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Sycamore artists showcase ‘Faces Around Town’

SYCAMORE – Sycamore artist Bill Mitchell’s dermatologist doesn’t know yet that there is a portrait of her on display in a long-vacant storefront window in downtown Sycamore.

Mitchell’s 3-D graphic design portrait of her has been in the window display at 366 W. State St., at the intersection of State and California streets, since Monday, but the dermatologist has yet to walk past it, he said.

“It’s going to be a big surprise,” he said. “I think she’ll like it and recognize the humor, which she knows me for.”

Mitchell’s work is among several on display as part of an artist co-op project called “Faces Around Town.” Seven local artists created portraits of people of their choice from the community.

Sycamore resident Fae Lynch, a former teacher at the Art Attack Gallery in Sycamore, said she started the co-op during the holiday season to promote the history and charm of the town.

“Faces Around Town” will be on display for six weeks. Each of the artworks are available to buy, Mitchell said.

Building owner Phil Cuthbert bought the property at auction in November 2012; the unit has been vacant for decades and was last used by DiMarzo Realty. The pieces will be at the storefront window until the building owner can find a tenant for the unit, Lynch said.

“When that happens, then we’re out of there,” she said. “We’re looking for a more permanent home.”

Until then, residents can participate in a contest to identify each of the “Faces Around Town.” Each portrait has a number assigned to it. There also is a list of the names of the subjects, and people are asked to match the numbers on the portraits with the correct names.

A prize will be given to the person with the most correct answers. However, organizers are not sure what the prize will be, Lynch said.

Participants have until May 12 to enter.

The artists participating in the co-op project range in age from teens to those in their 70s. As a result, there is a lot of variety and different approaches to the art, Mitchell said.

Spencer Siebeck is one example of that. A sophomore in high school, she has an acrylic painting on display of the owner of a nearby restaurant. Siebeck was one of the subject’s first customers at the restaurant.

“He has seen me grow up throughout the years,” she said. “He’s got a stylized face, so he was easy [to paint].”

Sycamore resident Sally Scott painted her first-ever portrait for the “Faces Around Town” display. As a watercolor artist, Scott was more accustomed to painting landscapes and seasonal paintings.

Scott’s work also is on display at the Pay-It-Forward House in Sycamore. All proceeds from the sale of those paintings benefit the house, which offers a place to rest for families of patients receiving medical treatment in DeKalb County, particularly at nearby Kindred Hospital.

“I’ve tried new areas in painting,” Scott said. “A portrait was something new to me. I’ve grown from that standpoint, trying new and different things.”

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