Art fair bouncing back this year

Staff Writer

The annual 57th Street Art fair will take place the first weekend in June. The number of artists participating in the event is expected to increase this year, according to a committee member.

Irene Patner, who has been a member of the 57th Street Art Fair Committee for about 15 years, said that the number of artists at this year’s fair is the largest she can remember.

Last year’s event was downsized in part because a smaller number of artists, who usually travel to the fair from different states and countries, were not able to participate due to the struggling economy.

“There are about 200 spaces available this year. So far we have about 140 spaces confirmed,” said Patner about the fair, which will be set up along 57th Street between Woodlawn and Kenwood avenues and Kimbark Avenue between 56th and 57th streets.

John Parker, who has been a member of the 57th Street Art Fair Committee for more than 20 years, said, “The art fair has become a harbinger of economic times.”

He said, “This year there are lots of artists who want to be a part of the fair, which is good news.”

“The fair includes all types of art such as paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry,” Patner said. “One of the wonders of the art fair is that you never know what you may find. It’s always an adventure.”

For those who want a little more structure while navigating through the art fair, The Artist Boot Camp, which is in its fifth year, will be a returning feature at the fair. Visitors who are new to buying art are led through the art fair by experts. They will also learn tips on how to talk to artists about their work and negotiate a price.

The 57th Street Art fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 2.

Another returning staple is Ray Elementary School’s art fair fundraiser. Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., is right at 57th Street and Kimbark Avenue and local artists often use the school building as a place to facilitate art activities with kids during the fair.

The school also has an annual Art Fair Food Court fundraiser to support programs that benefit Ray students.

The school is looking for volunteers for its Art Fair Food Court, which will run from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on June 1 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 2.

To volunteer at Ray, contact Chris Andrews at or call 773-855-8803.

For more information about the 57th Street Art Fair, visit