The 57th Street Art Fair Committee thanks you for your patience in awaiting a final decision regarding the possibility of holding a scaled-down physical fair in June, 2021. Sadly, after much deliberation, we regret that this will not be possible.
There were many considerations behind this difficult decision, but the primary concern was for the health and safety of our artists, visitors, volunteers and community. And in the end, time and cost to implement a safely modified in-person event became insurmountable factors.
While remaining optimistic, it has been an overwhelming challenge to plan for a physical event with all the uncertainties and unknowns that still remain due to the ongoing pandemic. Although the City of Chicago has begun accepting permits for special events such as ours, and we applied for a permit, we have not received permission to hold the fair. In addition, we do not currently have permission from Ray School and the Chicago Public School system to use any of the school building or blacktop areas that we would need.
The State of Illinois guidelines for outdoor event crowd density also presented many logistical issues and related financial expenses for us. Currently, the limit is 15 people total per 1,000 square feet and would have to include all artists and their helpers, volunteers, committee members, and visitors to the fair. It would be up to us to control the access and traffic flow in order to maintain this density at all times.
We looked at various ways to maintain strict control over access to the total footprint of the event, all of which would require a significantly reduced number of artist booths. We also looked at ways to control traffic flow, as well as the logistics of staging and managing the event for both artists and visitors, and the additional costs to ensure safety during the fair. All of our plans would require a permit from the city along with cooperation and coordination with Ray School.
Without the city permit and permission from CPS, and with only a month to go before our early June fair date, there will not enough time to implement any of the plans we considered for 2021’s 74th Annual 57th Street Art Fair. At this time we feel we have no choice but to cancel this year’s physical event, and focus on our currently ongoing 2021 57th Street Art Fair virtual event at https://www.57thstreetartfair.org/virtual-fair.
Our 2021 Virtual Fair will be live through May 2022 and our PR team will continue their media outreach and social media posts to ensure all artists and their work are being promoted. We ask that you contact them at https://www.ripplepublicrelations.com to share any new works, artist news, videos and photos so they can post them to our social media channels over the next year.
The committee and the neighborhood will miss everyone again this year, and are looking ahead to next year, when we hope to see everyone in-person to help us celebrate our 75th Anniversary! As artists who were invited to this year’s event, we will consider you as returning artists for 2022, regardless of your status (confirmed, accepted, declined, or invited).
We remind you that you must still apply for the 75th Anniversary fair. You will receive an email shortly before the application period opens on November 1, 2021, with a coupon code to waive the application fee. Also note that next year, as part of our regular rotating cycle, all returning artists in the categories of ceramics, fiber, and paper will be re-juried. Artists applying in all other categories will be jury-exempt.
Thank you again for your patience, optimism, and understanding. We look forward to seeing you next year!
The 57th Street Art Fair Committee