Hyde Park Community Art Fair returns this weekend

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
Staff Writer

The Hyde Park Community Art Fair will once again set up shop just steps away from the 57th Street Art Fair.

The unaffiliated fair will take place from 11 a.m. to dusk on Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8, at Bixler Playlot Park, 5641 S. Kenwood Ave., and will feature around 85 vendors. About a quarter of them are from Hyde Park or Kenwood and a majority are from the Chicago area, according to organizer Dorri Ellis, a board member of the now-closed Artisans 21 gallery.

“We concentrate first on local and South Side artists,” said Ellis, who characterized the fair as more focused on crafts than its nearby cousin.

The fair was first organized in 1980, following complaints from longtime exhibitors at the 57th Street Art Fair jury had unfairly rejected them. They received a permit for their own fair from the Chicago Park District led by neighborhood painter Sophie Wessel, who criticized a lack of local artists at the 57th Street Art Fair.

Since then, the annual event — once dubbed a “separate but equal art fair” — has become an attraction in its own right.

“We started jurying when we had more people apply than we had spaces for,” Ellis said.

Garfield Park resident Stacy Rauba is a fair vendor of about half a decade. She will return this year to sell scarves, hats, other clothing and potholders with her husband and colleague of 20 years, Yutaka Fujita.

“I think both shows feed very nicely off of each other,” Rauba said.

“The art show world is not that huge and we had some friends who we went down to see quite a few years ago,” she added. Since then, Rauba and Fujita have been selling clothes at the fair.

For more information about the Hyde Park Community Art Fair, visit communityartfair.org.

j.bishku@hpherald.com