Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
57th Street Art Fair is held the first week of June. This was our first year at the show. I have a love affair with Chicago but I was not familiar with Hyde Park area of Chicago except for the Science and Industry museum and University of Chicago. It is a wonderful area and a great place to explore if you have some time. Other AFI members exhibited at the show so I hope they can chime in on their experience.
The show is very close to the University and on the neighborhood streets. Communication with the show is excellent. Advertising was also very good and started months ahead of time, if not all year long. Since this was a first time show for me I was very concerned about a Saturday morning set up on the streets of a big city. There was no need to worry. Our street was very wide. Set up started around 4 am I believe but we decided to arrive at 7 am, after consulting other artists and walking the area Friday night. One of the most mellow and easiest Saturday morning set ups I can recall. Parking also worried us, again city parking, but no worries tons of parking on the neighborhood streets. There is an artist checkin and amenities room in the elementary school on site. The show even had an emergency tool box for those who needed it.
Booths are along 57th street, across from each other and on S. Kimbark. 57th street is not as wide as S. Kimbark so it gets crowded with people. S. Kimbark is wide with one side of booths on the street against the curb and other side booths on the side walk. Most of us had some storage in back. I don't think there is a bad area to be in, the show is laid out well. Weather was wonderful both days. Only negative was the cotton wood trees were snowing, something I have never experienced before, and especially heavy on Sunday. It didn't stop the people from coming. A strong crowd both day.
Sales were all over the place. Almost everyone I talked to who had lower price point work were selling, and selling out of work under $100. Many of our friends and neighbors had strong shows, most artists that I spoke to had a great show. We unfortunately did not. Our price points gave almost everyone sticker shock. Smaller work was definitely a hit. The show was well juried and I didn't feel there was too much of one category or a certain style. That was refreshing to see at an art show.
Breakdown was just as easy as set up. The block captain was right there with load out passes to hand out as soon as you were broken down. Drove in and out no problems.
I am really disappointed this show was not a match for us. It is so well run, a pleasure to do and we just fell in love with the neighborhood. Like I said many, most, artists had a great show. So if this is a good match for you I recommend trying 57th Street. There are not any hotels nearby. Air Bnb is the way to go. The show even offers an air bnb discount. Also the Robie House is a block from the show!!!! If you don't have an extra day to take a tour, no problem, the house tours start before the show opens. Make a reservation on line because tours fill up. A must do if you are in the area.