4th Fridays are BACK at the Dole!

4th Fridays are BACK at the Dole!

by Melissa Riske

Lively music, engaging art, and guests who come early and stay till the band plays its final notes. 

Fourth Fridays Art Event at The Dole isn’t your typical art show.

After the long pause, Fourth Fridays Art Event returns to The Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake on April 22. Founder and producer Nancy Merkling said the event’s reputation for featuring great art and toe-tapping music that you will be singing along to, is what draws crowds to the galleries. 

“People remember when they’ve been to a Fourth Fridays Art Show,” she said. 

Fourth Fridays Art Event features three art and photography exhibits. Watch for the third exhibit, a solo artist show, to return starting in May, Merkling said. 

All of the art pieces are selected by a jury, which changes each month, reviewing submissions and selecting pieces based on ability and merit. The art includes a variety of mediums such as sculptures, paintings and every piece is available for purchase. 

For the April show, her team received more than 100 submissions, with the jury selecting 60 pieces of art and 40 for the photography exhibit. The jury awards a blue ribbon to the best piece and visitors have the opportunity to cast their vote for the People’s Choice. Winning artists receive cash prizes. 

Artists represent a wide range of age and talents, Merkling said, adding she’s had submissions from teenagers and from those who’ve been painting for 50 years or more. The artists in each show represent emerging and established artists. 

Visitors wander the galleries but it’s the lively music from two stages that keeps guests lingering at The Dole, Merkling said. 

“We decided to create an event where people stay the whole night,” Merkling said. We wanted to create something that broke the mold of boring art events.”

At the art of Fourth Fridays Art is the opportunity to bring together art and patrons, with the entertainment adding to the great evening atmosphere. 

“Artists have always been the peacemakers, creating and sharing with others,” Merkling said. “Everyone needs art.”

Guests can also visit the 2nd floor of the Dole Mansion, which is open during the event. There is a cash bar and small bites available as well. 

The Dole is located at 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake. Admission is $10. The remaining 2022 dates include May 27, June 24, July 22, Aug. 26, Sept. 23, and Oct. 28. For more information visit nancymerkling.com/4th-fridays