WEST LOOP — The West Loop Art Fair is back this weekend, drawing in artists from around the country and, this year, leaving behind a permanent work of art.
The vibrant street festival returns to Fulton Street on Saturday and Sunday with 120 artists exhibiting work in "every medium imaginable," said organizer Carla Agostinelli of the West Loop Community Organization.
Festival goers can also take part in creating a mosaic mural made up of 6,400 tiles to raise money for neighborhood projects. Partnering with "we all live here" artist Rich Alapack, the West Loop Community Organization will create a square 40-foot globe mosaic on the Lake Street side of Bridgford Foods, 170 N. Green St.
Participants can buy a $25 ticket to receive a tile, ride a scissor lift and adhere it to the wall. They will get their names listed on a donor plaque and receive photos of the mural they help create and themselves placing their tile.
Supporters can donate $10 and be listed on the donor plaque. Proceeds will go toward "we all live here" ACT programs at Chicago schools and the West Loop Community Organization's initiative to light up Lake Street with public art.
There will be another chance for children to do some good at the fest. This year, they can participate in "Draw for the Troops" in a designated area of the festival. Their drawings will be sent to troops stationed in the United States and abroad.
An attendee of the 2016 West Loop Art Fair surveys the work of one of more than 100 participating artists. [Provided/West Loop Art Fair]
See a green ribbon at one of the artist booths? Any art they sell will include a 10 percent donation to Face the Future, a Chicago organization that helps children with cleft palate and craniofacial differences get medical care and support related research and education.
Last year, vendors offered practical designs — like utilitarian shelves made from iron pipes — and whimsical decor. Many of the artists are from Chicago, and their hometown is reflected in dozens of pieces. In addition to the art itself, the fest will have art projects for kids, live music and food vendors.
"The artists truly appreciate the hip vibe of this neighborhood and how it has evolved over the years," said Amy Amdur, whose Amdur Productions company produces the event. "They recognize how much the West Loop residents love art, and they are excited to share their work and the stories behind each of their pieces."
The art fest runs from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and closes one hour earlier Sunday. Artist booths are open until 7 p.m.