Park Ridge art fair marks 60th anniversary this week
Artists Tom and Pat Schuler are co-chairs of the Park Ridge Art League's annual Art Fair, which will take place June 16 and June 17 at Park Ridge's Hodges Park. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
NAME: The Park Ridge Art League’s 60th Annual Art Fair
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 16 and June 17
WHERE: Hodges Park, Park Ridge
Updated: July 15, 2012 6:08AM
Fifty years ago a visit to the Park Ridge Art League’s annual Art Fair opened Marlene Winters’ eyes to a whole new world.
“I was looking for artwork for my walls and the art fair happened to be that weekend,” the former Park Ridge resident recounted. “I went to the fair and I was thinking, ‘I can paint this.’ ”
Winters enrolled in an oil-painting course at the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District that fall and was hooked.
Some years later Winters became a member of the Park Ridge Art League. This year she will be exhibiting her oil paintings during the league’s 60th Annual Art Fair at Hodges Park, at Courtland and Vine avenues in Uptown.
Under a sea of tents the art fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 16 and June 17. About 50 artists, all members of the Park Ridge Art League, will be exhibiting and selling art consisting of paintings, ceramics, photography, print-making, jewelry, textiles, glass, hand-painted porcelain, sculpture and mixed-media.
For Park Ridge artist Tom Schuler, who has co-chaired the juried show with his wife, Pat, for the past decade, each year’s art fair holds something new.
“Every year is different; every year has its own challenges. And we enjoy every part of that,” said Schuler, who works in fibers and mixed-media. “We love the art and we love working with the artists.”
The art fair, traditionally held Father’s Day weekend, welcomes a crop of new artists in addition to the established exhibitors.
“There’s a tremendous appreciation among the artists for the show and for the Art League,” Schuler said.
It remains a draw for the public, as well. If the weather cooperates Schuler expects anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 visitors.
“It’s still a vibrant show and despite all the economic stuff going on in the world, it’s still alive and well,” he said.
The Park Ridge Art League, chartered in 1942, promotes art appreciation and is open to any artists from the Chicago area, though some are even residents of other states. One artist drives several hours from Wisconsin just to take part in the art fair, Schuler said, and when she was unable to attend one year, visitors inquired about her.
“Not only do they return, but they have followings,” he said of the artists.
In addition to conducting the annual art fair at Hodges Park the Art League awards scholarships to Maine South and Maine East high school students who are planning to pursue the study of art.
This year’s six scholarship recipients will be exhibiting work at the art fair, Schuler said.
“It’s a big deal for these kids. It really is,” he added.