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Creating a more arts-friendly community

Opinion: Editorials

September 19th, 2017 2:27 PM

"Shanahan's on Madison," a watercolor by Lin Beribak. | Submitted by Lin Beribak

By John Rice

Columnist / Staff reporter

Lin Beribak is a lifelong Forest Parker and one of the village's many homegrown artists. Her preferred medium is painting watercolors. She chose transparent watercolors, because they glow with light. Her aim is to capture light and bright colors in her paintings. Her works have found their way into private collections across the U.S. As one satisfied customer said, "Lin's paintings capture memories with warmth and joy."

As much as she likes bringing joy and furthering her own career, Lin has been heavily involved in supporting her fellow artists in town. She joined the committee that planned the painting of Circle Bridge, which was led by Sally Cody, who arranged for the village to seal the cement and rust-proof the fence. She also joined the Forest Park Arts Alliance. Part of that nonprofit's mission statement is to "host community events that promote the arts."

Garage Galleries, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7, certainly fits that mold. Lin is also on that committee. So far, about 30 artists have committed to this unique event. The committee came up with a new roster of artists, and Lin said the samples she's seen have been "stunning." They will display their artwork inside 14 garages scattered throughout Forest Park. Art will also be on display at the Eagles Hall, which will serve as the headquarters for the event. Ted Gordon will paint a portrait there and patrons can pick up maps to start their journey.

For those who haven't participated in past years, the concept is simple: Patrons can walk, bike, or drive to the host garages and view works of art. They can enjoy a beverage and purchase a piece if they choose. Hundreds of villagers have turned out in past years, even the year it rained. Lin believes Garage Galleries is good for Forest Park and her own career.

She and like-minded people want to make Forest Park a more arts-friendly community. They want to encourage local artists and give them exposure. The new Forest Park Arts Alliance hopes to be supportive of all kinds of arts; visual, spoken word and musical. One artist is covering both bases at Garage Galleries. She will be performing songs she has composed for each of her paintings on display at the Eagles Hall. 

The Eagles are one of the sponsors for the event. Kiwanis is also contributing. Jerry Lordan is spearheading it, and he's being assisted by veteran garage hosts like Andrea DiFebo. Ralph and Andrea have a "garage-mahal" at 1110 Thomas, where Lin will display her watercolors. 

"I paint pretty pictures that uplift your mind," Lin said. "Other artists have heavier themes."

I displayed my own "pretty picture" a few years ago. It was a landscape of Ireland's Cliffs of Moher, which I painted with acrylics at Creativita. I guess you can describe my style as "primitive," one step above finger-painting. It didn't sell but it made a meaningful gift to a friend whose family hails from that region. 

Lin will have her own landscapes, florals and cityscapes on display. They are available at "wholesale" prices, with no gallery mark-up. This includes her watercolor, "Shanahan's on Madison." In my opinion, it says at least 1,000 words about the spirit of Forest Park. 

Leave it to our town to come up with a cultural event that has no parallel on the planet. 

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.