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The Art Fair: Street festival postponed until 2020

 Hitting Pause: 

We're considering this our People's Liberty moment.

In that instance, one of the most influential experiments Cincinnati has (maybe ever) seen decided to hit the pause button. Not because they didn't have funding, not because they lost their direction; they did it because it didn't feel right. From what I personally understand, a leading factor was the mix of applicants wasn't yet a true "mix of applicants," and they felt they NEEDED to do something — retool, reinvestigate, reassess — in order to get things right. They cared about what they were trying to put forth and had to do the adult thing. PAUSE. And speaking as an observer, even in just casually visiting their website, the relaunch worked out really well.

With that similarity in the rearview, and on behalf of PAR-Projects, I'm announcing the pause of The Street Festival portion of Northside Summer Market ....until 2020. This is happening for a number of reasons, but primarily because we need to take some time to make the event what it's supposed to be.

As an organization that prides itself on creating and encourage unique thought, our primary summer event should fall into this same realm. In other words, we aren't Crafty Supermarket, The City Flea, or The OFF Market. Those groups do AMAZING things for the craft world, the maker world, and for Cincinnati as a whole. Please PLEASE continue supporting them. But in the same breath, please note what we create needs to primarily be a celebration of our region's painters, sculptors, printmakers, and illustrators — groups our non-profit looks to highlight, outside of a traditional gallery setting.

As we were considering this decision and announcement, we realized it's our job to actively recruit and curate The Art Fair, as we do our fine art installations & exhibitions. Having an open application process is a great way to connect with new talent; but we need to be attracting participants from near and far, like we do with everything else. It's also our job to recruit seasoned collectors, as well as new collectors simply looking to own original artwork that fills them with joy, confusion, or the belief of something real. Adopting this mindset will help us transition The Art Fair at Northside Summer Market into something special that is as unique as our neighborhood.

 To be clear: 

We're still hosting talented artists, artisans, and musicians as part of this year's Northside Summer Market. We're simply scaling things back as we plan for the future. This year, our main sponsor Humble Monk Brewing Company and our long-time supporter Bertke Electric are helping us transform their gigantic shared parking lot (at the corner of Blue Rock & Apple Street) into the central location and beer garden for the event. A big thanks goes out to both of them for helping us pull off this BIG transition!

This move will allow us to take a step back — to reconsider our messaging — especially as it relates to making sure our 2020 relaunch is an event where working artists feel welcomed and celebrated.

 With change comes opportunity: 

Still wondering about the silver lining?

If you weren't aware, this year we're providing $10,000 in micro-grants to members of our community and fellow non-profits to help us "activate" the neighborhood during Northside Summer Market. I personally wish I could take credit for this addition, but this is the product of our team's creative thinking, as well as suggestions from trusted members of our community.

Looking forward, and most importantly, we'd like to continue to place our emphasis on helping to reinvigorate our community's creative energy. This is the main reason we've decided to postpone until 2020. Improving the community-engagement piece of the event will be our primary focus in 2019. Since launching this year's Opportunities Page, we've received a number of EXCELLENT applications, so we'd like to keep growing this part of our programming.

All in all, we still look forward to seeing you this August 4th. We're still hosting artists. We're still hosting musicians. And most importantly, we're still activating the neighborhood with yard sales AND splashes of creative excitement.

We're simply retooling, reinvestigating, and reassessing how our street-based fine art fair will work ...and we're taking the necessary time and steps needed to get it right.

Related to this year's event:Once we've launched the separate event pages, we'll update this post with links to:
  • The Creative Homes at Northside Summer Market
  • The Humble Artisan Beer Garden at Northside Summer Market

Looking forward,

- -

Jonathan Sears
Executive Director
Professional Artistic
Research Projects
1662 Hoffner Street
Cincinnati, OH 45223


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