, which highlights the work of high school and college students.
Barbara Fenton of the Deer Path Art League encourages the public to attend the fair.
“It’s an art event and a social event where you can mix and mingle and talk,” she said.
Lake Forest’s Economic Development Coordinator Susan Kelsey said the fair is good for the community.
Art Fair on the Square “not only displays unique art from around the country, but showcases Lake Forest as a wonderful place to live, work and play,” she said.
More information on the fair is available at www.deerpathartleague.org.