After a year of canceled sales opportunities for artists, Covington Art Fair is among shows that have returned in 2021.
It's something of a relief for the many artists whose livelihood is tied to art shows.
“When the pandemic hit, it killed us,” local clay artist Joseph Pelka says. “I do 15 or so art shows, and that feeds me and my family for the whole year.”
He is among the nearly 100 artists who will have work for sale at Covington Art Fair on Saturday and Sunday. The show takes place in the parking lot at Covington Plaza, 6382 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Artists come from around the country to be a part of the show, now in its 29th year. That provides a lot of variety including paintings, woodworking, jewelry and fabric art, says Larry Wardlaw, an executive at Asher Agency, which stages the art show for Covington Plaza.
Retailers in Covington Plaza often have specials during the art show, and there will be food trucks and vendors on site during the weekend. Musicians will be doing live two-hour sets both days.
Artists know that people who come to this show aren't just “kicking the tires,” Wardlaw says. They're looking to buy, and from high-end oil paintings to less expensive prints, there's something for just about every budget.
Though Covington is a smaller show than some others such as the Ann Arbor Art Fair in Michigan or shows in Chicago, Pelka says traveling artists are willing to add the local event to their schedules because it is in a prime location and has a reputation for quality.
Entrance to the show is juried by representatives from Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and Pelka credits organizers for not loading up the fair with “a bunch of junk.”
Visitors this year will likely find even more of that work than usual, he says.
Artists might not have had as many sales opportunities during the pandemic, but they didn't just stop creating. That means they have more art in stock and a wider variety of pieces.
Pelka also likes to debut new designs at the Covington show as a treat for local art lovers.
“It's the hometown crowd, and I always like to take care of the people here in Fort Wayne a little extra because they've been so supportive of my work,” he says. “I always like to splash brand-new designs at Covington.”
If you go
What: Covington Art Fair
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Covington Plaza, 6382 W. Jefferson Blvd.
More information: Facebook.com/CovingtonArtFair