By Stacey Sauer
Education Coordinator, Rockford Art Museum
When I was 14 years old, my mother thought it would be a good idea for me to begin to volunteer my time at local organizations. Since I was a good girl and always did everything my mother told me to do, I promptly agreed. OK, so that isn’t necessarily true. I didn’t always listen to my mom, and my sense of volunteerism wasn’t exactly altruistic. Actually, I would describe it more as being “volun-told.” To make a long story short, I volunteered to work at Rockford Art Museum’s (RAM) Greenwich Village Art Fair (GVAF), a tradition I continued for 11 years before I was hired to be a part of the museum staff.
So, what kept me coming back to volunteer at the same fair each year? Well, again, it wasn’t just my sense of community and a desire to help out a local organization. Nope, what really kept me coming back year after year was the shopping. Each year, more than 120 artists from across the U.S., and from right here in Rockford, come and display their work at Greenwich Village Art Fair. And every year, without fail, I am always able to find at least one item that I feel I absolutely have to have. There’s always something for everyone, whether you’re looking for paintings, jewelry, pottery, or something completely unique. This year’s GVAF features 125 artists—40 are new!—plus two days of live music, including Grammy nominee Matthew Santos (Saturday, 1 p.m.), Starlite Radio, David Pedersen, Jim Hagerty and Jodi Beach Trio.
But Greenwich isn’t just for adults. The Creations by Kids tent (where I spend my weekend) is always a popular area. This year’s theme is “Under the Sea.” Activities for the kids include face painting, fish faces, fish prints (sorry, no real fish this year), sand painting, watercolor resists, Model Magic sea creatures, and create your own sea creature. This area is a fun place for the family to stop and rest in the shade. Tickets are $1 per activity or $5 for all seven.
Greenwich Village Art Fair is also a place to get great food. The Maytag Dairy tent is always a popular place, and now you can also stop by The Rock River Times Wine Bar, where you can purchase a Maytag cheese plate or cream puffs from Brio. TRRT Wine Bar also features the fair’s Saturday Crepery and Sunday Omelet Brunch, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. One of my favorite places to stop is the Village Pub, where you can grab burgers, hot dogs, brats, Mrs. Fisher’s chips, and soda or beer. If you have a chance, stop by WE-BE-POPPIN’ for some of the best kettle corn you will ever taste.
If you’re at the fair and feel like sitting down and relaxing, Kortman Gallery’s Point Bar may just be the place for you. Come and try the “Love Lemon” Martini, this year’s signature Art Fair cocktail. Point Bar also stays open after the fair closes Saturday, giving artists and fairgoers alike a chance to mingle, unwind and celebrate this Rockford tradition. (GVAF After Hours: Saturday, 6 to 8 p.m., free admission, cash bar.)
Before you leave the fair, stop in to Rockford Art Museum. Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to check out the Francis and June Spiezer Collection exhibition. RAM’s support group Visual Interest presents Eye on Art in RAM’s Art Annex, and if you haven’t seen work by Jim Julin, Keith Grace, Sherry Grace, Salem Barker, Javier Jimenez, or Tom Heflin, now is the time.
Greenwich Village Art Fair takes place Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at RAM, 711 N. Main St. Admission: $3 advance, $5 at gate, free for children 12 and younger. Advance tickets are available at the RAM Store or any Alpine Bank. Presenting Sponsor: Alpine Bank, Supporting Sponsors: Prismacolor and The Rock River Times. For more about GVAF—including a full list of artists and musicians—log on to www.rockfordartmuseum.org/gvaf.html.
Contact Rockford Art Museum Education Coordinator Stacey Sauer at email@example.com.
From the September 16-22, 2009 issue