They say that the “Earth without art is just eh.”
I recently made a visit to the 64th annual Old Town Arts Fair in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The street fair featured 250 artists from around the world working with a wide variety of mediums – everything from floating wire sculptures to painted cats. As I wandered the streets and perused the pieces of art, I was struck by the plethora of diverse visitors, the enthusiasm of the artists, the variety of genres represented, and the prices. I understand that art fairs do not need to appeal to the masses (they are obviously catering to a specific crowd) but the costs were astounding. A 7$ admission to the fest (which supports the neighborhood’s arts-based nonprofit) seemed a fair charge, but I wondered who has thousands of dollars to spend on paintings. Obviously someone must be able to afford art at this price range, but obviously that person is not me!
Here’s my question for you: does the high price of art at fairs such as this one perpetuate the stereotype that art is only for the elite? How do we change the culture of art shows? I’d love to hear your opinions on this.