Old Town Art Fair Will Return for 2021 on June 12


New this year, pre-registration will be required for entry to the Fair and will open Saturday, May 8 at 10 AM.


CGN Staff via PR

We just heard today that the Old Town Art Fair and its sponsoring organization, the Old Town Triangle Association, plan to host an in-person event this coming June after cancelling the 2020 edition due to COVID-19, the first time the fair had to miss a year in 70 years. 

Last spring the fair and association looked ahead to an unpredictable summer and opted to return booth fees to the 250 participating artists and automatically invite all 2020 jury-selected artists to take part, they hoped, in the 2021 fair. As a result no new applications were accepted for this year.

Now those plans for a re-do are happening. Organizers celebrated the announcement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and DCASE that OTAF will return during the second weekend in June. The announcement recognized “the thoughtful application and adherence to city and state guidelines for re-opening.”

Art Fair Chair Anne Giffels noted that more than 200 artists have confirmed their participation and are looking forward to returning to Old Town. Numerous visitors are also making plans to visit, after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 shutdown. “We are thrilled to share this great news with the many neighbors and visitors who have contacted us about planning their trip to Chicago. We receive messages daily, asking us if the Fair is a certainty and wondering when they can pre-register and make plans for the Art Fair. The Old Town Art Fair is a destination for the people of Chicago as well as out-of-town visitors and we are happy to welcome them.”

Safety measures for the 2021 Art Fair include a larger footprint for adequate room to move around as well as to accommodate spaced artist booths, plus  other measures that are standard practice by now. There will also be additional space for food vendors.

The OTAF suggests a $12 donation to allow the Old Town Triangle to continue funding for multiple organizations throughout Chicago. Proceeds from the Art Fair are given to the community through grants to schools, charities, and other non-profit organizations.

The OTAF is juried by local art professionals, curators, gallery owners, and artists and is offered by the Old Town Triangle Association, a 501(c)(3) Illinois corporation. First mounted in 1949 as the Old Town Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair, the OTAF brings fine art to the tree-covered streets of Chicago’s Old Town Triangle neighborhood. Until 2020, it had been held continuously since its first offerings (on the fences of homes). 

In-person fairs have yet to make a solid return to Chicago yet, but this week has brought news from City Hall about attempts at loosening regulations and opening up the city in time for summer. The Hyde-Park based 57th Street Art Fair, the city's oldest, announced that it will be virtual now through May 2022. Other neighborhood fairs in the city and suburbs are bound to make a reentry plan in 2021. 

International expositions like Intersect Chicago (formerly SOFA) and EXPO CHICAGO plan to return in late 2021 (Intersect) and spring 2022 (EXPO).