“Best in Category” Winners Say Midwest Salute to the Arts Provides Great Atmosphere
You might not expect to discover exceptional artworks in southwest Illinois but, for one weekend in August, Fairview Heights transitions into an aesthetic bonanza. Founded over 30 years ago, the Midwest Salute to the Arts (MSA) has grown into one of the most prominent art shows in the Midwest. Not surprisingly, given that as many as 30,000 art lovers visit the St. Louis area festival each year, prominent artists from throughout America now display their talents over three days. Scheduled for August 28–30, 2020, Midwest Salute to the Arts Festival is now taking exhibitor applications for the juried three-day event.
Located in Fairview Heights, Illinois at Everett Moody Park on Longacre Drive, the free Midwest Salute to the Arts is rooted in the belief that art serves as the conduit for community spirit and fun for anyone of any age. This philosophy is shared by the more than 100 talented artists who showcase their craft across multiple media. MSA also provides a commercial environment for artists to earn a living practicing their craft.
The application deadline for this year’s Midwest Salute is June 1st at midnight CST. Each applicant is required to submit five images, including a booth shot. The jury fee is 25 dollars. Applicants may submit up to three applications for the show.
Kim Carr, who received the 2019 Award of Excellence in Photography, believes the quality of participating artists is matched by the excellent treatment they receive from the MSA committee.
“It’s a nice combo to be showing alongside quality artists and to have a committee that cares about the artist and how we are treated,” says the photographer, who was attending MSA for the second time.
Cara Van Leuven, who received “Best of Category” honors in Painting for her vivid horse illustrations, also appreciates the committee’s intentions to support the artists and the public’s awareness of a talent like hers. “Folks are there to shop and I think they have made changes to the hours to make it easier for the artists.”
Both artists also applaud the changes in the festival’s layout, spreading it out over a broader area that ensures that every visitor enjoys full access to all the art, with better sightlines and a more spacious environment. Conveniently located just 15 miles from St. Louis, MSA continues to grow in popularity with art enthusiasts and the curious throughout the area. Limited to just 100 exhibitors, the quality of art continues to rise as artisans apply from states outside the Midwest to participate in Midwest Salute.
“I also like the set-up in the park,” says Carr, whose photography focuses on farm animals great and small. “It’s a pretty setting and gets good traffic and support from the community.”
Jewelry maker Rocky Pardo was effusive in her support of the show, which she calls a moderate financial success and one that she would certainly participate in again. The Missourian also likes having the opportunity to grow her clientele in the broad St. Louis area.
“A lot of patrons are lifelong attendees and enjoy the relationships that they build with artists over the years,” says the artist, who shapes hard metals to create a variety of necklaces, earrings, and other richly textured accessories.
Pardo, who believes a person’s attitude is key to working the art fair circuit successfully, chooses her show schedule because of the atmosphere. She joins other artists in praising the local organizers in producing what she calls “an incredible show.”
“As far as the organization and volunteer assistance,” she says, “I don’t know that I have experienced anything like it—great hospitality and kindness.”
The Midwest Salute to the Arts organizers have created a three-day event that features the spectrum of art with media that appeals to every taste and budget. No hokey craft fair of doilies and crocheted tissue covers, the artists who participate in Midwest Salute are at the top of their craft. This breadth of work includes clay, drawing and printmaking, fine craft and wood, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, and sculpture. Each category is juried with “Best of Category” and “Award of Excellence” honors, among other accolades.
Rocky Pardo says she didn’t expect to receive her “Best in Category” award in Jewelry. “I was pleasantly surprised by my award as there were a lot of talented artists there.”
Kim Carr shares this sentiment. “Winning an award last year was very humbling and a wonderful nod to the work I have been doing to improve my presentation.”
The photographer believes yearly improvement is what makes Midwest Salute to the Arts, like her work, so successful. “Good organization and promotion of a show are key components to a successful job and you can see the show committee is dedicated to both.”
Reviews from visitors:
“Such a fun & inspiring gathering of beautiful talents of beautiful people! “
“The music is always perfect, the food is awesome, the selection of incredible art is second to none.”
“Amazing talent shared there! I absolutely loved it the atmosphere and the creativity displayed.”
“Great selection of artists, nice set up, fantastic volunteers, and wonderful treatment of the artists. Would definitely return.”
Potential exhibitors should visit the Midwest Salute to the Arts website to learn application rules to display and sell artwork during this year’s festival, August 28–30, 2020.
Art For Everyone, Art every day