St. Louis Art Fair back on after violent, damaging storms -

St. Louis Art Fair back on after violent, damaging storms

( -- For the first time in the St. Louis Art Fair’s history, organizers had to cancel part of the event Friday night. Violent storms ripped through the area, forcing police to block access to downtown Clayton while vendors scrambled to protect their work.

“The whole art fair was canceled last night around 5:00,” artist John Leben said. “So I was in the midst of opening the booth up, everything was hung, everything was ready to go for the customers.”

Unfortunately for Leben, the new official start of the 2012 Art Fair did not start on time or go well.

“I got a call this morning around 7:00 a.m. from the Art Fair Committee saying, ‘John, I'm sorry to tell you this, but your booth has been damaged,’” Leben said.

Not only did the storm destroy his tent, it ruined nearly $3,000 worth of merchandise.

Many art aficionados felt sympathetic to artists like Leben and said they would buy something to help offset the revenue lost.

“I felt bad for some of them because I think some of the stuff is kind of expensive and if it's damaged, they can't sell it obviously,” said Linda Hudson, just after she bought a bracelet from a vendor who suffered from the storm.

While Leben admitted the storm was the most damaging weather event he has ever faced while at an art show, he was able to salvage what was left.

“All in all, it's better than I could have ever imagined this morning when I came here and looked and saw everything in a big, nasty heap,” Leben said. “It was terrible”

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