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Snyder: When life gives you lemons, host your own art fair!
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Snyder: When life gives you lemons, host your own art fair!


Here’s an understatement: Jessica DeBoer likes to keep busy.

She’s the mother of two daughters, an elementary school orchestra teacher, a professional viola player and, for several years, she also organized the popular Fine Arts at First concert series.

With her abundant hours of free time — I’m being sarcastic here — she’s a runner and a jewelry maker.

And she wasn’t about to let a little thing like a global pandemic sideline her love of taking part in summer art fairs.

As she explains: “I have been doing art fairs with my mom for the past seven summers. We both work full-time, so this is just something we do for fun. We have specific shows we do throughout the summer, about one each month. As COVID-19 started causing more and more cancellations, we watched with dismay as each one of our shows scheduled for this summer was canceled.

“We understand why organizers have decided to cancel shows — large crowds are just not a good idea at this time, and they want to keep shoppers and vendors safe and healthy.”

But they were still disappointed.

That’s when DeBoer got creative.

“I reached out to my mom and asked if she and my dad would come visit this summer — they live in Holland, Mich., basically directly across Lake Michigan — and if she might be interested in doing a little art fair on the front lawn.”

From that idea came “The 6 Feet apART Art Fair.” The fair is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the front yard at 3505 88th St.

Not wanting to keep this just a two-person art fair, DeBoer invited friends to take part too.

“We started brainstorming and wondered if we have friends who would be interested in participating,” she said, “and I came up with some ideas: an old friend of mine is an artist who does comic-inspired prints, and I also have a handful of friends who are in the Southport Quilters Guild. Everyone was interested and jumped on board.

“I thought it would be good to have a nice variety of items for sale that would interest as many shoppers as possible, but I also wanted to keep it small to discourage large crowds and give shoppers the ability to feel safe while attending.”

Saturday’s art fair will feature four vendors:

The art fair is designed to allow for safe, socially distanced outdoor shopping. The rain date (if needed) is Sunday, “but at this point the weather looks OK,” DeBoer said. “Fingers crossed.”

How are you coping with the coronavirus shutdown? Email Liz at or call her at 262-656-6271.

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