Art Fair season brings out discerning buyers and browsers

By Jack McCarthy Chronicle Media

Colorful paintings draw the attention of two visitors to a recent Geneva Art Fair. This year’s show runs on July 22-23 along Third St. near downtown Geneva. (Photo courtesy Geneva Chamber of Commerce).

There’s a secret to the success of a popular summer art fair set for next month in west suburban Geneva.

Fair sponsors let an expert pick which artists will showcase their work at the annual Geneva Art Fair. The Chamber of Commerce supplies the location and heavy lifting with logistics and support staff.

“The art fair is one where we work with an outside consultant and she has the knowledge, expertise and contacts,” said Laura Rush, Geneva Chamber communications manager.  “We’re the PR force, the get-it-all-set up force. We’re a well-oiled machine of six here and we all know what needs to be done.”

The formula has worked well for Geneva, which was nominated as one of the nation’s best 200 shows by an art industry publication.

The July 22-23 show draws artists from around North America, displaying a variety of paintings, sculpture and drawings, plus textiles, ceramics and glass and jewelry.

The 16th annual showcase takes up several blocks on Third Street in an area that includes the city’s vintage, red brick former courthouse and stretch of specialty retailers, restaurants and services.

But even without having to worry about artist selection and judging, the fair is still a challenging undertaking.

“While it is only two days, it’s just as work as the six days of (this week’s) Swedish Days,” Rush said.

About 155-to-160 artists are expected.

“They come from all over — not only the United States — and we do have some that come from (other) countries, some that come from Canada. These people travel great distances to come to our show.”

Several blocks of the tree-lined Third Street in downtown Geneva will again be home for the annual Geneva Art Fair. (Photo courtesy Geneva Chamber of Commerce).

Rush said there’s something for everyone.

“Don’t be scared by an art fair because the price point can be across the board,” Rush said. “You can come and buy something for $50 and you can find something for $5,000.”

Two of the big Chicago shows — the 69th annual Old Town Art Fair and the 57th St. Art Fair in Hyde Park — kicked off the summer art fair season earlier this month.

According to the Illinois Arts Council, there are as many as eight outdoor art fairs still to come from now through September in the suburbs and throughout northern Illinois.

For more information on Geneva’s Art Fair call (630) 232-6060 or visit


Aug. 5-6, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Elgin Artspace Lofts, 51 S. Spring St., Elgin.

This juried show, now in its ninth year, was created to bring a quality art event to the area. The juried show features both fine art and the work of skilled artisans. Information: (847) 530-6828.

For a nice day trip, the Ottawa Art League presents its annual Art in the Park art show in its Central Park, Aug. 5-6. (Photo courtesy of Ottawa Art League)


Aug. 5-6, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Washington Park, LaSalle St., Ottawa.

The juried outdoor fine art show hosts 35 artists and runs the same weekend as the Ottawa Riverfest community celebration. Information: (815) 357-1556.


Aug. 26-27, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Scoville Park, 800 W.Lake St. Oak Park.

The park in the heart of historic Oak Park will feature paintings, graphics, art wear and glassworks plus wood arts, graphics, photography, fiber arts, pottery and jewelry. Information: (947) 991-4748.


Sept. 2-4, Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center, 101 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg.  Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

The Labor Day weekend juried show is expected to draw up to 250 artists. It takes place along with a community festival featuring an arts and crafts show, carnival, entertainment on three stages, Taste of Schaumburg, Not-for-Profit Day, bingo, fireworks on Sunday evening, Labor Day parade and Miss Septemberfest competition. Information:  (847) 923-3605.

The Fall Fox Fest brings a mix of activities, live music and handcrafted items to downtown Oswego in September. (Photo courtesy of village of Oswego)


Sept. 9-10, La Grange Stone Avenue Train Station, 701 W. Burlington, La Grange. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Entering its 22nd year, this juried fine arts festival brings in artists from around the country and also includes jazz performances, culinary demonstrations and a wine-tasting tent. Information: (708) 582-6510.


Sept 23, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Kiwanis Park, 8820 Brookfield Ave., Brookfield

The show features local artists, plus arts for kids along with craft beer and wine and food trucks. Information: (708) 255-5335.


Sept. 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Downtown Oswego, Free event on Main Street. The event will include plenty of children’s games and activities live music, and a special Hand-Made craft marketplace.




— Art Fair season brings out discerning buyers and browsers —