Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Back Home Again in Indiana - the Leeper Park Art Fair

June 16 & 17 
South Bend, Indiana
45th Annual Leeper Park Art Fair
Sponsored by the St. Joe Valley Watercolor Society
120 spaces

Art fair fever grabbed me and made me head to South Bend on Saturday morning to get my fix. It was a lovely morning although it really heated up in the afternoon. The booths are set in a circle in a shaded park. There are no auxiliary activities and only a small food court. The show is visible from the main street. If you're driving through town on the Dixie Highway you can't miss it.

The parking lot was filling when I arrived at 10 am and at the first booth I saw a sale being made. This is an old-fashioned show that is about only one thing - selling art and I can't fault it except for one thing, although booth #'s were prominently displayed there were no names. I had to really hunt for any name signs. Luckily there was a program but it was in alpha order, not numerical and I did a bit of hunting. Friends, please if a show doesn't give you a sign with your name on it, please have one of your own.

There were plenty of people in the park and some booths were full like this pottery booth with work by Jeremy Keller and Mary Ennis.

I'm always on the lookout for creative booth displays. This is the booth of Skeeter Aschinger. I had a heck of a time getting a good shot because of the people who were interested in the work, miniature face sculptures with hand beaded accents. She told me a prior career had been designing displays and it was obvious by her attractive booth that clearly complements her work.

I'm not only looking for good displays, there is always the thrill of seeing artwork that stops you in your tracks. Best of show in my mind should go to Martha Nahrwold whose one of a kind paintings and collage are carefully controlled marbling on paper, floating acrylic paints to create dreamy landscapes. It was the art that drew me in and then I took a look at her booth (isn't that the way it should be?).

This was a great story. Martha started participating in art fairs about 15 years ago and her husband was busy doing his own activities so she devised a set up she could handle herself. The panels are construction styrofoam covered with ultrasuede slipcovers, suspended from handmade hangers. She says she can stack them up and be gone in no time. Plus, let me assure you, it was the work that first drew me to the booth. The display was simple and clearly showcased the work. Isn't that we are all looking for?

It was great seeing old friends and meeting AFI-ers that I've only met online. I loved Robert Wallis' photos with their sensitive use of light and shadow.

Vinnie Sutherland has no peers in her media, she takes a very old technique and presents it in a fresh contemporary way. She works with tin and uses repousse techniques to create the relief in the pieces.

My old friend Johnny Lung with his masterful Chinese paintings - this is not a good shot, visit his website.

Frequent contributor to AFI, John Leben, had a big writeup in the South Bend Tribune. Hope it paid off for you John.

More good old friends from Florida summering in the North, Loretta Fehling

and watercolor painter Michael Weber caught in the act again of making a sale.

My apologies to Joan Tweedell who I also spoke with, I was so pleased to see her that I forgot to take her photo. Love your new etchings, Joan, and it's great to see people moving into a new medium. Congratulations.

A lot of us girls watching the clothes going by - here is my vote for best dressed at the fair.

I hope everyone had a good show this weekend!

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Comment by Annette Piper on June 20, 2012 at 8:16pm

Great photos Connie - I love to see pics of booths, interesting displays and people in booths!!!

Comment by John Leben on June 20, 2012 at 7:47am
Leeper Park is a nice, old fashioned art fair, but this year, for one reason or another, the people of South Bend just did not come out to support this event. Crowds were slim and, for me at least, sales were slimmer. The great coverage I got in the local newspaper was gratifying, and I got many positive comments from people who saw the article, but very few sales.
Comment by Larry Berman on June 19, 2012 at 5:18pm

You should have taken a wider shot of Johnny Lung. He has wheels on the bottoms of all his panels. Very easy to get them from the van into his space and back at the end of the show. Through much better on concrete than dirt.

Larry Berman

Comment by Jim Parker on June 19, 2012 at 4:49pm

Nice pix, Connie! Thanks! Being a visual person, I love seeing the venue and the artists at work.

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