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Salem Art Fair Timeline
 

Salem Art Association's efforts to reach all segments of the community are especially evident in the Salem Art Fair & Festival, the organization's major annual fundraiser. The July event includes a 200-booth Artist Marketplace, a diverse range of performing arts including music on two stages, hands-on arts activities for adults and children, multicultural artist demonstrations, information booths for regional arts organizations and food booths. The Art Fair, which attracts over 110,000 visitors annually, has been Salem's most important community event for over 50 years.

1919 - - - - - Interested art lovers form the Salem Arts League; predecessor of the Salem Art Association.

1949 - - - - - The first Salem Art Fair is on the lawn of the old Marion County Courthouse with 10 artists.

1950-1952 -Art fairs are in Willson Park, surrounding the Capitol and the Walter Kirk home.

1953 - - - - - The Salem Art Association moves into Bush House, giving the art fair a new home.

1954-1955 -The Art fair is a clothesline sale around Bush House Museum.

1955 - - - - - The Art fair grows to 50 artists.

1956 - - - - - The fair is temporarily called the Allied Arts Fair.

1959 - - - - - The fair grows to 80 artists.

1961 - - - - - The fair grows to 100 artists; 7,500 visitors.

1967 - - - - - The fair begins having one male and one female co-chair.

1970 - - - - - The art fair grows to include 240 artists.

1975 - - - - - More than 320 artists are in the fair.

1976 - - - - - The art fair moves south of Bush Barn Art Center, having out-grown its old location.

1976 - - - - - For one year, the fair becomes the Great State Bicentennial Art Fair and Festival, thanks to an Oregon Art Commission grant, and 450 artists show up

1977 - - - - - Overwhelmed by to many artists, the fair initiates jurying and makes other changes, resulting in threats to fair officials; the Fair is called the Salem Art Fair & Festival for the first time.

1979 - - - - - Scott McIntire designs the first commissioned art fair poster; the fair begins with a parade and ends with a bagpipe procession, which becomes a tradition.

1981 - - - - - Fairgoers spend more than $100,000 on art for the first time.

1984 - - - - - The art fair adds a wine and cheese garden and a garden sale, and art sales grow to $208,000.

1987 - - - - - Rain falls on Saturday, the biggest sales day for the fair, though sales rebound that Sunday; a fund-raising campaign makes up the loss.

1994 - - - - - Artist sales top $500,000 for the first time.

1997 - - - - - Art sales hit an all-time high of $670,000.

1999 - - - - - The fair turns 50 and celebrates with a laser light show and an international glass art show; art sales reach a record $756,000.

2000 - - - - - The art fair still draws an estimated 115,000 people and $752,000 in art sales.

2001 - - - - - The art fair is in its 52nd year with a new emphasis on donations to support the Salem Art Association and drawings to reward volunteers, art buyers, and donors.

Bibliography:
Statesman Journal newspaper, Life Section, Sunday , July 15, 2001

 

 
May Day exercise, Bush Park, 1914
May Day exercise in Bush Park, 1914
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Boy hanging art 1985
Boy displaying art at Salem Art Fair, 1985
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