Art Comes Alive in Bronze, Sienna and Technicolor: Deer Path Art League

Conventional art galleries have stark, white-washed walls hung with heavy framed paintings and stoic portraits.

Step inside the Deer Path Art League Gallery, and this standard is thrown to the wind. Bright lighting accentuates the gallery’s technicolor blown glass, bronze sculptures, sienna etchings, and vibrant paintings. The gallery is a constant work in progress due to the work of Vickie Marasco.

Three years ago, Marasco became Gallery Curator for Deer Path Art League. Her title brought more than unique exhibits to its Lake Forest Gorton Community Center headquarters. She has aggressively stepped up the youth arts initiatives within the North Shore while maintaining the League’s reputation for top-notch art classes.

“We [teach] a lot of painting technique, drawing, print making. We have a weaving studio over on West Campus. I think we are the only art league in the area that teaches fiber arts,” says Marasco.

Since becoming curator, Marasco has focused on instilling youth with a love for art.

Each year, the Young Artist Enrichment Program (YEAP) grants a $1,000 scholarship to a Lake Forest High School senior who plans to study art in college.

“[One] of our goals is that we can increase the scholarship,” says Marasco. The money is intended to pay for art supplies.

Through her work with the YEAP, Marasco has partnered with the North Chicago Community Partners and the Boys and Girls Club of Lake County to create an after-school art program. Going on its fourth year, Varasco expects over 300 kids to participate.

“We teach art techniques and provide proper art materials and teach them about famous artists. It’s exciting! The kids are phenomenal,” says Marasco.

Her focus on art enrichment is not the only change that has come to DPAL recently. While remaining loyal to local artists, DPAL has also showcased artists from around the world, including Argentina and France. Held in September, DPAL’s Art Fair on the Square features all of these artists as well as local high school art students.

“That’s our bread and butter, and it’s all volunteer run. We have 180 artists,” says Marasco.

The 2011 Art Fair on the Square will be held September 4 and 5 in downtown Lake Forest. For more information, please visit deerpathartleague.org.