Palmer Square Art Fair will host its first “Queer Art Party” Sunday, Oct. 9, at Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont Ave.) in Avondale. Join the free event for live music, portrait photography, vegan food and more than a dozen vendors from Chicago’s queer art community, 12 p.m to 5 p.m.
Hannah Sellers, founder of Palmer Square Art Fair, created the event In collaboration with Sleeping Village and Queer Social Club, a Chicago-based group that hosts social events centered on the queer community. Sellers started the Palmer Square Art Fair as a respite from the pandemic in 2021.
Celebrating Queer Community, Emerging Artists
Sellers said that they drew on their own artistic experiences as a member of the queer community for the new event. The organizer said they relate to the experiences of a lot of other queer creatives and general members of the queer community and wanted to put together an event that celebrates not only queer creatives, but also the queer community at large.
“As a queer person, I think art has been massively healing for me,” Sellers said. “As I’ve gone through my queer identity journey, art has been this incredible thing that I have found individual healing from, and [it’s] also rippled into a community of other queer artists who maybe experienced similar things.”
Sellers said they started the organization because they noticed a demand for a midsize, welcoming market. Palmer Square Art Fair offers an artistic space that not only fosters community, but also serves as a financially viable space for local independent artists to sell their work, Sellers added.
The organizer said they noticed an opportunity to create a platform for emerging artists within Logan Square and surrounding communities that also focused on diversity. “Not just diversity in terms of identity, but also what type of artist you are .. Are you brand new? Or are you established?” Sellers said.
“Diversity is super important to me for representation purposes and to provide everyone an equal opportunity, but also because it creates a super rich community that organically takes shape,” they added.
As with the original Palmer Square Art Fair in the summer of 2021, the main summer market event still takes place in Palmer Square Park (2200 N. Kedzie Ave.). That event usually has around 50 vendors who come to share their art with the community.
Photo: Hannah Sellers
Vendors have included visual artists, painters, jewelry makers and more “at a variety of different price points,” Sellers said. “Like I said, it’s an emphasis on diversity.”
The focus on Chicago’s queer community will set Sunday’s event apart from previous Palmer Square Art Fair gatherings. All vendors will be queer-identifying. The event will include live music from DJ Leah Damte, portrait photography from photographer Ash Dye and eats from Herbivore (1801 N. Spaulding Ave.), a vegan pop-up based in Logan Square.
Putting on a queer-centric event gives that community a chance to come out and celebrate, Sellers said, helping to “create that safe, supportive community. It feels really special.”
In combination with the main market event at Palmer Square Park, Sellers has also partnered with Sleeping Village for two additional indoor market events. Sellers said Sleeping Village makes a great collaborator because the venue shares similar values of supporting diversity, accessibility and emerging artists. “They love to bring alternative kinds of programming to Chicago,” Sellers said.
Queer Social Club has a similar shared vision, Sellers added. “Palmer Square Art Fair recruits and curates a lot of queer artists naturally at our events, so I think there was this beautiful and obvious overlap to host an event that could support queer artists and create community organically,” Sellers said. “That’s typically what happens at Palmer Square Art Fair events anyway.”
Queer Social Club said in statement that it aims to get more views for queer artists at Sunday’s event. “We hope to curate a unique experience that uplifts queer artists, musicians and makers by exposing their work to a broader audience. We also hope to create an accessible and low-stakes environment for queer folks to forge connections and friendships with one another. We’re so excited to bring everyone together for a lighthearted fest that celebrates Chicago’s inspiring queer community.”
Sellers said they hope this event gives a sense of community to queer folks that the organizer wishes they’d found in their early 20s.
“I didn’t see other events happening that were targeted for queer folks,” Sellers said. “If I had this in my early 20s, that would have been an amazing thing. Creating this space for people to come and be their queer selves is incredibly healing and inspiring.”
Featured photo: Hannah Sellers.