October Arts in the QCA

By: Brooke Wessel

October in the Quad Cities is an incredible time for the arts. The local universities are back in full swing for their fall semesters, the fall art exhibitions are opening, and with the holidays just around the corner, vendor fairs are here to help with all of your gifting needs. There is truly something for every art lover in the QC area this month. Since there is no lack of creative activities for you and your friends to do this month, it can get a bit overwhelming! This article is your one stop shop for all things art in the QC in October!

Is it too early to start your holiday shopping? Absolutely not. Check out my top three markets!

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  • MIP Arts & Craft Fair:
    • October 7
    • 8 AM – 4 PM
    • Admission $2
    • Eriksen Chevy-Buick Center, 325 E 1st Avenue Milan, IL
    • The MIP Arts & Craft fair is the perfect place to spend the day checking out some of the amazing crafts from all over the midwest. Be sure to bring your walking shoes so you can comfortably browse through over 100 vendors. This is the perfect event to pick up some one-of-a-kind pieces that make excellent gifts for Janet from Accounting that is so picky (*cough* overly opinionated *cough*) or additions to your own home! Fairs like this are great because you get access to exclusive items from all over the midwest! Buying unique items from a fair ensures that your gifts will be unlike anything else your mother-in-law receives this holiday season! (Which is something we all desperately want) Say goodbye to the same old gifts from Target (sorry Chrissy Teigen’s new cookware line) and HELLO to one of a kind arts & crafts from these talented artists.


  • 2018 Rock Island Artists’ Market
    • October 14
    • Noon – 4 PM
    • Free Admission
    • Skeleton Key Art and Antiques, 520 18th St Rock Island, IL
    • Tired of having to go to two different places to get that perfect vintage piece for your living room AND fall vegetables? Girl, you are not alone. I have the place for you. Back by popular demand for the third season in a row, the Rock Island Artists’ Market is a great place for your local art and produce needs. This market is unlike others in the area because it is open to craftsman and growers. This market is the perfect place to spend the afternoon browsing over local crafts and greenery.
  • 40th Beta Sigma Phi Galva IL Craft Show
    • October 20
    • 9 AM – 3 PM
    • Free Admission
    • Galva High School, 1020 North Center Avenue Galva, Illinois
    • Okay hear me out. I know that Galva isn’t *technically* in the Quad Cities, but you’re not going to want to miss this. Grab your boo or your girl gang and hop in the car for a quick 20 minute car ride south. Make a day of it and stop at the craft fair, then head over to one of the pumpkin patches in the area. You’ll go home at the end of the day with some new items from the craft fair and somewhere between 10-150 adorable new pictures for your instagram. Okay, enough of me planning your weekend dates or girls trips, let’s talk about the craft fair. With over 125 vendors, this is the largest craft show in Henry County. This fair has everything: holiday decor, candles, home decor, wooden items, pet treats, jewelry, produce, a hunky farmers son who for some reason uses an italian accent just to sell to me (a girl can dream), and so much more. There is also lunch and homemade desserts in the cafeteria. If you need me, I will be planted in a seat somewhere in the cafeteria eating brownies next to the mound of pumpkin scented candles I am destined to buy! See you there!

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So you’re not a craft fair person? That’s okay! There’s still plenty of ways for you to experience the arts in the QC area this October. Here’s my go-to art event for the month! This one is sure to impress that Tinder date way more than you inviting them to hangout at your (parent’s) house. Did that one hit too close to home? My bad.

  • Wine and Art
    • October 4
    • 6 PM
    • $20.00
    • Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA

Yes, you read that correctly: wine AND art. Webster’s dictionary defines “true happiness” as: “Creating art with your BFF while also having wine included in the process”. I can’t make this stuff up people!  Look it up for yourself (please don’t). Wine and Art is a monthly class at the Figge with each course having a different style of craft. October’s month is PERFECT for all of you Chaco-wearing free spirits out there. That’s right, it’s folk art. Focusing on expressions in colors, students will get to go through the incredible William L. Hawkins exhibition at the beginning of the class and then use that as inspiration for creating their guided artworks. Do not feel like you need to be a professional artist to sign up for this class! Lori Miller, the classes instructor, is prepared for students of all skill levels. Now I don’t know why I’m still even talking this up. Facts are facts people: Wine, snacks, art…what more could you ask for? Grab your bestie and sign up today! To register: email Heather Aaronson at haaronson@figgeartmuseum.org


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Okay great, so you’ve gone to the craft fairs, are now the proud owner of 36 new candles for your room, a vintage automan by your couch, and you’ve just signed up for Wine and Art class with your new italian-sounding farmer’s son boyfriend that you met at that fair in Galva…now what? Never fear, the QC area still has a lot of arts culture to offer. Here are a few of the art exhibitions going on in October. Exhibits are great because there’s not one set time that you have to be there like events. These are perfect things to just pop into and check out when you have a free Saturday morning. Because you can go whenever you would like, you don’t have to make plans with your friends that you instantly want to cancel right after you made them (I am looking at YOU, Mr. Commitment Issues). But never fear, as queen of canceling plans last minute, a title I am more proud of than I should be, I am the perfect person to guide you through the art of casually stopping into a museum and checking out the best exhibits on a time crunch.

  • French Moderns: Monet to Matisse 1850 – 1950
    • October 9 – January 6 2018
    • Admission rates vary based on events for this exhibit and can be found on their website Figgeartmuseum.org
    • Figge Art Museum

This show is a must-see. Even if you know nothing about art, you know names like Henri Matisse and Claude Monet. We are so lucky to have this incredible traveling show from the Brooklyn Museum making a stop in the Quad Cities. Opportunities to see artwork from these impressionist artists are very rare. This exhibit is really something special. So stop in, enjoy the art, and for the first time since 2013, have a conversation with someone not looking at your phone screen. When you’re walking up to the museum, you might see a girl in her mid-twenties *extremely* overdressed and eating yogurt on the steps of the figge because this is her ONLY chance to live her Gossip Girl truth. This girl is me. With all of these incredible artworks from New York City being housed closer to home, you better believe I will be treating the museum like the MET for the next month or so. I MEAN how can I not? The museum already has the steps. Side note: I am currently accepting applications to find the Serena to my Blair for this endeavor. Xoxo, Thatoneartistchic.


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  • Allison Filley and Matthew Terry
    • October 19 – November 30
    • Free Admission
    • Quad City Arts

Although I can’t imagine you not wanting to live your New York minute (cc: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen circa 2004), I do have another option for you. This show comes from local Iowa printmakers. Both artists’ work appear very abstract upon first glance, but there is a lot beneath the surface. Filley and Terry’s work contain thought provoking narratives told through repeating, familiar shapes. Interested in the artwork, but need a bit more convincing to leave your house in the Iowa Fall weather? (bc same) Well I’ve got you. October 19 from 7 – 9 PM, join in on the fun and stop by the opening. I’m talking FREE food, FREE beverages, and best of all…meet the artists that created the work! As if you needed another reason to come to this amazing exhibit, you can purchase any of the work that you just HAVE to have!

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As you can tell, I have a lot of events to attend this month and that new Gossip Girl wardrobe is NOT going to buy itself…so I will see you here next month for my November art suggestions!

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