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Thursday, April 12, 2012 09:33 am

Indoor art fair with plenty of room

An Art Affair comes to the Orr Building April 14-15

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Artist and show organizer Ed Martin, whose work is on display here, gives each artist their “ultimate setup” with no space restrictions.

Local artist Ed Martin is bringing a different kind of art fair to Springfield. More akin to a casual, multi-artist gallery opening, Martin’s “An Art Affair - Second Annual Juried Invitational Fine Art Show,” takes place in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15.

Martin, who has experienced the frustrations of small booths and weather-related catastrophes at outdoor art fairs, intentionally creates an artist-friendly space. “What I do for the artist is I give them whatever space they want. The whole idea is for them to have their ultimate setup without any space restrictions. It makes for a totally different-looking show because it spreads it out and everybody can really do their work justice.”

The event reflects Martin’s sense of casual elegance. “It’s a no-tension art fair. It’s about the whole aura of the thing. It’s about nice people with nice, good art that have nice setups.” With glass walls allowing natural lighting and a fountain in the center of the room, the Orr Building’s climate-controlled environment encourages patrons to wander about and spend quality time at each booth.

Approximately 35 local and regional artists will display photography, wood, glass and metal work, fine jewelry, mixed media and other art forms. Of his selection process, Martin says, “I try to bring people who haven’t been here before, who are new to the area. I just try to bring new people and a new perspective on things.” In addition to artists from Madison, Wis., and Kansas City, Mo., this year’s show will include local artists Sheila Albright, Jerry Josserand, Cyd LaBonte and Tom Foolery’s Jewelry. Each artist will have works for sale at the show.

An Art Affair is a labor of love for Martin. A self-taught “outsider” artist who began working with glass more than 30 years ago, Martin, with the help of his brother, Joe, does all of the organizing and promotion for the show. All of the proceeds from the event are used to cover the costs of the Art Affair, including promotion, building rental, electricity and food for the artists during the show.

Although the Orr Building can accommodate nearly 150 booths, Martin plans to keep An Art Affair small. Hoping to top out at about 70 artists in upcoming years, the event will always provide a congenial space for artists and patrons alike.

An Art Affair runs Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Admission is $5. For more information about the event, contact Ed Martin at 217-652-2873. To learn more about Martin’s work, visit his website at www.edmartinart.com.

Contact Grace Sweatt at writtenbygrace@yahoo.com.

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