History of the Fair

chicago wells street art fair

The Chicago Wells Street Art Fair is an annual event that showcases the vibrant art scene in the Windy City. Held in the historic Old Town neighborhood, this art fair brings together artists, collectors, and art enthusiasts from all around the country.

This highly anticipated event features over 200 juried artists who display their unique creations in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, glasswork, and more. From contemporary and abstract art to traditional and folk art, there is something for every taste and style.

What sets the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair apart from other art fairs is its lively atmosphere. The streets are filled with live music, delicious food vendors, and interactive art installations, creating an immersive experience for visitors. Whether you are an art collector looking to add to your collection or someone simply looking to appreciate the beauty of art, this fair offers a delightful and engaging experience.

If you are planning to attend the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair, don’t forget to bring your wallet! Many of the artists sell their artwork directly, giving you a chance to take home a unique piece of Chicago’s art scene. So, mark your calendars and get ready to explore the vibrant world of art at the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair.

About the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair

The Chicago Wells Street Art Fair is an annual event held in the historic Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. It is one of the oldest juried art fairs in the city, showcasing a wide range of artistic talent from local and national artists.

Founded in 1974, the fair has become a beloved tradition for art enthusiasts and collectors alike. It provides a platform for artists to showcase their work, engage with the community, and sell their creations directly to the public.

The fair features over 250 artists exhibiting their work across various mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, jewelry, and more. Visitors can explore the booths, interact with the artists, and purchase unique and original pieces of art.

In addition to the diverse range of artwork, the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair also offers a variety of food vendors, live music performances, and interactive activities for all ages. It creates a vibrant and lively atmosphere that attracts people from all walks of life.

The fair is organized by the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association (OTMRA), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting local businesses and artists. Proceeds from the event go towards funding community initiatives and programs in the Old Town neighborhood.

Whether you are a seasoned art collector or simply someone who appreciates creativity, the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair is a must-visit event. It offers a unique opportunity to discover new artists, find one-of-a-kind pieces, and immerse yourself in the rich and vibrant artistic culture of Chicago.

History of the Fair

History of the Fair

The Wells Street Art Fair has a rich history that dates back to the 1940s. Initially called the “Old Town Holiday,” the fair was organized by a group of local artists who wanted to showcase their work to the community.

Over the years, the fair grew in popularity and soon became a tradition in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. It attracted artists from all over the country, showcasing a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums.

One of the highlights of the fair is the juried art competition, where artists compete for cash prizes and recognition. This competition has helped to launch the careers of many up-and-coming artists.

In addition to the art displays, the fair features live entertainment, food vendors, and interactive activities for attendees of all ages. It has become a beloved event in the community, drawing thousands of visitors each year.

Throughout its history, the Wells Street Art Fair has remained committed to supporting the arts and fostering a sense of community. It continues to be a platform for both established and emerging artists to connect with art enthusiasts and collectors.

Street Art in Chicago

Street Art in Chicago

Chicago is known for its vibrant street art scene, with walls and buildings becoming canvases for creative expression. From colorful murals to thought-provoking graffiti, the city’s streets are alive with artistic energy.

One of the most famous street art neighborhoods in Chicago is Pilsen. This diverse community has a rich artistic history and is home to numerous murals that reflect its cultural heritage. Walking through the streets of Pilsen feels like exploring an outdoor art gallery, with vibrant colors and intricate designs at every turn.

Another popular destination for street art enthusiasts is Wicker Park. This hip neighborhood is filled with independent boutiques, trendy cafes, and, of course, stunning murals. Artists from all over the world come to Wicker Park to showcase their work, turning blank walls into breathtaking pieces of art.

The Role of Street Art in Chicago’s Cultural Scene

Street art plays a crucial role in Chicago’s cultural scene. It not only adds beauty to the city’s urban landscape but also serves as a form of social commentary. Many artists use their work to address important social and political issues, sparking conversations and challenging the status quo.

Moreover, street art has become a driving force behind community engagement and neighborhood revitalization efforts. By transforming neglected spaces into vibrant art hubs, artists contribute to the growth and revitalization of Chicago’s communities.

Exploring Chicago’s Street Art Scene

For those interested in exploring Chicago’s street art scene, there are several ways to get started. Walking or biking around neighborhoods like Pilsen, Wicker Park, and Logan Square is a great way to stumble upon hidden gems. Alternatively, guided street art tours are available, providing insights into the artists’ stories and the inspiration behind their work.

When exploring Chicago’s street art, it’s essential to respect the artists’ work and the surrounding community. Taking photographs and sharing them on social media can help promote local artists and their impact on the city.

