Originally held on Mother’s Day weekend in 1956, a group of students from the Herron School Of Art initiated the first Talbot Street Art Fair (TSAF), which was located at the time in the Herron-Morton Place neighborhood. Organizers wanted this event to serve as an expansion of the school’s annual sidewalk sale.

A person stands on a ladder while hanging a piece of art. Another person holds the ladder steady.
Paintings that were exhibited at the first Talbot Street Art Fair in 1956. Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

During the first fair, an estimated 1,500 visitors headed to an alley on Talbott Street to view and purchase works from 15 exhibitors who displayed their art against trees and fences as well as on clotheslines, card tables, and makeshift plank shelves. The event was an immediate hit and quickly grew in size. By 1960, TSAF was so popular that the newly formed Indiana Artist-Craftsmen (IAC) Inc.— an association of weavers, potters, woodworkers, and other craftsmen—decided to serve as the fair’s official organizer/sponsor.

Between 1956 and 1969, the Talbot Street Art Fair was held at its original alley location between 14th  and 15th  streets. This area was partially chosen due to its proximity to Herron School of Art as well as various private art galleries and studios in and around Herron-Morton Place.

A woman is placing paintings on and around a car in a parking lot.
Artwork that was displayed at the first Talbot Street Art Fair in 1956. Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

In 1970, TSAF had outgrown its original location and moved to an area on 21st  Street known as “Talbott Village.” Five years later, another major change occurred. The fair became a juried event, which gave the IAC greater control over the number of participating artists in the show as well as the quality of work presented.

In 1977, the Talbot Street Art Fair relocated closer to the event’s original site after experiencing problems with some Talbot Village merchants. This year was also the first time out-of-state artists became eligible to participate in the fair.

The fair takes place each June on Talbott Street between 16th  and 20th  Streets. It is one of the largest annual Art Fairs in Indianapolis. This free event features over 200 exhibiting artists using a variety of mediums, including clay, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, photography, sculpture, and wood. Live entertainers and food vendors are also part of the fair, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. The Talbot Street Art Fair, Inc., in cooperation with the Herron-Morton Place Association, presents the event.

Revised February 2021

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