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ArtWalk blends culture and science

Michael Tripp Montgomery admires works oil pastels painter Mary Anne Cummings during Friday's Downtown AurorFall ArtWalk. | LindGirardi ~ For Sun-Times

Michael Tripp of Montgomery admires the works of oil and pastels painter Mary Anne Cummings during Friday's Downtown Aurora Fall ArtWalk. | Linda Girardi ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 9, 2012 6:04AM

Art lovers found art in all the right places.

“I enjoy the excitement of finding different kinds of art in the cubby hole of places you would not normally walk into,” Ellen Mueller, of Aurora said. “I feel as though I am on a scavenger hunt with the rest of the city.”

Throngs of people visited the heart of downtown Aurora Friday night for the eighth in a series of Aurora ArtWalks that featured the visual and performing arts in six different venues on two blocks of North Broadway Avenue.

Visitors experienced art, music and dance in the Aurora Transportation Center, Two Brothers Roundhouse, Jake’s Bagels & Deli, Comfort Suites Aurora, the Aurora Regional Fire Museum and La Quinta de los Reyes.

The Downtown Aurora Fall ArtWalk was produced by Cultural Creatives, an all-volunteer group that created an urban art scene where people talked one-on-one with artists of all different walks of life and stepped inside some of Aurora’s cultural destinations.

Mary Anne Cummings, an oil and soft pastels painter, had on exhibit six of her pieces in the Comfort Suites, where people seemed drawn to her painting of Union Station in Chicago, including Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and his wife, Marilyn.

“I like the sheer space of the station,” the Aurora artist said.

Cummings, a Fermilab particle physicist working with a group trying to design the next generation of particle accelerators, decided to pick up the painter’s brush earlier this year. She painted the station’s Great Hall from a black and white photograph.

Particle physics on canvas

“I believe that I am a scientist today because I forced myself to draw as a kid,” Cunmings said. “There are basic physics concepts involved in being able to draw properly.”

“In the elements of drawing you have to understand perspective and shadows – it is all physics reflecting off of something. Our art is a reflection of how our eyes reconstruct reality,” she added.

Michael and Brittany Tripp of Montgomery returned to the Aurora ArtWalk after experiencing the last art show over the summer.

“It’s a cool opportunity to support local artists and visit buildings we have never been in before,” Brittany Tripp said.

Laura Mast, of Aurora, an architectural designer, came to the art walk with a group of her friends. “It’s nice to see the community celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of Aurora,” Mast said.

Tia Brooks of Oswego specializes in equine photography by capturing “the moments behind the scenes” and “the intense moments” of horse racing. Her photographs were on exhibit near the Regional Fire Museum’s original 1894 horse stalls and steam fire engine.

Brooks captured Awesome Gem, a past winner of the Illinois Derby accepting the affection of his jockey moments after his victory.

“The race horse and jockeys have a connection people do not realize. It is those amazing moments you do not find in any other job,” Brooks said.

Musicians Noah Gabriel and Santos Ramos performed on acoustic guitars within the surprisingly great acoustics of the Aurora Transportation Center where people mingled past the artworks of dozens of other artists.

But it was in one of the building’s nooks and crannies where there was an interactive, hands-on art project with crayons hot glued to a canvas that captivated young and budding artists.

Fun for young artists

Youngsters cast the heat of hand blow dryers to melt the wax of crayons hot glued to a canvas to create a montage of colors and shapes. Organizers said there were so many kids involved in the project that one of the dryers blew a fuse.

Myrna Molina, of Aurora, said her 6-year old daughter, Eva, is very much into art. “It is extremely valuable for my daughter to meet professional artists who pursue their dreams for a living,” Molina said.

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