By SAMANTHA SMYLIE
The Midwest’s oldest juried art fair, 57th Street Art Fair, will be celebrating its 72nd anniversary this year on the first weekend of June.
Local artists and art lovers will have the chance to marvel and buy artwork from over 150 local and national artists, many of whom are returning artists.
“[Visitors] will find that we have a variety of different types of artists.,” said Matthew Scott, a member of the planning committee for the fair. “So, we have ceramic artists, fiber arts, sculpture, print-making, photography, wood-painting, jewelry, drawing, mixed-media, digital art. A number of 15 different categories of art.”
The outdoor fair will take place between Woodlawn and Dorchester on 57th street, near William H. Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave. The fair is free for all to attend. On Saturday, June 1, the fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Sunday, June 2, visitors can come out between the hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition to artwork that will be on display and available for purchase, Friends of Ray School PTO will have food for purchase — which is a part of a fundraiser for the school. There will be live music from Buddy Guy’s Legends.
According to Scott, 57th Street Art Fair is special because “high-quality artists, who’ve been juried, are given the opportunity to develop relationships with patrons. Artists appreciate the history and the chance to develop relationships with people who come to the 57th street art fair every year. Artists and patrons alike see it as a place where they can develop a relationship with one another.”
Laura Kochevar is a fiber artist, based in Andersonville, who will be returning to the fair for her sixth year. Participating in the art fair has been a dream come true for Kochevar — she used to shop at the fair for years and made it her goal to be in the show after she started selling her work at other art fairs around the city.
“It’s one of the best art fairs in the Midwest. They do a great job jurying it, but there is a great selection of artists there, so it is great for the consumers. From the artist’s point of view, it’s all about the art,” said Kochevar. “It’s really the community that I love. It almost always rains that weekend, but it doesn’t matter because the community always comes out.”
Kochevar will be selling handmade scarves and vests at booth 733. Her artwork is made with techniques like felting, where she works with unspun wool to make fabric, and sun-printing, where she paints silk with sun-reactive dye and put leaves and other items on top of the silk to create an impression.