57th Annual Old Town Art Fair June 10 and 11, 2006

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Recently ranked the #1 Fine Art & Craft Show in Chicago by The Harris List, the 57th Annual Old Town Art Fair will be held in the historic Old Town Triangle District in Chicago on June 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine. Highlights include the work of 260 nationally acclaimed artists, a new Soundstage featuring live entertainment, a Garden Walk, Self-Guided Historic Tour, Children's Corner and Food Court. The Main Gate is at Lincoln and Wisconsin Avenues. Suggested donation is $5.00 and proceeds benefit a host of local youth groups, schools, and neighborhood preservation projects.

The Old Town Triangle District will again provide the setting for the 57th Annual Old Town Art Fair, the oldest and most prestigious juried outdoor art fair of its kind, recently ranked the #1 Fine Art & Craft Show in Chicago and 6th among the Top 10 Shows in the country by The Harris List. Produced by the Old Town Triangle Association, a not-for-profit community organization, the annual fundraiser is a 100 percent volunteer effort.

This year’s Fair will be held on June 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine. The Main Gate is at Lincoln and Wisconsin Avenues and the requested donation is $5.00; there is no request for donation for children 12 or under. Proceeds benefit a host of local youth groups, schools, and neighborhood preservation projects. For more information, visit http://www.oldtownartfair.com or call (312) 337-1938.

“We are thrilled that the Old Town Art Fair has received top rankings from The Harris List, which we attribute to the dedication and support of Old Town residents and to the 750 neighborhood volunteers who come together each year to make it all possible,” said Joan Janowski, General Chair of the 2005-2006 Old Town Art Fair.” This year, we’re very excited to offer a new dimension to the Fair with the addition of a Soundstage, featuring a variety of Chicago’s favorite musical artists to complement the fine art.”

The 2006 Old Town Art Fair will host 260 nationally acclaimed artists chosen by an independent jury of professional artists, gallery owners and museum curators. On display will be 2D- and 3D- mixed media, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, and works in metal, stone and wood.

The new Soundstage, located on the Ogden Mall at Wisconsin Avenue and Orleans Street, will feature many Chicago favorites. The Lincoln Park High School Show Orchestra leads the line-up on Saturday with a performance at noon, followed by the school’s Jazz Ensemble at 1:15 p.m.; Stanley Paul plays the Great American Songbook at 3 p.m.; and, Sons of the Never Wrong performs at 4:30 p.m. On Sunday, the Boys’ Barbershop Ensemble of Walter Payton College Prep High School takes the stage at noon; followed by the Hermon Baptist Church Gospel Choir at 1:15 p.m.; Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan at 2:30 p.m.; and, closing with Devil in a Woodpile at 4:30 p.m.

Also new will be a free raffle drawing offering fairgoers the chance to enter to win a $500 gift certificate, redeemable for artwork of their choice from one or more of the exhibitors during this year’s Fair. Fill-in-the-blank entry forms will be available, one per person, at all Entrance Gates and drawings will be held at the Soundstage on Saturday at 4 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m.; the winner need not be present to win. Official Rules will be posted at all Entrance Gates.

Other highlights include a Garden Walk through more than 40 urban home gardens with Brochure Maps available at all Gates; a Self-Guided Historic Tour of the Old Town Triangle District with maps included in the Old Town Art Fair’s Official Program Book distributed at all Gates; a Children’s Corner featuring marionette shows and hands-on arts and crafts activities; and, a Food Court hosted by popular local eateries. Souvenir Stores throughout the Fair will offer collectible posters and other items featuring the striking work of 2006 Showcase Artist: Photographer Albert Koetsier.

In a time-honored tradition, the General Chair selects the work of an exhibiting artist each year to promote the Old Town Art Fair. This year’s honoree is a native of the Netherlands who currently resides in Lake Elsinore, California, and is a long-time exhibitor at the Fair.

Koetsier specializes in the art of x-rayography, an art form that was introduced almost one hundred years ago and furthered by the work of Dr. Dain Tasker, who pioneered the use of x-rays as art in 1930 and made beautiful images of flowers. As evident by the tulips featured on the 2006 Old Town Art Fair Poster, Koetsier evolved the art-form by composing his images poetically in a way that tells a story. The process includes the use of a specialized projector of Koetsier’s own design, which he uses to shoot the x-ray “negative” to develop the “positive,” later finishing each composition with the same translucent paints used over a century ago on daguerreotypes and postcards. This so called hand-tinting of black and white photographs is done by Koetsier’s wife, Anne, who uses a brush to tint each piece by hand.

“As both a student and artist, in awe of the world of art, I’m delighted and honored to have been chosen this year’s Showcase Artist,” said Koetsier. The “Tulip” image selected has an unexpected poetic beauty about it, and reflects the beautiful union between passionate art and regimented science, monochrome depth and colorful surfaces, philosophical insight and pragmatic distance, that result from x-rayography.” For more information about Koetsier’s work, visit http://www.beyondlight.com.

The Old Town Art Fair continues in the spirit of the “Old Town Holiday,” a popular event started in 1949 that invited artistic residents to display their work and collected 25 cent donations to raise money for improved living, working and recreational conditions in the area. “Today’s Fair is a great departure from neighbors hanging art on fences, but we’re proud that the original intent and commitment are the same – children and community, and the national ranking by The Harris List and continued success of the Fair as a fundraiser, makes our efforts that much more rewarding,” said Janowski.

Published by Editor and Consultant Dr. Larry Harris, The Harris List annually rates the approximately 125 best fine art and craft shows in the United States, based on artist surveys and objective measurements. For information, visit http://www.harrislist.com.

Caption: The 2006 Old Town Art Fair Poster image entitled “Tulip” is the work of this year’s Showcase Artist: Albert Koetsier, a California-based photographer specializing in the art of x-rayography and among 260 exhibitors at the Fair.

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Lisa Doherty