For more than 15 years, Art Talk has been showcasing Naperville Art League’s Riverwalk Fine Art Fair (RFAF) in its September column. The juried show, set for 10AM to 5PM Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16 and 17, is now in its 38th year and remains among the best art fairs in the country.
Recognized for the caliber of artists it attracts, the ambiance of the Riverwalk setting, and the skill of the organizers who ensure a beautiful and smooth-running operation, the show promises an art marketplace filled with an eclectic collection of fine art and fine craft created by 110 top-rated national artists who will make Naperville their home for the weekend.
While most attendees see the outdoor exhibition and sale from a buyers’ perspective, many know little about the lives of the talented participants that bring this gift to the community. Vendors face a daunting list of activities and concerns in the preparation and execution of each event they undertake. For starters, these entrepreneurs must produce enough inventory to fill a booth and replenish items sold. Next, they pack up their trucks and drive long distances to reach their destinations, set up their temporary storefronts in unfamiliar cities, then hope to sell enough goods to cover travel, food, and lodging, plus have a surplus that will enable them to purchase more supplies and pay their bills. Even with the best-laid plans, weather, of which they have no control, can have an impact on the success of a fair, and an errant storm can keep art buyers away or close a show altogether.
But none of this is a deterrent to the hardy exhibitors who have dedicated their lives to the art fair circuit.
“The Riverwalk Fine Art Fair, like other local art fairs, allows artists like us the chance to live our dream as full-time artists, pursuing a path that many might shy away from,” said featured artist Rosa Chavez in an interview.
She continued, “Art shows possess a welcoming and cordial atmosphere that distinguishes them from galleries. Amidst the fresh air and vibrant outdoor setting, we revel in nature, community, and interactions with people. It’s an environment where we can be genuine and even paint right before a captivated audience.”
The Florida resident is a veteran exhibitor who participates in art fairs throughout the year. “A unique aspect of my personal journey is that I get to share this creative odyssey with my husband, Leon F. Ruiz (who will also have a booth RFAF). Together, we traverse the country, painting our canvases and presenting them to art-loving individuals.”
Rosa closed with advice for artists considering exhibiting at an outdoor art fair: “I wholeheartedly encourage you to apply for next year’s RFAF and share your creations with the world. Few experiences rival the sensation of witnessing your work admired by strangers and eventually finding someone who connects so deeply with your art that they want to make it a part of their own home.”
Naperville Art League’s Riverwalk Fine Art Fair
Jackson Avenue and Main Street and along Naperville’s Riverwalk