CLAYTON – The Saint Louis Art Fair begins one week from today, Sept 7th and will run through the 9th in downtown Clayton, MO. With an expectation of more than 130,000 guests, this is expected to be a very big year for the Art Fair.
“This is our 25th anniversary,” said Carol Scheer, Media Specialist with C.E.L. Public Relations. “It’s considered to be one of the best art fairs in the country.”
The founders, Ben and Susan Uchitelle, wanted to change the landscape of Clayton 25 years ago and have continued to do just that. This year’s theme is “Perpetually in Motion” which helps to “capture the essence” of the annual gathering which continues to grow and create with each year.
“They wanted to create an outdoor space where people would find art and love it,” said Scheer. “Susan was instrumental to get Ben, who was the mayor at the time, to start a fair for people to come. They didn’t know how many people would actually show up, but crowds of people have attended every year since.”
Downtown Clayton will be closed for 8 blocks in preparation of the Saint Louis Art Fair starting on Thursday, Sept 6th. Artists will be able to set up their tents beginning Friday morning at 10am until Sunday evening when the Art Fair comes to a close at 5pm.
“Twenty-five years is a very special year to be celebrating,” said Sean Smothers, President of Cultural Festivals who manages and presents the Saint Louis Art Fair. “Not many art shows can boast about being around for this long and being this big. And that is all thanks to our artists.”
Smothers went on to say that this celebration is also thanks to their many volunteers who take shifts throughout the three-day event to help execute the fair across the St. Louis region.
“We will be celebrating all of our volunteers at the Artist Brunch on Sunday morning, but we also want to call out our volunteers who have been with us for 15 years or more,” said Smothers.
The Artist Brunch on Sunday is a big event for the artists in the show. During the brunch, the award winners are announced. If an artist receives an award from the fair then they do not submit an application to be in next year’s show.
“Artists apply in December,” said Smothers. “In March, we have five jurors who go through a 60-hour process of selecting the artists that will be in the show.”
Smothers explained that each year they have new jurors making the selections on artists’ pieces. Artists are encouraged to attend the selection process as well.
Artists Jeffrey Zachmann and his son, Carl, are building a giant kinetic, geared sculpture that will remain as a permanent installment in Clayton.
“They’re building it at the Art Fair where people can watch,” said Scheer. “I anticipate this being one of the highlights this year.”
The sculpture will not be completed during the three-day event, but it is due to be completed this fall and will be dedicated to the City of Clayton in a public space for all to enjoy.
“We’ve started working on the sculpture already to get a basic framework that we will take with us to the fair,” said Zachmann.
Zachmann said that the Saint Louis Art Fair brought the idea of the sculpture to him, seeing if he and his son would be interested in doing a piece that was related to this year’s theme: Perpetually in Motion.
“My son and I have never collaborated before,” said Zachmann. “It’s been a fun project, but also challenging.”
Zachmann has been presenting his own work at the Saint Louis Art Fair on and off since the late 90’s and his son has presented for 7 years. This is the first time that they have brought the two sides of kinetic sculpture together to make one large piece.
Jeffrey’s kinetic sculptures are typically focused on balls and tracks while Carl’s are focused on gears based on the industrial age.
The joint sculpture will present “gears and balls working together simultaneously,” said Zachmann.
This three-day event offers free admission and will feature 181 artists showcasing multiple mediums: ceramics, digital art, drawing and pastels, fiber, glass, jewelry, metalwork, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and wood. For additional information on the artists, food, entertainment and activities, visit www.saintlouisfair.com.