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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Art Talk – Riverwalk Fine Art Fair: One of the best in the country


Naperville Art League’s Riverwalk Fine Art Fair (RFAF) has been in the spotlight since its launch in 1985.

In its inaugural year, the fair gained international attention when it became the site of a reenactment of Georges Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte as orchestrated by the League, several local businesses, community members, and a theatrical company.

Growing in reputation in subsequent years, RFAF is now regarded as one of the best shows in the country and appeared in the top 100 of Sunshine Artist Magazine’s recently announced annual 200 Best, a listing of the most profitable art and craft festivals in the nation. This recognition comes one year after RFAF ranked #89 in Sunshine Artist’s Top 200 art shows in the U.S. over the last decade.

Statistics compiled for the annual list come from ballots submitted by exhibiting artists who participated in art fairs during the past calendar year and are based solely on artists’ sales revenue, the most objective indicator of a show’s future success. Once publicized, the 200 Best becomes a bible for those applying to shows: jurying into a fair with a proven track record will increase the odds of having a rewarding experience.

Anne Hanley, a returning fiber exhibitor who is also RFAF’s featured banner artist, explained, “When it comes time to plan my next season, I remember this show has the highest level of talented artists. It is well suited for my work, and my sales have always been great.”

While the prospect of selling their wares is a significant motivator, artists also seek out shows with intangible attributes. Armando Pedroso, RFAF’s featured poster artist, reports, “I rate a quality show by the promoter and the staff. They must have an intricate knowledge of how to run a complex event to excel. The volunteers can also make or break a show, and those at the RFAF are well organized, kind, and informed. They know their contributions affect not only the artists from check-in to tear-down but also the countless attendees during the show.”

Featured postcard artist Anne London concurs. “The spirit of creative sharing brings me back to this venue – the staff and the people who attend are a breath of fresh air.”

RFAF organizers have long known the benefits of an artist-focused fair. Following the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy, the show reps work to provide an assortment of amenities to attract top artists. Those artists then draw an art-loving crowd who make purchases that positively impact the exhibitors’ income.

Pedroso summarizes the experience by saying, “I believe a fine art fair should serve as an unintimidating gallery experience that showcases a visually pleasing education of the arts. Buyers at RFAF will know they are purchasing the highest quality art, and leisurely shoppers will be awed at the unique art created to make the world a more beautiful place.”

Riverwalk Fine Art Fair

10AM to 5PM Sat. & Sun., Sept. 17 & 18
Main & Jackson & along Naperville’s Riverwalk
INFO: (630) 355-2530

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Debbie Venezia
Debbie Veneziahttp://www.artsdupage.org
Debbie Venezia is the Director of Arts DuPage, a DuPage Foundation initiative. Contact her at debbie@dupagefoundation.org or visit www.artsdupage.org.


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