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
1967 - - - - - The fair begins having one male and
one female co-chair.
1970 - - - - - The art fair grows to include 240
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
1997 - - - - - Art sales hit an all-time high of
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,
Statesman Journal newspaper, Life Section, Sunday
, July 15, 2001