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‘Sculpting WILD’ juried art show opens March 2 at Forest Preserve’s Plum Creek Nature Center

This bear sculpture by Bud Hainzinger is one of 38 pieces that will vie for top honors in the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s “Sculpting WILD” juried art show. The show runs from March 2-April 3 at Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township near Beecher. Nature center visitors can vote for their favorite piece in the People’s Choice Award contest. (Photo by Forest Preserve staff | Chad Merda)

A wide variety of nature scenes crafted with everything from recycled metal to chocolate will be on display when the “Sculpting WILD” juried art show is on display from Tuesday, March 2, to Saturday, April 3, at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township.

Suzy Lyttle, a Forest Preserve program coordinator overseeing the show, said she would encourage nature and art lovers to view the sculptures and soak in their beauty and creativity.

“Visiting the show is a great way to get out of the house and experience nature in a different way,” she said. “You don’t have to hike in the deep snow to find this nature! Nature has always been a source of inspiration for art, so it’s really nice to see plants, animals and their homes through someone else’s lens.”

The sculptures range in size from 7 inches to 7 feet tall and the nature topics they depict include birds, animals, birdhouses, plants, abstracts and more. The most unusual entry is a sculpture of a opossum made out of chocolate that was created by an artist who competes in cake decorating contests.

The show features artists with a wide variety of experience including those who have been making art as a diversion during the pandemic, students in school and professionals. Artists come from all over the county including Crete, Homewood, Joliet, Lockport, Monee, New Lenox and Park Forest.

Plum Creek visitors can view the artwork and vote at the nature center for the People’s Choice Award. Online voting for this award via Facebook also will be available at a later date. (Details to come.)

The free, all ages show can be viewed during nature center hours, Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. The building is closed on Mondays and it also will be closed for Good Friday on Friday, April 2. The nature center is located at 27064 S. Dutton Road, north of Goodenow Road, in Crete Township near Beecher.

This is the third year for the Forest Preserve District’s juried art show, but the first one open to sculptures only. Fifty-three pieces were submitted for the show and 38 were chosen as finalists.

A jury will choose the art show’s first, second and third place sculptures and $500, $250 and $200 gift cards will be awarded to the winners, respectively. The People’s Choice Award winner will receive a $100 gift card. The contest is sponsored by The Nature Foundation of Will County, www.willcountynature.org. The jury is made up of Lyttle; sculptor Steve Kost, last year’s first-place winner; art teacher Eryn Blaser; and Jim Flax, a member of The Nature Foundation of Will County.

Please note: Masks must be worn inside Forest Preserve buildings, including Plum Creek Nature Center, with the exception of those younger than 2 years old and those with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing one, per state guidelines.

For more information on Forest Preserve District exhibits and programs, visit the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org.


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