RIVERSIDE – Working with his hands throughout his life helped Jim Claydon of Riverside acquire the skills to become an artist.
Claydon was a router and fabricator while serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the SeaBees, whose members carry out military construction projects. He worked as an instructor and master mechanic for a Caterpillar dealership in North Carolina before moving to Riverside two years ago to be closer to his grandchildren.
But while fabricating metal paid the bills, crafting objects out of stained glass began feeding Claydon’s creative impulses. Now that he’s retired, he spends more time studying art and making stained-glass objects.
“I’m sort of a novice at it, but I study it and I’ve studied Louis Comfort Tiffany and all those guys,” said Claydon, adding that he’s often visited the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows at Navy Pier in Chicago. “I tell people when they talk about stained glass that if you go to the Smith Museum, you’ll see some beautiful art. But you’ll see nose prints on the windows, and those would be mine because I really study the stuff.”
Claydon will be one of many artists displaying work at the Riverside Arts Weekend on May 18 and 19. Nearly 70 people will participate in the juried event.
Tom McDonald, an instructor at the Riverside Arts Center, also will participate in the Riverside Arts Weekend along with his wife, Janine Patten. He will bring a sampling of his artwork to the event.
“I have a portfolio full of prints that I did when I was a student back in the ’80s and some drawings, a couple of older paintings,” said McDonald, an Oak Park resident who also has taught art at Morton College. “So I’m going to use this as an opportunity to sell some older stuff. I’ll have as much as I can fit in there.”
Riverside Village Trustee Jean Sussman is the president of the Riverside Arts Weekend. She said the steering committee is made up of more than a dozen people who begin planning the event in August.
“This is our sixth year,” Sussman said. “The goal is to celebrate the arts as there are many people who are artists here. There is also great architecture in Riverside. We want to bring good art into Riverside by bringing people not just from Riverside but from outside the community.”
Sussman said the Riverside Arts Weekend had a great reception and has grown in popularity. The event seeks participants using a variety of media, she said.
Organizers of the Riverside Arts Weekend said the variety of events offered will draw visitors from throughout the western suburbs. Sussman said members of the committee hope to lure at least 10,000 people to Riverside.
Chris Neumer of Riverside will showcase his photographs to the many people at the festivals this weekend. A fashion photographer, Neumer’s work includes photographs of celebrities and images of his hometown.
“I’ve shown my work at this event once before, and that was last year,” Neumer said. “I’ll sometimes grab my camera and start shooting things wherever I am, and those have proven to be very popular. My leisure time is now considered work time.”
If you go
What: Riverside Arts Weekend
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Guthrie Park, located just south of the Metra commuter train station between Bloomingbank, Riverside and Burling roads
Other activities: Music will be provided throughout the weekend by the Corbin Andrick Quintet, Sones de Mexico, Paulinho Garica, Buddy Love Review, Liz Berg, Fable and the DePaul Women’s a Capella ensemble. Members of Redmoon Theater will offer a community immersion experience on Saturday. A fashion show titled "Revelry" will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday.