An artful, literary event

When the Art, Book and Craft Fair was held in conjunction with the Wichita River Festival the past 40 years, fans made a point of seeking it out amid the crush of other festival-related events.

Now that the fair has separated from the festival and will go forward on its own, organizers hope that level of support and commitment continues.

Now, they point out, fans won't have to fight for parking spaces with other festivalgoers and elbow through the crowds to see their favorite vendors.

"The artists are now the destination" instead of the River Festival, says Angela Howell-Gibbs, co-chairman of the art and book fair.

The fair will take place Saturday and Sunday inside Century II Exhibition Hall. Here are five reasons to check it out this year:

1 As always, the fair is a great place to browse for Mother's Day gifts and a good way to spend a couple of hours of quality time with Mom.

2 Art enthusiasts will find a juried event that emphasizes high-quality arts and crafts by artisans and artists from around the country. Vendors compete for entry by being vetted by a panel of judges. This year, 90 artists will participate. Paintings, drawings, photography, prints, jewelry, ceramics and sculptures will be on display.

3 Thousands of books will be available in a price range from 50 cents to $5. An early-bird special from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday gives collectors a jump-start on browsing and buying. Although admission to the rest of the fair is free, admission to the early-bird special is $5.

4 Friends of the Wichita Art Museum, which has organized the art and book fair the past 52 years, has added other activities to attract more people, including lectures. They are: "The Glory of Stained Glass Windows," by Mary Shepard, 11 a.m. Saturday; "Sculpting," by Babs Mellor, 1 p.m. Saturday; "Treasures of the Wichita Art Museum," by Charles Steiner, 3 p.m. Saturdays; "Renaissance Altarpieces," by Annette LeZotte, 1 p.m. Sunday; and "Political Cartoons," by Richard Crowson, 3 p.m. Sunday. The lectures are free and will be in Room 201-R, Exhibition Hall second floor.

Kids' activities also will be added this year, including helping kids make a Mother's Day card.

5 Worried about pesky weather conditions like the ever-present Kansas wind? Don't be. This year, the fair will be held entirely inside Century II. In previous years, the fair was held partly indoors there and partly outdoors in Kennedy Plaza.

If you go

52nd art, book and craft fair

What: A juried art, book, and craft fair organized by the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum to benefit programming and exhibits.

Where: Century II Exhibition Hall, 225 W. Douglas

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

How much: Free. Early-bird entry to the book fair from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday is $5.

For more information, including details and times on lectures, visit http://wichitaartmuseum.org/ artBookFair