Oak Street Art Fair

This year was the 6th annual Oak Street Art Fair in Murphysboro, IL. The fair has local food trucks, music performed by local musicians, and most importantly, displays from several local artists. 

One of these artists is Sue Gindlesparger: “I’m one of the founding women who started it. I’m a metalsmith, and I make jewelry. I do mostly earrings and pendants, necklaces.” 

In preparation for the fair, Oak Street Art board members jury the artists. Photographs of work are sent in, and the board members decide which artists qualify. They do this to keep a certain standard of art. Artists that are selected sign a contract, and it costs them $40 to have a booth at the fair. 

One of the selected artists is Luca Cruzat: “I’m mostly doing prints. Ya know, it could be an etching, it could be color graph or woodcut, drypoint . . . depend on the matrix of the plate that you are using, [it] is a different technique.”    

Lots of other logistics also have to be worked out. The board makes sure the city knows about the event, streets are blocked off, advertising banners are hung up, etc.

Artist Rachel Ensor expresses her thoughts about the fair: “Oak Street Art’s success is because a lot of people care about forwarding art and the community. That was the goal, and that’s why it’s a success today.”

The fair has grown steadily over the years. 35 artists were accepted to display their work this year. Several of the artists don’t have a professional set up, and the fair is their only outlet.