2017-11-30 / Life in Leelanau

At fundraiser, Northport talent on full display

By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff

NORTHPORT SCHOOL art teacher Jenny Evans and senior Lillian Kinker are all smiles at the successful Brush & Fork event held recently at the Village Arts Building in Northport. NORTHPORT SCHOOL art teacher Jenny Evans and senior Lillian Kinker are all smiles at the successful Brush & Fork event held recently at the Village Arts Building in Northport. What do you get when you mix art students, locally grown food, music and lots of community support?

If you happen to live in Northport, you get the Brush & Fork fundraiser held recently at the Village Arts Building.

“The event was a huge success,” said Northport Public School art teacher Jenny Evans. “Students were so proud of the art they created and parents were equally impressed. The building was filled with smiling faces and ‘oohs and ahhhs.’”

Students from third through 12th grade spent the last few months learning about landscape and plein air painting, with their works being shown and sold at the event. Work from the youngest students hung right alongside that of the most accomplished students.

In all, the students produced 71 pieces of art, all of which were sold in a silent auction, raising more than $2,400.

“There wasn’t a single piece left hanging when the show was over,” Evans said.

Of the money raised, $850 will go towards Lillian Kinker’s senior project, which focuses on the farm-to-table movement in Leelanau County. The money will go directly to Meadowlark Farm — where Kinker has worked since she was young — to be used towards food shares that will be given to families who cannot afford the shares on their own.

The rest will go toward developing a Plein Air Studio in Evans’ classroom, as well as field trips for the National Art Honors Society, which the school recently became involved with.

“The event went wonderfully,” said Kinker. “It was well-attended, people were impressed by the landscape and plein air art and enjoyed the farm to table food. It was everything I could have asked for.”

Evans said the event was a blast.

“It was so great looking out across the audience and seeing so many smiling faces,” Evans said. “The place was so packed for the first two hours it was hard to bid on the art. As the night went on it was great to see all the competition that took place as parents and community members attempted to outbid each other for their desired artworks.”

Evans said there were several lessons packed under the umbrella of the actual Brush & Fork event, with students learning just how hard plein air painting is.

“They really struggled when they were out in the field at Thoreson Farm with the wind blowing against their canvases and the sun shifting throughout the day,” she said.

Students also learned how to create the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface, which is a skill that artists of all ages continue to work on and improve, Evans said. They also picked up some pointers on running a large event and seeing it through from beginning to end.

And they learned how to critique a work of art, as well as standing next to it and speaking about it in front of the entire community.

“I think the most important lesson learned, however, is that they were a cog in a large machine that produced a memorable event for all,” Evans said. “They are movers and shakers. They are dreamers and doers. They have the ability, no matter how young they are, to be a part of something great and to create a work of art that impresses the masses.”

Several local farms participated in the event, including Leelanau Cheese, Idyll Farms, Meadowlark Farm, Hillside Homestead, 9 Bean Rows and Tandem Ciders. And attendees were entertained by the band 1000 Watt Prophets and several speakers, including Kinker.

“It was an inspirational night for all who participated, whether they were an artist, a parent, a teacher, or a community member,” she said. “It is culminating moments like this that I am so proud to be a Northport Wildcat, and am amazed by the amount of talent our school holds within it it’s walls.”

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