Get on Down to Alley Art

In Art, Culture, Events on August 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

frankencutie don picton

It’s not everyday that something made in Aurora ends up on the Conan O’Brien show. So when Don Picton’s girlfriend, Joanna Goss, heard that his handcrafted, blue plastic Frankencutie was on the show, Goss immediately notified her friends via an excited Facebook post.


Soon after, several Facebook friends posted the video clip featuring Picton’s half-Frankenstein and half-doll toy sitting on the keyboard during musician Jenny Lewis’ performance on the late night show.


It was a shining moment for Picton, but it’s not the first time that he and Goss, both artists living in Aurora, have achieved recognition for their artwork. The creative couple has worked with popular podcast hosts, comedians, and retail stores.


But we can say that we knew them when. The couple started their independent art adventures shortly before the first Alley Art Festival in 2010. Picton will return for the festival’s fifth year, but Goss, a designer at Emerson Creek Pottery and Tearoom, will be busy at work.  


Picton and Goss are among several talented, local artists who have shown their art and handcrafted wares on the last Saturday in August at Alley Art Festival in downtown Aurora.


Over 60 artists will set up along downtown’s Water Street Mall this year from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30.



Not only will Picton’s Frankencuties be for sale, but Chris Hodge’s famed, whimsical prints will be priced to sell, along with Matt Cargill’s hand-detailed mid-century furniture, Jeff Weber’s guitars, Gail Chrisse’s steampunk jewelry, and more.


Alley Art Festival provides a great opportunity to meet the many artists who live and create in the Aurora area. Some operate successful Etsy pages, and some show their work locally and regionally at galleries and art events like First Fridays in Downtown Aurora.


I’ve filled my house with artwork that we’ve purchased at Alley Art Festival, and I never get so many compliments as when I wear jewelry by Valerie William, of St. Charles.


Whether you are looking to give a gift of silhouettes by artist Cassidy Alexander, decorate a room with one-of-a-kind watercolor pieces by Rosa Nevarez, or you want to get your hands on a Chris Evans original, Alley Art Festival is where you will want to be this Saturday.


Alley Art Festival runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Water Street Mall between Downer and Galena near City Hall. For more information about Alley Art Festival, visit Alley Art Festival on Facebook.

Alley Art Festival Music


Alley Art Festival: Final Artist List 2014

In Art, Culture, Events, People on August 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Don Picton Mastosquid

Say what? Alley Art Festival is happening from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30? Sweet!

Check out the lineup of this year’s artists. You’ll want to make a day of it, so we invited Jerry’s Hot Dogs and Two Brothers Cafe out to keep everyone fed. We’ll also have music and spectacle all day long.

Come on down and have a real good time on Water Street Mall (between Downer and Galena) in downtown Aurora.


Alice DuBois
Angie Hibbon
Ariel Hodge
Becka Davis
Carlos Deltoro
Cassidy Alexander
Charles Huff
Chris Evans
Chris Hodge
Chris Pawlowski
Chris Szostek
Chrissy Wright
Christina Gutierrez
Daniel Cox
Darius Hurley
Desiree Franklin
Don Picton
Ellis Maldonado
Fareeha Bakhrani
Gail Chrisse
Georgia Alderson
Jeanne Hoch
Jeff Weber
Jennifer Edmondson
Jessi Cox
Jill Amoni
Joe Hadamik
John Burke
John Heinz
Judi Kickel
Katrina Henderson
Kirsten Thomas
Kris DuCharme
Kristin Jones
Laura Wright
Leslie Sabella
Lita Lu
Lydia Crist
Madeline Schuster
Marie Lubshina
Matt Cargill
Michael Kriz
Michelle Miller
Miguel SZ
Mike Mancuso
Mike Smith
Natalie Picchi
Omar Torres
Pierre Lucero
Raul Rodea
Robert Gratcyk
Rosa Nevarez
Roz Anomaly
Sasha Tweel
Solange Henson
Sophia Coulter
Staci Lockman
Susi Daniel
TJ Banks
Teresa Millies
Timothy Campbell
Tom Liebing
Turts McGurts
Valerie William

Want more? Facebook it HERE.

What does ANPI want with my neighborhood?

In Places on July 22, 2014 at 9:38 pm

What is ANPI and what does it want with my neighborhood? Those are the two questions that I was asking myself after a friend emailed me to tell me about Aurora Neighborhood Planning Initiative’s latest project: my neighborhood!

You can read about it HERE, but that wasn’t enough for me, so I asked Todd Vanadilok, senior planner with Teska Associates, Inc. to give me a call. He did, and I was thrilled to ask him many questions about the project.

This year’s Aurora Neighborhood Planning Initiative (ANPI) focuses on the West Side neighborhood that stretches west of Lake Street, surrounds Aurora University, and borders itself by Prairie to the South, Garfield to the North, and Edgelawn to the West. It’s basically the Boulevard District meets Aurora University area.

Vanadilok said this ANPI neighborhood is the seventh that the city of Aurora has taken on since starting the program in 2003. Six neighborhoods ran through the program from 2003 to 2008. Things were then stalled due to funding issues in 2008, but the program is up and running again this year.

I asked Vanadilok about the goals of the program, and he said that they meet about three to four times with neighborhood residents to decide on specific goals (such as street lighting, safety, public transportation, and any quality of life issues).

In meeting with neighborhood “stakeholders,” ANPI identifies both problematic issues and positive attributes of the neighborhood and comes up with an action plan to take to the city’s planning commission and then the City Council for approval.

“ANPI has more of a focus on older parts of the city. It gives older, established neighborhoods a voice,” Vanadilok said.

As part of the process, a leadership committee was formed early on and recently met at Wesley Methodist Church on Galena and May. The next meeting on Monday, August 11 at Wesley Methodist Church welcomes neighborhood stakeholders to join in on the discussion.

Future meetings will be held on Sept. 8, Oct. 6, and conclude on Nov. 3. Anyone invested in the neighborhood is welcome to join the discussion.

Vanadilok said that the West Side neighborhood has many positive attributes including many schools. “There are many assets to build upon,” he said.

Want to know more? Check out the official ANPI handbook HERE. 


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