Artists at the Fair

The Chicago Wells Street Art Fair showcases a diverse range of artists from across the country. With over 250 artists participating, visitors can explore a wide variety of artistic styles, mediums, and themes. From paintings and sculptures to photography and jewelry, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Emerging Artists

One of the highlights of the fair is the chance to discover new and emerging talent. This year, several up-and-coming artists will be showcasing their work. These artists bring fresh perspectives and innovative techniques to the art scene, making the Fair a must-visit for art enthusiasts looking for the next big thing.

Featured Artists

Alongside the emerging artists, the Fair also features a selection of well-established and highly regarded artists. These artists have a strong presence in the art world and have gained recognition for their exceptional skills and unique artistic visions. Their works often command high prices and are highly sought after by collectors.

Visitors can expect to see a diverse range of artworks from these featured artists, including stunning landscapes, captivating portraits, and thought-provoking abstract pieces. Whether you are a seasoned art collector or simply appreciate the beauty of art, the works of these featured artists are sure to captivate and inspire.

Interactive Installations

Interactive Installations

In addition to the traditional artworks on display, the Fair also includes interactive installations created by local artists. These interactive exhibits allow visitors to engage with the artwork on a deeper level, encouraging them to become active participants in the creative process.

From interactive light displays to hands-on sculpture workshops, these installations offer a unique and immersive artistic experience. Visitors can bring their own creativity to life and gain a deeper understanding of the artistic process.

Overall, the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair is a celebration of artistic talent. Whether you are a seasoned art enthusiast or simply looking for a fun and inspiring day out, the Fair has something for everyone. Make sure to check out the diverse array of artists and their stunning works on display!

Types of Artwork on Display

Types of Artwork on Display

At the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair, you will find a diverse array of artwork on display. The participating artists showcase their talents and unique styles through various mediums. From traditional paintings to contemporary sculptures, there is something for everyone to admire and appreciate.



One of the most common types of artwork on display at the fair is paintings. Artists use a variety of techniques such as oil, acrylic, watercolor, or mixed media to create stunning visuals on canvas or paper. You will find landscapes, portraits, abstract art, and more, each showcasing the artist’s creativity and skill.


If you enjoy three-dimensional art, you won’t be disappointed. Sculptures made from wood, metal, glass, or stone can be found throughout the fair. Whether it’s a minimalist piece or a complex figurine, each sculpture tells a unique story and adds an extra dimension to the overall art experience.

Medium Description
Photography Photographers capture striking images that freeze the beauty of moments, landscapes, and people.
Printmaking Using various techniques like etching, lithography, or screen printing, artists create intricate and detailed prints on paper or fabric.
Jewelry Artists craft unique and wearable masterpieces using precious metals, gemstones, and other materials, offering a blend of fashion and art.
Textile Art From woven tapestries to intricate embroidery, textile artists express their creativity through fabric, thread, and fibers, creating visually captivating pieces.

These are just a few examples of the types of artwork you can expect to find at the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair. The event is a celebration of creativity and provides a platform for talented artists to showcase their work, inspiring and engaging visitors from all walks of life.

Activities and Entertainment

Activities and Entertainment

At the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair, you will find a range of activities and entertainment options to enhance your experience. From live music to interactive art installations, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the highlights of the event is the live music performances featuring talented local and national artists. From rock and blues to jazz and folk, you can find a variety of genres to suit your taste. The sound stages scattered throughout the fair provide a lively and energetic atmosphere, creating the perfect backdrop for browsing the art booths.

If you are interested in getting hands-on with art, there are several interactive art installations where you can unleash your creativity. These installations offer a chance to participate in the artistic process and create your own unique masterpiece. Whether it’s painting, sculpture, or mixed media, you can explore different mediums and techniques under the guidance of experienced artists.

For families with children, the fair offers a dedicated Kids Zone. Here, little ones can engage in various art and craft activities, such as face painting, pottery making, and collaborative mural painting. There are also storytelling sessions, puppet shows, and live performances specifically tailored for young audiences.

In addition to the art-related activities, the fair also features a wide range of food and beverage vendors. From gourmet food trucks to traditional festival fare, you can satisfy your cravings while taking a break from exploring the art booths.

Lastly, don’t forget to take a leisurely stroll along Wells Street to explore the surrounding neighborhood. With its charming shops, cafes, and historic architecture, it is the perfect complement to your art fair experience.

Overall, the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair offers a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere filled with activities and entertainment for all ages. Whether you are a seasoned art enthusiast or simply looking for a fun day out, this event is not to be missed.

