One of my favorite things about summer is all of the art fairs. It’s a great way to introduce kids to art without the pressure (and cost) of taking them to an art museum. They make an especially great alternative for parents of toddlers who maybe can’t handle being in a stroller, walking, or being quiet. As someone who has had her kids run up to the Chagall Windows at the Art Institute giving myself, and security a heart attack, I get it.
Aside from being close, free, and outdoors, Art Fairs are really the best way to introduce children to art. You will see a wide variety, from jewelry to photographs, and painting to sculptures. You will also likely meet the artist. So while in a stuffy art museum a kid scowling, “what is that supposed to be” isn’t met with glares but usually a conversation with the artist about what it is and how he made it or saw it.
Many of the fairs in our area are run by the same production firm and include a kids art tent. These tents usually have hands-on projects and demos running all day long and make a great place to stop and take a break.
While art fairs are generally more relaxed and free, it’s still important to remind your children of some basic rules. No running, you don’t want to knock something or someone down. No touching, unless you are prompted to by the artist. At most of these shows the art is for sale, and nothing ruins it like grimy fingerprints all over it, or by being broken. I would expect the policy to be “you break it you bought it” so unless you’re intending to pick up a new statement piece, hands off.
When we visit, I give my kids small new sketch books and ask them to draw their favorite things, or what they are inspired to draw from what they saw. It’s a great way to keep little hands busy, especially if you are actually trying to buy some art! Another way to keep the kids entertained and interested is through games of I-spy or a scavenger hunt. Ask them to find a piece of art with something in it, say a bird, or fruit, or to find a type of art like a sculpture or painting. It’s a fun game for all ages and can be made harder or easier depending on the ages of the children. I created a printable scavenger hunt that you can take with you when you head off on your adventure! Just click the link or the image to print.
Now that you’ve gotten over the fear, head out to one of these local fairs and have fun, and enjoy art!
Lake County Art Fairs
Art in the Park – Northbrook
July 16-17, Village Green Park, Northbrook
Juried fine art and fine craft show. Includes live music both days, hands-on kids’ art activities and a food court
July 16 and August 20, Waukegan Arts District
A monthly celebration of arts in the Arts & Entertainment District in Waukegan. Each month this event showcases different art and artists at over 20 venues, offering free access to each site and a chance to meet the artists.
Glencoe Festival of Art
July 30-31, Downtown Glencoe
Features more than 110 juried artists from around the world. Live music, food and fun activities for kids, including an art scavenger hunt.
Festival of the Arts
August 6-7, Cook Park, Libertyville
The David Adler Music and Arts Center proudly presents it’s Annual Festival of the Arts in charming Cook Park located in historic downtown Libertyville. More than 70 talented artists come together to showcase their works of art over the course of the weekend. Along with these established artists, a youth art division celebrates the talents of young artists that are 18 years of age or younger.
Have you taken your kids to an art fair? Which is your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments section and share your tips and tricks!