Art is back in Brookside

By Jill Draper

The Brookside Art Fair returns on Sept. 17-19 after missing last year because of the pandemic. Some 170 artists from throughout the nation, including 30 from the Kansas City area, will exhibit works in painting, sculpture, clay, printing, photography, mixed media and jewelry during the three-day event. According to Donna Potts, coordinator, the artists were selected by a jury from 1,000 applicants.

“There’s a really big variety of art,” Potts says. “Hopefully we’ll have a beautiful weekend.”

The main difference from previous years is there will be no big tent, she adds. Artists will set up their own tents just like they do at the Plaza Art Fair (which will be held the following weekend). Individual tents will help ensure safe air circulation for COVID reasons, Potts says.

Several nearby restaurants will sell snacks and meals at food booths, and children’s craft activities will be offered from 11am-4 pm Saturday and noon-4 pm Sunday. The art fair is organized annually by the Brookside Community Improvement District and sponsored by Research Medical Center and Cosentino’s Market. Hours are 5-9 pm Friday, 10 am-9 pm Saturday and 11am -5pm Sunday.

Most of the fair’s local artists are from the midtown area, but three live farther south, in or near Brookside. 

Richard Heinze is a photographer who travels around the Midwest, which is sometimes referred to as flyover country. But he considers it just the opposite—”drive-thru country” with its own beauty and simplicity. “A lot of my images are landscapes of wheat fields, tall grasses, lakes and streams. I like being able to see the horizon line. It’s very traditional work that seems to resonate deep down with people.”

Heinze studied engineering and retired from technical sales to focus on his photography. He uses film and an old Nikon camera. Sometimes people will comment, wow, you were there at just the right time, he says. “But there’s a whole lot of hours and effort that surrounds that image on the wall. There’s a lot of scouting and waiting for the most interesting light and shadows.”

He usually presents his work matted and ready to frame in two or three sizes, but he can do custom sizes on request. See more at

Andrew Johnson creates brightly colored stitched artwork on painted fabric. He learned about unique stitching methods during an earlier job as an embroidery designer at a sportswear company using industrial sewing machines. Now he works out of his home studio, focusing on whimsical versions of animals, birds, flowers and houses. He plots each stitch with a stylus pen, building texture with density, stitch direction and layers.

“It’s a technical process, but also a very creative process,” he says. “The average design has about 20,000 stitches in it. You have to know all the intricacies of how a sewing machine works.”

Johnson makes picture frames for his artwork, often using bits and pieces of recycled wood from old houses. He also creates smaller frames from antique frames. Some have small chips or scuff marks, “but that adds to the character of the piece,” he says. See more at

Edna Madera earned a graduate degree in jewelry design and metalsmithing before perfecting a technique she uses for many of her earrings, pendants, rings and bracelets. She cuts 24-karat gold into razor-thin strands, then fuses them in feather-like shapes onto sterling silver that has developed an antique grey patina.

“I love the way gold, and all metals, have a willingness to do what you negotiate,” she says. “My work appeals to those who appreciate an eclectic look with a twist to it. My customers like that little surprise.”

Madera has a studio in Kansas City, but also lectures and teaches workshops around the U.S. Last spring she worked part-time at Pembroke Hill High School as a silversmith instructor. See more at


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