In an effort to enrich the lives of Austin residents and spark economic growth on the West Side, local groups will host a free art fair along the 200 block of North Mayfield Avenue on July 28.
Along the closed-off block, the fair will feature art vendors, exhibits, a meditation space and peace garden, a raffle, as well as a gallery inside Third Unitarian Church, at 301 N. Mayfield Ave.
Funded with a grant from the Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities, the fair is being planned by the Chicago Austin Art Council and the Redevelopment Management Resources Inc. non-profit.
Serethea Reid, president of Central Austin Neighborhood Association and art fair coordinator, said the event will help improve the outside perspective of Austin and offer community members exposure to the arts.
Artists with work in the gallery so far include Shirley Hudson, whose paintings focus on Afrocentric and abstract themes; Joe Hardy, an abstract sculptor who works with stainless steel; Demetrius, who specializes in recreating ancient artifacts; and (29th) Ald. Chris Taliaferro, who is creating a piece specifically for the event.
Reid said she is asking artists registered for the fair to develop an interactive workshop they can host for attendees.
“Because we are offering artists a free space to be able to showcase and sell their work, we are asking that the artists give something back,” Reid said at the third and final awareness meeting held last month in preparation for the art fair.
Workshop participants can work with fabric art, create an anti-violence yard sign and write their names in hieroglyphics.
Art fair attendants will also have the opportunity to participate in a community collaboration piece that will be planned by Austin artist Shirley Hudson. Hudson said she has faith the fair will help enhance the lives of Austin residents.
“Art has a way of building up people’s moral, their lives and their spirit,” she said.
Hudson’s community piece will consist of two large paintings, one created by her and the rest by participants that day.
CANA member Beatrice Hardy said the event is really about trying to get people within the neighborhood to take pride in their community.
“Outside people treat your community how you treat it,” Hardy said. “If you show respect, people will see that and appreciate it.”
Fair attendants will also have the opportunity to participate in a group dance activity led by the Dancemakers are Peacemakers group ― which also received a grant from the Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities.