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Barry Schrader


I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


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A place of make believe and enlightenment

By Barry Schrader.................................September 8, 2009

After a fruitless trip to Springfield last week for a state board meeting we really found a waste of time, Kay and I needed a day of carefree abandon, a getaway to a land of make believe and enlightenment.
No, we didn’t fly off to Disney World, but joined a group bus tour to the Art Institute of Chicago. Now some people may consider this less than a flight from reality, but some of the Impressionist art is out of this world, and, being Senior Celebrations Day last Thursday, the price was right. After we got home, our neighbor Harriett Kallich asked how we liked the Picassos, and we realized we were so engrossed in the first two floors and the new Modern Wing encompassing an additional 264,000 square feet we never even got to the third floor so missed Picasso this trip.
Even my Genoa-Kingston classmate Paul Buzzell would find some art of interest among the hangings. One of the all-time greats, in fact the most iconic painting of the 20th Century, American Gothic, is on display. You may remember that Grant Wood classic of a farmer and his daughter in front of their house, the man with pitchfork. If Paul was the farmer being portrayed like this today, the three-pronged fork would be replaced by a golf club, I’m sure.
Looking through some other rooms of American art we found paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe whose home studio we once visited in Santa Fe.

This photo shows the iconic American Gothic painting o the armer and daughter

A colorful painting done on staves from a used wine barrel. The artwork has a tie to the Last Supper according to the artist.

My particular favorite is Sunflower done in 1935 and reproduced in poster form all over the world, one of which we possess. That painting wasn’t in the exhibition, but several others of her best work were there.
Then a special exhibit that opened this summer is titled “A Case for Wine: from King Tut to Today.” It was a bit disappointing there were no corks to sniff, tastings to enjoy or even the aroma from an empty oak wine barrel. You had to imagine the mustiness of a winery as you wandered from room to room experiencing the wine art and artifacts from many countries over the centuries. One piece of art was painted on the bowed staves of a used wine barrel. What a colorful and creative creation!
One could go on describing many other works of art, but it is much better if you take a day and visit in person. But for now maybe you should think about the Sandwich Fair this week. There you will find lots of local artwork as well as hundreds of crafts, baked goods, farm produce including some mighty big pumpkins.
I can’t expect to compete with 11-year-old Kailey Mulligan of Sycamore who has the goal of entering 100 things in competition this year, but I did manage to drive two entries of my own down there on Labor Day. I’ll give you a hint—one has a corn dog in it. (Check out the photography exhibit)
I’ll look forward to meeting up with my friend Bill Heriaud from Sandwich who can be found there every day from Wednesday through Sunday maneuvering his cart through the crowds. Bill’s going to show me where I can buy one of those 2009 souvenir pins to wear on my bright yellow DeKalb Ag cap. An extra treat for me will be reuniting with a first-grade classmate formerly from Somonauk, Karol Orstedt, who is coming all the way from Arizona to see the fair and her old friends.

See you at the fair.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115