Event Information

Wells Street Art Festival 2019

Old Town, on Wells between North and Division
Chicago, Illinois (Midwest)

Event Dates: 6/8/19 - 6/9/19
Application Deadline: 2/8/19 Midnight CST

The application deadline has passed.


Images: 3 (a booth shot is NOT required)

Fee (Jury Fee): $30.00


Event Summary
Celebrating its 45th year in 2019, The Wells Street Art Festival is one of the most prestigious fine art fairs in the nation, continuously ranked in Sunshine Artists Top 100 Fine Art Fairs. This juried event features the work of 225 national exhibitors and is attended by more than 70,000 art enthusiasts.


General Information

The Wells Street Art Festival is pleased to announce an open call for entries for the 45th Annual Wells Street Art Festival, to be held June 8th and 9th, 2019 in Chicago's Old Town

Note: The online application only accepts payments by credit cards. Checks will not be accepted for application, jury process  or booth space payment.


DEADLINE: February 23rd, 2019: Regular Deadline: Online applications must be received by midnight CST. 

*Paper applications will not be accepted for the 2019 Art Festival

 February 25th- March 11th, 2019: Jury Session

Week of March 12th, 2019: Acceptance Notifications are sent out via email only. We are unable to accept phone calls.

April 1st, 2019: Deadline for Accepting and confirming your participation by picking out your booth space and finalizing payment for booth fee and any optional equipment rentals on Zapplication. Please remember that you are not confirmed into the event unless you have paid for your booth fees and your status shows "Confirmed". CHECKS NOT ACCEPTED.

Early June 2019: Booth space assignments, Load in location and times, as well as other information will be sent out to confirmed artists' e-mail addresses on file. Phone calls will not be made.   

May 10th, 2019: Deadline to cancel and receive 50% refund (less $50 administrative fee)

June 8th, 2019: Artist Set-Up between 6:00 am and 7:30 am

June 8th-9th, 2019: 45th Annual Wells Street Art Festival

Celebrating its 45th year in 2019, The Wells Street Art Festival is one of the most prestigious fine art fairs in the nation, continuously ranked in Sunshine Artist’s Top 100 Fine Art Fairs. This juried event features the work of 250 national exhibitors and is attended by more than 70,000 art enthusiasts.

But it's not just art that draws the upscale crowd to the event & Street; the Festival also features the cuisine of 20-plus neighborhood restaurants, a music stage with continuous entertainment and  kids activity area. The Wells Street Art Festival transforms Wells Street; ;the heart of Chicagos historic Old Town; into an open air fine arts museum.
The Wells Street Art Festival is the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association's most important annual fundraiser with proceeds providing crucial support to various community endeavors.


Please review the following category definitions. The Wells Street Art Festival has the right to re-categorize an artist's submission.
  • 2-D Mixed Media: Includes collage and handmade paper; incorporates more than one type of material and has relief depth of less than 1/8 inch.
  • 3-D Mixed Media: Sculpture,Original, non functional, free standing work of any material.
  • Ceramics: Original shaped and fired clay (including earthenware, porcelain, stoneware and terra cotta).
  • Digital Art: Original, two-dimensional works utilizing computer technology to craft or manipulate visual images.
  • Functional Art: A functional, three-dimensional object which serve a purpose such as fiber objects, furniture, toys, wind chimes, etc.
  • Glass: An object made of glass (including blown glass and stained glass).
  • Jewelry: The use of several different materials (such as clay, glass, metal and wood) to form a body adornment.
  • Painting: The use of oil, acrylics, watercolor and tempera on canvas or board.
  • Photography: Prints or transparencies must be from original negatives.
  • Works on Paper: A two-dimensional design on paper (including drawings, etchings, monoprints, pastels and silkscreens).
Artists may submit more than one application in separate categories. (Booth space sharing is not allowed).

Jury Session

Jurying is done separately for each category and is anonymous. The scale for jury is 1(low) to 7(high). Jurors are briefed to consider presentation, quality, originality, technical ability and booth display. The jury takes each image into consideration for approximately 10 seconds while the artist statement is read aloud. Jurors can request to review the artist’s slides and revise their score before final submission. Discussion is permitted. The cumulative score is processed and the top scores in each category receive an invitation to show in the Festival. The decision of the jurors is final.

Wait List

The next 20 highest scoring artists in each category are selected to be on the wait list. Wait list artists can be accepted up to and on the day of the show. Artists taken off the wait list will be notified by telephone. Called wait list numbers will be posted on our website.

As artists withdraw we look at the ratios in each category and invite from the wait list with concentration on the media we feel needs more representation. The goal of the Festival committee is to maintain a balanced show; no quota is set for each individual media.

Any wait list artist is welcome to show up the morning of the Festival during set-up and register at the “Event Command Center” located at Evergreen and Wells beginning at 6:00 am. If any no-show spaces become available, artists will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any artists accepted on the day-of must come prepared with a photo ID and booth fee in the form of cash or money order. NO PERSONAL CHECKS WILL BE ACCEPTED. 

Jury Panel

Jurors are selected for their experience and expertise in a specific media and serve on panels in their area. A diversity of backgrounds and skills is sought, including artists, educators, fine art and craft gallery owners and museum directors/curators. A new panel of jurors is selected each year to allow for fresh perspective.

