53rd Krasl Art Fair will have something to offer for everyone

Published 11:26 am Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff will include 216 booths from which to purchase fine arts and crafts. (Submitted photo)

The Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff will include 216 booths from which to purchase fine arts and crafts. (Submitted photo)

ST. JOSEPH — For the 53rd year, the Krasl Art Center’s Art Fair on the Bluff will be returning to St. Joseph’s Lake Bluff Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 12 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 13.

The weekend’s festivities also include a “Friday Night Kick-Off,” taking place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 11, and a “Smooth Jazz at Sunset” concert by 98.3 The Coast at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night at the Shadowland Pavilion.

“An art fair is one of the few places where you can see the art, meet the artist, and sometimes even see the artist doing a demonstration,” said Sara Shambarger, director of art fairs at the Krasl. “Each year, we look for the best possible fine art and fine craft that we can deliver for our community.”

The nationally-ranked art fair includes artwork that will be displayed at 216 booths, all of which are included in the Art Fair’s guidebook, which is currently available at the Krasl and at area restaurants.

“We have 32 states represented as well as a Canadian artist,” said Shambarger, who has been involved with the art fair for 19 years. “We received 978 entries for about 170 openings. We invite about 30 percent of our artists back each year based on the scoring in 19 categories that is done on the first day of the art fair.”

While art of such high quality can be expensive, organizers have tried to make sure that there will be art that is affordable for everyone, and they have several suggestions for ways to fit art purchases into one’s budget.

“A lot of artists have what they call ‘bread and butter’ items,” Shambarger said. “Those are pieces of art at smaller price points. There will certainly be some art under $25.”

Shambarger herself was able to purchase a smaller, original oil paining for $100 last year.

Another method by which patrons can purchase art at the fair is to use Krasl Bucks, which not only come with special perks, but also help to support the Krasl Art Center itself.

“When you purchase Krasl Bucks and use them to purchase art at the art fair, you get some art fair amenities, close-by parking, a goody bag and an art fair poster,” Shambarger said. “Patrons purchase the Krasl Bucks in $25 increments with a $100 minimum, which includes a $25 donation to the Krasl.”

Shambarger also recommends setting up payment plans with artists if patrons wish to purchase pieces of work that are priced beyond their immediate budgets, something she herself has done in the past.

“Artists want to sell their work. They want to negotiate how it is paid for, but not its price,” Shambarger explained. “It’s insulting to artists to try to bargain with them.”

Another program that enables children to purchase affordable art is the Children’s Art Purchase Program, or CAPP.

“Artists can voluntarily participate in this program, and their booths are marked with orange flags. They sell art for $10 or less to children 14 and under,” Shambarger said. “It encourages children to enjoy art, have art and purchase art during the art fair.”

Another way that the Krasl Art Fair caters to younger patrons is the Krasl Kid’s Zone, located on the grounds of the art center.

“There is a make-and-take craft that the children can make, and it’s based on this year’s art fair poster that shows a blown-glass vase by Douglas and Renee Sigwarth,” Shambarger said. “Once they finish the crafts, they can exhibit them during the fair and then take them home when they leave the fair.”

The Kid’s Zone will also have a stage for performances that children and families will enjoy, as well as an emerging artists’ booth where teenage and college-age artists can display their work.

“Any teenagers can participate, and we still have space for more,” Shambarger said. “Teens can contact Cindy Jakeway by calling the Krasl if they are interested in participating. Fired-Up students from Water Street Glassworks will also have their artwork for sale at the Kid’s Zone.”

“The Krasl Kid’s Zone is a fun place, and it’s really cool to have a creative outlet for the kids,” Shambarger said. “It’s important to get them involved because these kids will become our future patrons and collectors.”

With more than 500 volunteers working to make the Art Fair on the Bluff a success, both patrons and artists are sure to enjoy the weekend. More information about the event is available by visiting www.krasl.org or by calling (269) 983-0271.