After nine years of showing her work at the Geneva Arts Fair, Susan Wilson has a clear memory of what happened at her first one.
Wilson recalls when a 6-year-old boy asked her if she had any fish paintings left, Wilson did, and the boy said he wanted to buy one. His father asked if he had any money and the boy responded, "Mom has her checkbook."
What: The 10th annual Geneva Arts Fair, featuring juried work by more than 150 professional artists
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 23-24
Where: Downtown Geneva, along South Third Street and South State Street
Details: Call (630) 232-6060 or visit gevevachamber.com.
"To me that means that these mothers and fathers that bring their kids to this festival are interested in exposing their kids to items other than posters," said Wilson, a professional artist for 25 years. "And to spend money on real art, shows the value of professional and original art. That boy is a collector in the making."
Wilson, an oil painter from Lisle, is one of eight artists that have participated in all nine Geneva Arts Fairs and will be returning for the 10th on Saturday and Sunday, July 22-23. Admission is free, and the fair runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.
Laura Rush, communications manager for the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, recently spoke to those eight artists.
"When I was talking to them they all overwhelmingly said it's an upscale show," Rush said. "Geneva really appreciates art."
The art-loving residents of Geneva are a main reason Wilson returns. She said the attendees are very engaging and interested in how the art is created. This fair features several different kinds of art such as photography, painting and jewelry.
"This is a fine arts fair, not a craft show," Rush said. "There are 150 artists and they have to submit the art to be judged to be in the fair."
Having been a part of this event for the past nine years is an "honor" for Wilson because the show's judges are "very particular on what art gets in."
The featured art is judged by professionals and winners are announced Sunday. There are eight awards of excellence worth $500 presented for 2-D and 3-D artwork.
The fair also represents the second part of the Shodeen Swedish Cottage, which started at the Swedish Days festival. Children can help put trimming on the cottage before the final stage of the three part process ends at the Festival of the Vine. The cottage will then be donated to Mutual Ground by Shodeen. Kids will find the cottage at the courthouse lawn and can help either day of the festival.
Unlike Swedish Days and Festival of the Vine, the Geneva Arts Fair does not have any food vendors, but Rush said many downtown restaurants have specials throughout the weekend.
"Out of the four festivals we do, this one is probably the most upscale," Rush said. "It's just different from the other ones because we are coming up with the activities where the art fair just kind of runs itself."
The Chamber of Commerce is great help to the artists, though. Wilson cited it as another reason why she chooses to return year after year.
"The volunteers come around and see if the artists need anything or need a break," Wilson said. "They make sure that people get out to the fair. They're really a great bunch of people to work with.
"They're very efficient and dedicated people."