EDWARDSVILLE — Edwardsville Arts Center director Elizabeth Link was thrilled when she found out artist and glass blower Reinhard Herzog signed up for the third annual Edwardsville Art Fair on Sept. 23-25 at City Park.
Originally from Germany, Herzog has been an artist for 40 years. He has his own art studio in Ballwin, Mo.
“We’re excited to have him,” Link said.
Herzog, a first-time fair participant, will be one of 100 artists displaying their work.
“I’m totally excited to go to Edwardsville to the art show,” Herzog said.
At this year’s fair, exhibits will be open to the public from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25. In case of bad weather, the fair will be moved to the Edwardsville High School gymnasium.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” Edwardsville Arts Center manager Carolyn Tidball said. “It’s a lot of work. I like seeing it all happen and it’s really satisfying and fun. My favorite part is going around and talking to all of the artists and meeting everybody and seeing their artwork.”
The fair includes a Create IT and Take IT tent, where children will get to create their own art projects and take them home. There’s also a children’s arts gallery, where each artist donates a piece of art and children can purchase any piece for $50.
The Create IT and Take IT tent is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 25. The children’s arts gallery will be from 11 a.m. to noon Sept. 24.
In its first year in 2014, the fair had the Create IT and Take IT tent for just one day.
“It was so popular that on Sunday when the kids came back, they were like, ‘Where’s the tent today?’ We only had that on Saturday,” Link said. “We now do it both days on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s definitely a big draw.”
Some of Herzog’s artwork is displayed at the Edwardsville Arts Center. Herzog created big bang ornaments — glass balls with asteroids inside.
Herzog said he’s enjoyed being an artist for 40 years.
“It’s the dream,” he said. “It’s really the best life. You can live from your art and you can create what you do. If that’s exactly what you like to do, then you can live from that. It’s the perfect situation. It doesn’t matter if you sell a lot or don’t sell a lot; it’s just important to survive and it’s important that you can do everything that you want to do.”
Herzog, who moved to the United States in 2005, found out about the art fair when he ran into Tidball in 2014.
“I met her in another show and she invited me,” Herzog said. “We met again in November 2015 and we talked about it. Carolyn is a good promoter, so I thought it would be a very good show.”
Link came up with the idea of the art fair while visiting Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton in his office in May 2014.
“We went in and offered the city our help with anything they wanted because the city does Arts in the Park on Saturdays and the city does Paint the Kite, where the kids get to come make a kite,” Link said. “So they had a couple of activities that were kind of artsy. I met with the mayor and said, ‘We’re just here. We just want to let you know if there’s anything you want to help you with, we’re here.’ He was shocked. It’s the first time that anybody came to him and didn’t ask for anything.”
The first Edwardsville Art Fair was in October 2014.
“It was crazy,” Link said. “To plan a fair, we had approval from our board in the first week of June. In less than five months, we had to plan a fair because we had to find artists. We had to come out with a layout and we had to plan the three-day event and plan activities. We decided to give the artists $15,000 worth of sponsors, so we had to find sponsors if we gave them $15,000 worth of prizes the first year. Then, we decided we wanted a tent for kids to make art, so we need to have a sponsor for that.”
The fair attracts artists from the St. Louis area and beyond, including Oregon, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Oklahoma.
“Every year, it gets better,” Link said. “The first year, we had 60 artists. The second year, we were in the mid-70s. This year, we’re going to have over 100.”
Felicia Olin of Springfield attended last year and said she’s looking forward to participating in the fair for the second time.
“I’m excited and I’m nervous,” Olin said. “I’m still working on getting everything together. I have my living room full of half-finished paintings, trying to pull it all together in time. What’s fun for me is coming up with a booth that inspires people and makes me happy. I’m just working on making it happen.”