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2009 Ann Arbor Art Fairs

Tuesday, 14 July, 2009 11:16 PM

PREVIEW: What to Expect at the 2009 Ann Arbor Art Fairs

Original Ann Arbor Street Art Fair Celebrates 50 Years



A look from high above the Ann Arbor State Street Area Art Fair.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For 50 years, artists with amazing talents and unsurpassed skills have returned each July to the streets of Ann Arbor, exhibiting in the genuine Ann Arbor Art Fairs, displaying their latest work and engaging the imaginations of more than 500,000 annual fairgoers. The varied parts of the Fair fit together to form an amazing impression–filled with sound and color and mystery and drama, creating an intriguing event with more than a dash of style. No matter what direction you take, no matter where you look, you'll discover colors and sights that will energize and captivate, and maybe even change your life. That's the incredible power of art.

And beyond the art, there's the remarkable city of Ann Arbor, with stores, restaurants and people watching that rivals any metro area.

Come meet our talented artists, enjoy our exceptional city and help us celebrate the 50th anniversary of the award-winning Ann Arbor Art Fairs.

The Original Ann Arbor Art Fair Turns 50

For 50 years, The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair has been connecting a carefully selected group of artists with an appreciative audience from Ann Arbor and across the country. During this half century, the Original Fair has won many awards, provided substantial economic benefit to the local business community, and often been recognized as the brand of Ann Arbor.

The "Original" moniker in the Fair's title comes not only from the event's history, but from its unique role as a leader in the art fair community. It was the first Fair to jury an outdoor show in 1965 and was integral in the creation of the online jurying system Zapplication, now in use by hundreds of fairs across the country.

The Fair has also been a leader in programming throughout the years due to its forward-looking approach and commitment to building on tradition. This programming covers a wide range of activities, including the Townie Street Party, a special free kick off event that takes place the Monday before the start of the Fairs. This fun, festive event gives the community a chance to celebrate the Art Fairs before the crowds come to town. Other programs like the Kid's Art Fair and the New Art New Artist Program allow young area artists (ranging from elementary school kids to college students) to experience what it's like to exhibit and sell their work.

The Street Art Fair also boasts the Imagination Stations with "make and take" activities for younger children and Visual Art Workshops as well. Programs like these help to encourage a broader understanding of art while providing area artists with an opportunity to engage fairgoers in community art projects.

The Original Fair has recently made a huge commitment to sustain ability as well, introducing the Zero Waste Program two years ago with a goal of minimal environmental impact. This program was one of three invited to present at the 2009 annual Michigan Festivals and Events Association Conference.

As a result of its leadership, The Original Fair has won numerous awards, including the Governors Award (State of Michigan), several Reader's Choice Awards (Ann Arbor News, Ann Arbor Current, Hour Detroit, Metro Times), a Gold Pinnacle Award (International Festivals and Events Association), and the title of the Number One Art Fair in the country (AmericanStyle Magazine). It has made the list of Top Ten Fairs and Festivals every year since.

In 2003, the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original relocated from South University to North University Avenue and the streets surrounding the landmark Burton Carillon Tower. This gorgeous new site on the University of Michigan's Central Campus is set amidst elegant architecture and beautifully landscaped pedestrian walkways. Here at its new location, The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original can happily continue its legacy for many fairs to come.

In the Heart of the Art Fairs: The State Street Area Art Fair

The State Street Area Art Fair is celebrating it's 42nd year and attributes it's success to the State Street Area Association, a strong downtown organization, that welcomes and opens it's streets to artists working in many mediums, arriving from every state as well as a few internationally known exhibitors. This fair is also host to the Ann Arbor Fiber Arts Guild that stretches its colorful wares along a double booth at the intersection of State and North University.

The show combines both highly contemporary works alongside very traditional crafts including glass, painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, fiber, wood and more. The standards set for acceptance reflect in the artists' dedication to excellence and quality. A jury of both practicing artists and other arts professionals has the task of screening prospective exhibitors, always looking for fresh and innovative approaches as well as stunning examples of age-old techniques.

The location of our exhibitors is centrally located in the heart of Ann Arbor's downtown campus area. The booths can be found along N. University, Liberty, Maynard, Thompson and William streets. Volunteers from the Ann Arbor Art Center staff our information booth located at State and Liberty. There you can pick up your free guide with artist listings, entertainment schedules, maps, and shuttle information. Two more information booths are located at Maynard near Jefferson and another at Liberty and Division which are staffed by the Huron High School Rowing Team who also assist in set-up, daily cleaning and take-down for the event.