Food and Drink Options

Food and Drink Options

At the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair, you won’t have to worry about going hungry or thirsty. There are plenty of delicious food and drink options available for you to enjoy while you peruse the incredible artwork.

Food Vendors

Food Vendors

There will be a wide variety of food vendors at the fair, offering something for every palate. You can indulge in classic Chicago favorites like deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches. If you’re in the mood for something international, there will also be vendors serving dishes from around the world, ranging from Mexican street tacos to Indian curry.


No art fair experience is complete without a refreshing beverage. You’ll find a range of options to quench your thirst, from cold beer to chilled wine. If you prefer non-alcoholic options, there will also be stands serving ice-cold lemonade, iced coffee, and other refreshing drinks.

Make sure to come hungry and ready to explore the culinary delights that the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair has to offer!

Food Description
Deep-Dish Pizza A Chicago specialty, with a deep, doughy crust and plenty of cheese and toppings.
Chicago-Style Hot Dogs Hot dogs served on poppy seed buns and topped with mustard, chopped onions, relish, tomatoes, pickles, sport peppers, and celery salt.
Italian Beef Sandwiches Tender slices of beef served on a roll and dipped in flavorful au jus.
Mexican Street Tacos Authentic street-style tacos filled with your choice of meat, topped with onions, cilantro, and salsa.
Indian Curry Rich and flavorful curry dishes, served with rice and naan bread.

Location and Directions

Location and Directions

The Chicago Wells Street Art Fair takes place in the heart of the Old Town neighborhood on Wells Street. The fair stretches from North Avenue to Division Street, making it easily accessible for both locals and visitors.

If you’re coming from downtown Chicago, you can easily reach the fair by taking the CTA Red Line to the Clark/Division stop. From there, it’s just a short walk east to Wells Street.

If you prefer to drive, there are several parking options available nearby. There are both metered street parking spots and parking garages in the area. However, parking can be limited and it’s recommended to arrive early to secure a spot.

If you’re using a GPS or navigation app, you can enter the address of the Old Town Triangle Association, located at 1763 N North Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60614, as a destination. The fair is just a short walk from this address.

Once you arrive at the fair, you’ll find a vibrant atmosphere filled with art, music, and food. The fair is spread out along Wells Street, allowing attendees to easily explore the various booths and exhibits.

Address: Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (312) 654-8683
Email: info@wellsstreetartfest.org
Website: www.wellsstreetartfest.org

Whether you’re a local art enthusiast or a visitor to Chicago, the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair is a must-see event. Plan your visit and make sure to enjoy all the art and experiences it has to offer!

Ticket Information

Interested in attending the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair? Here’s everything you need to know about ticket options and prices:

  • General Admission: $15
  • Senior Citizens (65+): $10
  • Children (12 and under): Free

Tickets can be purchased online or at the event entrance. Please note that online ticket sales will close 24 hours before the event starts. If you purchase tickets online, make sure to bring your confirmation email or show your digital ticket at the entrance.

For groups of 10 or more, discounted group tickets are available. Please contact our customer service for more information.

Once you have your ticket, you’ll have access to all the art exhibits, live performances, food stalls, and workshops. Keep in mind that some workshops and activities may require separate registration or additional fees.

Don’t miss out on this incredible art fair in Chicago. Get your tickets now and mark your calendar!

Supporting Local Artists

One of the main goals of the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair is to support local artists. We believe in the importance of showcasing and promoting the work of artists who live and work in our community.

By attending the art fair, you not only get the chance to admire and purchase beautiful artwork, but you also directly support local artists. Buying artwork directly from the artists themselves allows you to develop a personal connection with the creators and learn more about their creative process.

Local artists often face challenges in gaining exposure and finding opportunities to showcase their work. The Wells Street Art Fair provides a platform for them to showcase their talent and reach a wider audience. We are proud to provide a supportive and nurturing environment where local artists can thrive.

In addition to attending the art fair, there are other ways you can support local artists. Consider visiting local art galleries and studios to discover new talent and make purchases. Sharing their work on social media and recommending them to friends and family can also help increase their visibility.

Supporting local artists not only benefits the artists themselves, but it also enriches our community and cultural landscape. Art plays a vital role in expressing our collective identity and reflecting the diverse perspectives of our society.

Next time you attend the Chicago Wells Street Art Fair, take a moment to appreciate the incredible talent and hard work of the local artists. By supporting them, you are helping to cultivate a vibrant and thriving arts community in Chicago.

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