Art in the Park: Celebrating 40 years, event draws crowds with artistic creations | Grand Island Local News

By Brandon Summers

Painters, photographers, sculptors, crafters, quilters and more brought their creations to Grand Island’s 40th Art in the Park held Sunday at Stolley Park.

Jeremy Hansen of FineArtZero showed his dynamic paintings on large canvases, decorated with dots and splashes.

His portraits depict the gentle cow or the prairie horse, and the mythical portraits of Skeletor on Panthor or Optimus Prime.

“A lot of my stuff is inspired by memories as a kid and some of the things around the rural area where I live,” Hansen said. “Lots of flowers and cows and horses, and some of the toys I got for Christmas and shoes I’ve had since I was a kid.”

Hoping to inspire others to pursue the craft, Steve Kjar of Grand Island’s Pioneer Carvers brought some of his hand-crafted pieces to the 40th Art in the Park held Sunday at Grand Island’s Stolley Park.


Steve Kjar of Grand Island’s Pioneer Carvers showed off his many handcrafted pieces in hopes of inspiring others to pursue the craft.

Carvers meet every Thursday at 6:30pm at Fire Station 1 near Island Oasis Water Park.

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His carvings are made of basswood, which has a narrow grain that carves well.

“When we want to do something that we don’t paint, we use butter, some people call it white walnut, a real beautiful wood,” explained Kjar. “We stain them or leave them natural.”

Kjar prefers to work by hand, using tools such as knives and gouges.

“Some things I’ll do with a rotary tool, like a Dremel, and I’ll do some sanding, but most of the things I carve I don’t like to use those power tools. I just like to carve it,” he said.

Visitors to the park were drawn to Kjar’s table in awe of his many creations.

“It’s nice to see people like the things you’ve done,” he said. “The main reason we’re here is because we’re trying to get people into carving and let them know it’s something they can do.”

Andy Gentert, from Hastings, drew crowds with his geometric paintings and “visual illusions”, although he describes himself only as a hobbyist.

His works looked like nothing else at Sunday’s event and like nothing seen since the 1980s, when artists were experimenting with the Apple II computer.

Art in the Park 2022

Although he considers himself only a hobbyist, Hastings’ Andy Gentert drew crowds with his geometric paintings and “visual illusions” at Sunday’s Art in the Park, held at Stolley Park.


“I usually start by just playing with shapes,” Gentert explained. “The material I transfer the drawings to is called Masonite, or hardboard. I cut them out with a jigsaw and use acrylic to make them look like superimposed three-dimensional shapes.”

Gentert’s works are not all simply flat. Some are also textured and embellished.

“I keep trying, experimenting with new techniques and incorporating them into the geometric shapes I use,” he said. “I just have fun. It’s like therapy for me. It gives me something detailed to work on and fills my time. And I just enjoy going out and sharing it.”

Monce Garcia of Lexington has built an enterprise out of her creations.

Garcia brought her handmade jewelry, wax melts, stain kits, essential oil blends and more to Sunday’s event.

“I just enjoy doing all this as a kid. I’ve been doing this for a long time now,” she told The Independent.

Garcia enjoys being able to do what he loves and having others enjoy it so much.

“It’s really cool. I love that people like the things I do. It makes me happy,” she said.

Art in the Park 2022

Monce Garcia of Lexington has made an enterprise out of her creations, showing off her handmade jewelry, wax melts, smudging kits and more at Sunday’s Art in the Park held at Grand Island’s Stolley Park.


To view Garcia’s handmade items, visit

Bringing art to a community and allowing artists a place to engage others is important, said event co-organizer Jean Cook.

“With artists, we like to meet people,” Cook said. “Art is very quiet. As artists, we tend to work in our own little studios, in our own little world. Being able to have an “Art in the Park” like this, we can meet the public and share what we do and want to do, and have the affirmation of people saying, “Oh my gosh, I love your work.” . Those little things just make us want to do it more and to have that time to spend with people is really great for us.”

By noon, a strong and engaged crowd had filled Stolley Park.

“I’m glad to see people come out and enjoy all the artwork,” Cook said. “That’s wonderful.”

The day was not hampered by the previous evening’s storm and a brief tornado threat near Cairo.

“We were really worried last night with the sirens going off and how wet the park was going to be

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