A separate panel of jurors is selected for on-site jurying. “Best-of” awards are given in each category

Event Hours

Event hours are from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily. Artists may close down their booth at dusk (approximately 8:00pm) but no traffic will be allowed on the street until pedestrians have been cleared and security/police have deemed it safe.


Artists will be able to unload near their booth during set-up and tear down. Artists can load-in only during their designated time and must check-in at one of the designated check-in points with a photo ID. The lane of traffic on Wells Street is only wide enough for one vehicle. Therefore, we depend upon artists’ cooperation to keep traffic moving at a pace that will allow everyone equal time to set-up. We ask that upon arrival at your booth location you unpack then move your vehicle before you start set-up. Wells Street will be closed to all artist/vendor traffic promptly at 9:00 am each morning. Artists will be responsible for hand carting in additional merchandise after this time.

Space Requests

We will do our best to honor any space request submitted in writing on the application. Artists who have participated in the Festival previously, will receive first consideration in booth selection.


Electricity will be available for an additional $150. Desired booth location is not guaranteed as artists with electricity will be blocked together. Artists are responsible for bringing their own extension cords—outlets may be up to 50 feet from the booth space. No personal generators will be allowed.


Parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis within a 3 block radius of the event site. Parking lot assignments are at the discretion of Festival Management. There is no guarantee of parking location. Parking passes will be provided upon check-in and passes must be placed on the driver’s side dashboard inside the vehicle. Access hours to secured lots will be provided with confirmation materials; overnight parking is not guaranteed.


Overnight security will patrol the festival grounds on Saturday. Please keep in mind that security is limited so we request that you cover up all merchandise and remove all items of high value and small “walk away” items. Be aware of your surroundings at all times—especially during set-up and tear-down. Although incidents are rare, they do happen. Neither the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association nor Special Events Management is responsible for any loss, theft or damage.

Artist Lounge

The Old Town Merchants and Residents Association will provide an air-conditioned space (with real bathrooms!) at 1520 N Wells, Garden Level, open to all artists. Refreshments will be provided 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Saturday and Sunday. Artist badges for ease entering/exiting the Festival and Artist Lounge will be provided at check-in.



Rules for Participation

The Wells Street Art Festival is a highly selective fine arts fair. Participating artists’ booths will be visited periodically throughout the fair by Festival Management to ensure that artists are complying with the rules. Artists will be asked to remove all work that is not in compliance. The Festival committee reserves the right to refuse exhibition of work not consistent with the quality and cohesiveness of submitted images. Artists that do not comply with Festival rules and regulations will not be eligible for refund and may be refused at other Special Events Management shows.

1)  All work must be original and handcrafted. All work must be designed and executed by the accepted artist(s). No work that has been made with commercial kits, molds, patterns, plans or prefabricated pieces is allowed.

2)  Reproductions must be clearly identified as such and may only constitute one third of the total display.

3)  Artists displaying work produced in editions must disclose edition numbers to the Festival audience.

4)  Artists may only show work in categories approved by the Jury. All work exhibited must be of the quality and type that is shown in images juried.

5)  Artists must prominently display their Artist Statement along with a picture of the artist(s), describing how and by whom the work is made and the materials used in the production of the work.

6)  Artists must be present with their work for the duration of the Festival. If the work is collaborative, each collaborator must be present. All artists must check in at the designated check-in points with a valid photo ID.

7) All work must be for sale.

8)  Artists are responsible for collecting and paying the applicable Chicago Sales Tax (10.25%) to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Cancellation Policy

If you are invited to participate and choose to cancel your acceptance into the Festival, please follow the procedures below:

Cancellations must be made in written form and submitted by mail or e-mail. E-mails can be sent to  Exhibitor Relations at exhibitors@chicagoevents.com. A Special Events Management staff member will contact you via the phone number listed on your application to verify your cancellation. If your cancellation is made on or before May 10, 2019, 50% your booth fee(less a $50 administrative fee) will be processed and refunded in approximately 3 weeks from the date of cancellation.

Artists who cancel after May 10, 2019 (including the day-of the show) will NOT be eligible for refund. NO EXCEPTIONS 

No Show Policy

Artists who have not checked-in and/or called the Festival Emergency Number (number will be available in confirmation materials) by 9:00 AM Saturday, June 8th will be considered a “no-show.” No Show artists will not be eligible for refunds and assigned space(s) will be forfeited to a wait-list artist.

Rain Date

There will be no “rain date” and fees will not be refunded in the case of inclement weather.

Booth Information

Assigned booths are 10’x10’ spaces back-to-back down the center of Wells Street. Double booths are also available, space permitting. All work exhibited must be confined to the assigned space(s). Artists are responsible for providing their own means of displaying their work. Tents, tables and chairs may be rented through Special Events Management. No overhangs/awnings are allowed. All artists must weight down their tents.


Booth fees will be paid upon acceptance. All booth fees are due in full by March 25th, 2019.

Checks will not be accepted. Payment must be made by credit card at checkout.

10’x10’ - $600

10’x20’ - $750 (as available)

Corner Upgrade - $150 (as available)