West End Arts Festival provides artists with creative outlet

Small artists, businesses present, sell work to local community


Artist tents await shoppers at the West End Arts Festival on Burlington Avenue on Sept. 10 (Barbera/LION).

Olivia Grefenstette, Opinions Editor

On Sept. 10-11, the West End Arts Festival was held for the 26th year on Burlington Avenue between Waiola and Brainard, in La Grange, after having to adjust to COVID-19 regulations, such as the mask mandate, the past two years. While the rain on Sept. 11 caused the festival to be canceled one day early, the crowds on Sept. 10 were similar to those of pre-COVID years.

Local musicians and bands, such as LT’s Deplorable Behavior, also performed for festival-goers on the Art of Music stage. 

Aside from the local artist booths, the West End Arts Festival offered food from local vendors, such as Chills Italian Ice and Milk Money Brewery. The festival, funded by the La Grange Business Association, brings in business to local shops and restaurants and has brought in some of the biggest crowds of the year for nearby restaurants, LT art teacher, Patrick Page said. 

The La Grange Environmental Quality commission also made an appearnce at the festival, advertising local sustainability events and green initiatives to vote for on the upcoming ballot. The commission also provided festival-goers with guides on composting and recycling at home.

Even LT students were involved in this festival. A handful of art students got the opportunity to sell or present their artwork to the community. These pieces ranged in medium from ceramics to stickers to graphic tees. 

“By having us get the opportunity to sell and show off [our art], it allows for us to understand what it is like to be an artist,” Taylor Fergon ‘23 said. “Even though it’s on a local level, you are still getting exposure.”

For the past nine years, Page has gotten AP art students involved in this festival. The West End Art Festival is a good way for students to get ideas and make connections, Page said. 

“This is a big step to put your work out there and get that feedback,” Page said. “So when we try to write steps to grow on, that’s the first step.”

Besides the artistic opportunity and exposure that can come from the festival, one of the other benefits of the West End Arts Festival is the connection with the local community, the social aspect of this gathering, both Fergon and Page said.

“Even just getting to see everyone come out on a really nice day to come and see what people have created is such a unique experience and is really gratifying too,” Fergon said.