Dear artists,

The Oak Park Public Library has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host a “Big Read” from mid-September to mid-November 2007. We received additional funding from Rotary Club and the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library.

Readers in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park will be encouraged to read and discuss A Farewell to Arms. The three community libraries are joining with the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park and the Historical Society, as well as Dominican and Concordia universities, to offer book discussions and special events during the Big Read.

In addition, the library, in collaboration with the Oak Park Area Arts Council and the Oak Park Art League, will host an art show in the library gallery in October 2007 titled, “Hemingway in Love and War: A Local Writer’s Footprints on the World.” Artists who live in the tri-village area covered by the Oak Park Area Arts Council (Oak Park, River Forest, and Forest Park) are invited to create art (painting, block print, multi-media, photograph) that celebrates the theme. We will have limited space for three-dimensional artwork in our display cases located throughout the Oak Park Public Library.

I hope you will apply to be part of this juried show. Deadline for submission of applications will be Friday, Aug. 17. Artists will be notified of acceptance by the jury by Friday, Aug. 31. All final, framed artwork would be submitted to the library by Wednesday, Sept. 26. The show would open Monday, Oct. 1, with a reception for the artists on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the library gallery.

You will be welcome to sell your painting/artwork – we will have a price list available for prospective buyers. If you decide to sell your work as a result of this special exhibit, the library requests a 20-percent commission. These proceeds will be added to the art funds for the library’s permanent art collection.

For inspiration, we have many biographies of Ernest Hemingway in our library collection on the third floor of the Main Library. Two of his sisters, Marcelline and Madelaine (“Sunny”), wrote about life in the Hemingway household as they grew up.

If you have questions about The Big Read or this invitation to artists, please contact Debby Preiser at 708/697-6915 or

Deborah Dowley Preiser
Oak Park Public Library

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