Mile of Art Fair spanned campus roadways each summer for nearly three decades

An instant success, the very first Mile of Art Faire (later changed to “Fair”) in 1977 attracted about 3,000 people who strolled along cam­pus roadways perusing the work of painters, photographers, weavers, jewelers, glassmakers, metal smiths and other artists chosen through a juried process.

Originally started by former Art Department Chair and internationally known artist Sister Thomasita Fessler, OSF, and the Friends of Studio San Damiano, the Mile of Art raised funds for the department and the studio and provided a summertime family event featuring artists from throughout the Midwest, including numerous Stritch alumni.

The fair never truly extended for a full mile, even if that may have been the original vision. But each year more than 100 artists stretched along a quarter-mile route initially located at the north end of campus—where the Joan Steele Stein Center for Communication Studies/Fine Arts now stands—and later moved to the east road­way to provide easier access to the kitchen when Food Services, Inc., began offering refreshments at the event.

The Mile of Art celebrated its final year in 2003 after a 27-year run. Declining attendance, increased competition among art shows, and the construction of the Joan Steele Stein Center for Communication Studies/Fine Arts contributed to the decision to sunset the event.


Photos courtesy of University Archives.