Eh…

They say that the “Earth without art is just eh.”

The Old Town Arts Fair, held in Lincoln Park, Chicago, is in its 66th year.

The Old Town Arts Fair, held in Lincoln Park, Chicago, is in its 66th year.

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!

The least expensive piece of art at the whole art fair - cheese placards. The problem is, I'm not sure I can afford with the placards AND the cheese to go with them...

The least expensive piece of art at the whole art fair – cheese placards. The problem is, I’m not sure I can afford with the placards AND the cheese to go with them…

Look, but don't touch!

Look, but don’t touch! We’ll charge you for that.

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.

 

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About catebay

Informal educator working in the world of art. Interests in public programming and community advocacy. Loves learning about people, collecting blue mason jars, and consuming Swedish fish.
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One Response to Eh…

  1. My experience is that most good art fairs have reasonably priced merchandise for the novice buyer. This might include prints or miniatures that are actually quite nice. You can even get works for less than $1000 at the prestigious Winter Antiques Show in Manhattan. The higher prices, I’m afraid, are driven by supply and demand, like any marketplace. At any rate, you might want to leave this feedback for the organizer of the event. It would be valuable to them to determine if they are inadvertantly cutting out a segment of their potential audience.

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