• IdentificationICU.SPCL.57THST
  • TitleGuide to the 57th Street Art Fair Records1964-2006
  • PublisherUniversity of Chicago Library
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Date1964-2007
  • Physical Description9 linear feet (6 boxes)
  • RepositorySpecial Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.
  • AbstractThis collection contains the planning and promotional materials for the 57th Street Art Fair, including meeting minutes, reports, posters, textiles, banners and buttons.

© The contents of this finding aid are the copyright of the University of Chicago Library

Hyde Park-Kenwood-Woodlawn Neighborhood

Chicago and Illinois

Visual Arts

Open for research. No restrictions

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: 57th Street Art Fair. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Chicago’s 57th Street Art Fair continues its role as one of the country’s largest not-for-profit art fairs dedicated to exhibiting original art by artists who sell their own work. The Art Fair originated in 1948 when Hyde Park gallery owner May Louise Womer saw a need for local artists to network with each other and to their public directly. Invitations for the outdoor event were sent to galleries, art schools, and artists throughout the city. Initially the fair was open to all artists, but as the response grew each year, there became a need to limit entrants. In 1963, the Art Fair Committee was organized. Composed of critics, collectors, curators and artists, the panel chose which artists would display their work in the fair. This screening process is still in effect today. Once an artist is accepted, their exhibit space is held for their return through subsequent fairs; around 500 aspiring exhibitors compete for the 40 to 50 spaces that are vacated each year. Recently, over 300 artists exhibited in the Fair. Every year since 1948 there has been a 57th Street Art Fair, usually held the first weekend in June.

This collection contains the planning and promotional materials for the 57th Street Art Fair. Boxes 1 and 2 include administrative records of the Fair Committee, including minutes, financial reports, budgets and by-laws. These boxes also contain newspaper clippings about the Art Fair, lists of award winners, and an assortment of promotional materials including programs, postcards and bookmarks. Boxes 3-6 contain oversized materials. Boxes 3, 4 and 5 hold banners and posters of varying sizes, while box 6 contains t-shirts and other textiles.

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

  • Names57th Street Art Fair (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Geographic CoverageHyde Park (Chicago, Ill.)