57th Street Art Fair collection of visual materials and 57th Street Art Fair files of Adrian Alexander

Inclusive Dates: 
1947–2001, 1964–1982
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

The 57th Street Art Fair collection of visual materials consists of 77 photographic prints, 47 photomechanical prints, and color posters documenting the annual 57th Street Art Fair in Chicago (Ill.). Photographs show artwork, judging activities, and general views of the fairs. The posters, generally the work of Hyde Park community artists, advertised the fair in various years; also included is a text panel from the Al Fresco exhibition marking the 30th annual fair.

The 57th Street Art Fair files of Adrian Alexander [manuscript] (0.5 linear ft. : 1 box) consists of records of the annual outdoor art fair, including fair committee rosters, 1973-1982; the handbook for the publicity committee, 1966; traffic control materials, 1964-1968; and the master copy of Functions relating to Jury Selection, Regulations and Rules, Decorations and the Information Desk, ca. 1968. These materials were collected by Mr. Adrian Alexander, who participated in the committee, and donated to Chicago Historical Society in 1991.

Biographical Historical Note

The 57th Street Art Fair was founded in 1948 by Mary Louise Womer, proprietor of The Little Gallery on 57th Street, which was then a thriving arts colony. The early fairs were not juried, but they contained a number of exceptional artists. The fair became juried in 1963 and continues today on the first full weekend of June.

Additional Notes

Related collection: 57th Street Art Fair collection by Mary Louise Womer, Chicago History Museum; Vi Fogle Uretz Papers and 57th Street Art Fair Records, University of Chicago Library. Also related: Mary Louise Womer photographs collection, Chicago History Museum: closed until processed.