RAM Talks Art: Greenwich Village Art Fair–a Rockford tradition–Sept. 18-19

The 63rd annual Rockford Art Museum Greenwich Village Art Fair takes place Sept. 18-19, rain or shine, on the grounds of Rockford Art Museum at Riverfront Museum Park in downtown Rockford. Gates are open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 18, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 19. Photo provided

By Guest Columnist Scott Prine
Chairman, RAM Greenwich Village Art Fair

The Rockford Art Museum (RAM) Greenwich Village Art Fair is a Rockford tradition that began in 1948 on the banks of the Rock River and the rolling lawn of the former Burpee Art Museum. According to the Rockford Register Republic, local resident George Becker suggested the Rockford Art Association (now RAM) should sponsor an outdoor show like those he had seen overseas in the armed forces. “String clotheslines between trees on the lawn and let the artists hang their pictures on them,” he said.

Sixty-two years and thousands of artists later, the Greenwich Village Art Fair is one of the oldest continuous art fairs in the Midwest. Jane the dinosaur now occupies the rolling lawn where it all began, but just next door on the level pavement of Riverfront Museum Park, which houses Rockford Art Museum, more than 120 artists from throughout the United States make up a festive, family-friendly place where the community comes together in a celebration of shopping, listening, eating and relaxing.

Alpine Bank has been the presenting sponsor of the art fair for 17 consecutive years, while 25 civic-minded volunteers work nine months out of the year to put the event together—along with 200 volunteers who work throughout the weekend of the event. Over the past eight years, the event has evolved into a festival of art, music, food and children’s art activities. Supporting sponsors include SwedishAmerican Medical Foundation, The Rock River Times and Prismacolor.

In addition to a vast selection of juried, fine art, visitors can browse a Gourmet Marketplace of packaged dips, cheeses, herbs and fine wines or wander through the Bohemian Bazaar of emerging artists, handcrafted soaps and moccasins, or vintage clothing and accessories.

While pondering the purchase of a unique piece of art, jewelry or textile, friends and family gather at the Bud Light Village Pub for a freshly-grilled burger or brat, or savor an individually-prepared crepe or omelet at The Rock River Times Wine Bar. The Kortman Gallery Point Bar is a popular gathering spot to share art finds with friends while sipping a signature martini or cocktail of choice. Nearby, lines form for delicious Matt Hey Ice Cream, popular kettle corn, and craft beers from Carlyle Brewing.

Children of all ages enjoy the Prismacolor Creations by Kids. The year’s theme is Egyptian Art. Enthusiastic young artists will create wall hangings, paintings, bookmarks, sculpture and jewelry in the image of Egyptian symbols.

As crowds browse the rows of art-filled tents, music permeates the air from the Kryptonite Music Stage. World-class music by local talent has become a tradition. Steve Stapler, Jodi Beach, Frank Calvagna, and Sarah Abramowitz, along with Jim Grass and Jim Hagerty, Hope Despite and Starlite Radio will entertain audiences.

The Rockford Art Museum Greenwich Village Art Fair, presented by Alpine Bank, truly is a Rockford tradition where the community gathers with friends and neighbors in a festive art-filled setting. The RAM Greenwich Village Art Fair will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday Sept. 18, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 19, on the grounds of Rockford Art Museum at Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. Advance tickets are $3 and are available at Rockford Art Museum and all Alpine Bank locations.

For more details, log on to www.rockfordartmuseum.org/gvaf.

Contact RAM Greenwich Village Art Fair Chairman Scott Prine via e-mail at staff@rockfordartmuseum.org.

From the Sept. 15-21, 2010 issue

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