When local artist Amber Robinson decided to participate in Kankakee County's annual Fall Art Stroll last year she had no idea how much it would change her life. "My art career started snowballing after the event and it has not stopped rolling and growing ever since," she said.
Robinson, who creates 3-D paper art and illustrations influenced by Japanese Manga-style comics, has since exhibited her work at several local shows and galleries. She also is finding that her classes in Manga and Anime, a similar style used for Japanese animation, are in growing demand.
The artist gives credit for her success to the Community Arts Council of Kankakee County, which presents the Art Stroll.
"Community Arts Council is made up of a collective group of people which helps give art a voice in our community. Every member is dedicated to seeing art blossom in the Kankakee area by offering events that give the public a chance to see local artists and view their work," Robinson said.
CAC will bring artists together again when it presents the Fall Art Stroll 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday in conjunction with the Kankakee Event Partnership. The Kankakee County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a sponsor this year.
Dozens of fine arts and crafts artisans, including Robinson, will transform Kankakee's historic Depot Park at 199 S. East Ave., into an art Mecca that also will feature good food and plenty of entertainment.
Added to the festivities will be the Kankakee Train Museum's annual Railfest with tours of a Pullman car, caboose and the Kankakee Trolley. Information on the history of the Pullman Company, and the community it built for workers in Chicago, will be included this year. The authentic 1880s push handcart and three model train exhibits also will on display.
The park, with its eye-catching fountain and quaintly restored Depot building, will offer many other attractions. Handmade arts and crafts will range from a variety of paintings, photography, pottery, wood and painted glass creations to custom jewelry, crocheted items, needlework, a display of quilts, concrete leaves and hand-painted porcelain. A special area will be designated for "emerging" artists who have just started exhibiting their work. Artwork will be displayed inside the Depot, along the park's flower-lined walks and in the nearby Clock Tower building.
Janice Miller, president of CAC, is looking forward to this year's Art Walk.
"This event has been held every year since about 1975, although it has changed focus and location several times in the past 10 years. This year the focus is on fine art. It is so good to see the various forms of art all in the beautiful setting of the Depot and its grounds.
"The community enjoys this event, too. Last year it rained the whole day, but people put up their umbrellas and came anyway. The artists were pleased with the support they received and the amount of art they sold. I look forward to seeing everyone again this year," she said.
There also will be demonstrations. Participants of Robinson's American Manga Group will be creating caricatures for interested guests and a chain saw woodcarver will be showing his craft. In addition, there will be a huge used book sale held by the Friends of the Kankakee Public Library.
Children will have their own area for activities. Included will be several games, face painting and a chance for youngsters to create their own chalk art masterpieces on the park's sidewalks.
Entertainment will feature vocalists, choral and gospel groups, instrumentalists, dancers, skits and novelty acts performing in front of the depot and on its back platform.
Admittance is free and there's plenty of parking.
For more information on the stroll or to participate as a vendor, call 815-933-ARTS or log onto www.communityartscouncil.org.