Naperville fair offers art discovery for all along Riverwalk

Naperville fair offers art discovery for all along Riverwalk

 
 
Posted9/12/2017 12:26 PM
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  • The Riverwalk Fine Art Fair will be back along Jackson Avenue, Main Street and the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16 and 17, for its 32nd year, featuring booths from 135 artists.

    The Riverwalk Fine Art Fair will be back along Jackson Avenue, Main Street and the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16 and 17, for its 32nd year, featuring booths from 135 artists. Daily Herald file photo September 2013

  • At work in her Naperville studio, ceramic artist Laurie Pollpeter Eskenazi creates pottery pieces like the ones she will bring downtown for the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair.

    At work in her Naperville studio, ceramic artist Laurie Pollpeter Eskenazi creates pottery pieces like the ones she will bring downtown for the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair. Courtesy of Laurie Pollpeter Eskenazi

  • Laurie Pollpeter Eskenazi, a ceramic artist from Naperville, is among local artists who will be displaying items Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16 and 17, during the Naperville Art League's 32nd annual Riverwalk Fine Art Fair.

    Laurie Pollpeter Eskenazi, a ceramic artist from Naperville, is among local artists who will be displaying items Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16 and 17, during the Naperville Art League's 32nd annual Riverwalk Fine Art Fair. Courtesy of Laurie Pollpeter Eskenazi

  • Speaking with artists is part of the fun of the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair for many art lovers who make the annual event a staple of their early fall calendar.

      Speaking with artists is part of the fun of the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair for many art lovers who make the annual event a staple of their early fall calendar. Daniel White | Staff Photographer September 2015

Art lovers come on purpose, planning an early fall weekend around the immersion of artistic skill that sets itself up for two days along the Naperville Riverwalk.

Weekend workout enthusiasts come by accident, happening upon the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair during their morning jog or afternoon stroll.

Downtown shoppers and diners can have such luck, too, as the fair is set to run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16 and 17, along Jackson Avenue, Main Street and the Riverwalk path, giving crowds plenty of time to find art -- whether they sought it or not.

"We bring a beautiful thing to downtown Naperville," said Deborah Venezia with the Naperville Art League, which puts on the show that's now in its 32nd year. "It's a fall tradition."

The scene? Relaxing yet vibrant, with the colorful works of 135 artists displayed for all to admire.

The weather? "Generally beautiful," Venezia says. "The trees are just starting to turn color."

The art? Varied. Artists bring sculpture, pottery, jewelry, paintings, drawings, photography and creations that defy labels. Artists come from the suburbs, the state, the nation and even other countries, with the most faraway exhibitor hailing from Israel, Venezia said.

"It's almost a museum, you get such a broad experience," she said. "It's a little vacation."

The free-admission fair gives artists a booth to make their own and a space to meet with customers, who often enjoy chatting about the process as much as they do purchasing art.

"You make friends with the artists," Venezia said.

Laurie Pollpeter Eskenazi of Naperville is one of them. The ceramic artist has been exhibiting at the fair for close to 15 years, working hard each time to make pottery that will impress the judges who decide who can participate in the juried show.

She said she appreciates what the fair has done to prove the value of art to shoppers in Naperville.

"People have been able to realize that getting an original piece of artwork is so much more beneficial, even psychologically, having it hanging in your home, than having a poster from Bed Bath and Beyond," Pollpeter Eskenazi said.

"You meet the artist. You buy from the artist. You feel a connection to the work. It brings a level of appreciation and joy to the work and your life."

Artist Debora Duran-Geiger of Santa Fe has brought her work to Naperville twice before. Once for the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair in 2015 and again early this year when five murals she painted and kiln-fired were installed along the southern wall of the Riverwalk at the new Water Street District.

"Having the work displayed for all to see is really exciting," she said about the murals, called "Streaming History."

Works as large as the "Streaming History" pieces won't fit in her booth, but Duran-Geiger said she'll be setting up an eclectic mix of custom tile artwork for art fair clients -- both the purposeful and the accidental.

She had to skip last year's show to focus on finishing the five murals for the new downtown development, which features a hotel, banquet center, restaurants and shops. So she missed the "exquisite" display she found when she first visited the event.

"I'm raring to go this year," she said. "It's exciting to be showing my work."

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