Shopping for Art Fair souvenirs? Look for the Merchandise Tent at State and William where you'll find commemorative T-shirts, bags, posters, mugs, and more. Also visit the State Street Area Art Fair Print Tent next booth over, where art fair exhibitor's prints, posters and note cards are for sale for much less than an original.

You can't miss the excitement as you move through the State Street Area Art Fair, and you know when you've reached the busy center of it all, known as the campus area, where you'll find two theaters, many bookstores, coffee shops, specialty clothing boutiques, a multitude of restaurants catering to all tastes, and a basic assortment of campus venues that come to life each July as the streets vibrate with both artists and commerce.

The State Street Area Art Fair is a nationally- recognized and award-winning art fair that combines the talents of 315 artists along the vibrant streets of Ann Arbor's campus area. The retail climate explodes with a host of merchant displays and food of all kinds as outdoor shoppers search for sales or relax while enjoying a beverage or meal amid the throngs of artist displays.

Ann Arbor's South University Art Fair Diversity--Live It on South U

Ann Arbor's South University Art Fair, now in its 10th year, is where the past meets the future, cutting edge creations blend with traditional styles, and local and international artists combine to bring you the unmistakable flavor that epitomizes the Ann Arbor Art Fairs experience. Great ethnic restaurants, hip and quirky stores plus plenty of easy access parking at the Forest Parking Deck make South U the best possible starting place for your Art Fair adventure.

The Ann Arbor Art Fairs represent all that is great about the Art Fair genre, and their success is linked to the diversity of Ann Arbor itself, with its abundance of first class restaurants and independent boutique style stores. Nowhere more so than at the heart of the Fairs right here on South U.

The brightly colored fish, which festooned the lamp posts on South U in the old days, is echoed in this year's poster designed by artist Chuck Wimmer (Booth #E191).

Although artists no longer string their work between parking meters or simply lay their work in the downtown streets, the audience can still enjoy a one on one rap- port with the artist, and experience the joy of purchasing an authentic work of art just as they always have.

The 2009 Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair -- Great Art, Plus...

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Adventure Tour

This amazing trek through the beauty and power of the animal world is an experience you won't soon forget. The Adventure Tour is at the corner of Main and William Streets. Pandas, gorillas, giraffes, oh my!

The Bank of Ann Arbor Performance Stage

Rock out! Go country! Suffer the blues! The Performance Stage is on Liberty Street near Main Street, Wednesday–Friday, noon- 9p.m. and Saturday, noon–5p.m. Don't miss the MacPodz, a band that burns up the stage every time out. They'll hit the stage Friday at 5:30 p.m. Find the full schedule at, or visit our info booths.

The Arts League of Michigan

Visit the Arts League's State Street booth for a look at the prized work of the student artists in their Artist Mentorship Program. The Arts League promotes, preserves and develops African and African American cultural arts within our multi-cultural community.

Summer Art Fair Souvenirs

Choose your art fair mementos… including T-shirts, tank tops, tote bags, water bottles, posters and magnets, each featuring the imaginative artwork of toymakers Simon & Joy Tarasiewicz (Booth D329 on Main Street). Souvenir booths are on Main Street at Liberty and on State at South University. Also, back by popular demand, Cooleroos (the best way to keep your cool)—get yours at the Main Street souvenir booth.

The Imagination Station

Enjoy an array of children's art activities at the Imagination Station on Liberty Street at Fifth Street, Wednesday through Friday, 10a.m. - 6p.m. and Saturday 10a.m. - 4p.m.. Special guests, the renowned Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum on Friday, from noon - 2p.m. and the delightful Rainbow Creation on Saturday, 10a.m. - noon. Plus, "think green projects" using recycled materials from The Scrapbox.

The Main Street Food Court

Food, food, and more Food! Chow down on all your favorite festival treats at the Main Street Area Food Court. Or take a break in one of Ann Arbor's appetizing downtown restaurants.

With sincere thanks to the City of Ann Arbor, the Main Street Area Association and the many sponsors, partners and volunteers who help make this event possible.

To learn more about The Guild of Artists & Artisans:, 734.662.3382, or

Source: Art Showcase Magazine


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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.