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Local News / Entertainment

Monday, 19 July, 2010 0:05 AM

PREVIEW: What to Expect at the 2010 Ann Arbor Art Fairs

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look down State Street during the State Street Area Art Fair in 2009.
by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- More than 1,000 artists from all over the world will be displaying and selling their art pieces at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. Many people don't know that there are four unique art fairs: the original Street Art Fair, the Summer Art Fair, the South University Art Fair and the State Street Area Art Fair. In addition, there will be three stages featuring musical entertainment of almost every genre. If you get hungry, there will be plenty of food for you to eat throughout the art fairs.

The 2010 Ann Arbor Art Fairs is the largest group of art fairs in the state and is maybe even the biggest in the nation. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Wednesday, July 21 through Friday, July 23 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 24.

Click here to download and print a map of all four Ann Arbor Art Fairs, provided by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. Click here to download the Art Showcase Magazine, the official event guide for the 2010 Ann Arbor Art Fairs.

Featured artists for the 2010 Ann Arbor Art Fairs include Mark Traughber at the Street Art Fair (booth #A153) Larry Smith at the State Street Area Art Fair (booth #8236), Linda Chamberlain at the South University Art Fair (booth #E159) and Tim Marsh for the Summer Art Fair (booth #D375). These four artists are featured in the official event guide and on the four official websites of the art fairs.

The original Street Art Fair is celebrating its 51st year with over 180 hand-picked artists, free art activity zones, art demonstrations, performances on the lawn and souvenirs. Exhibitors are located on the city streets surrounding the Burton Carillon Tower on the U of M campus. This is the area where the Ann Arbor Summer Festival was held earlier this month. Eight students from three schools (U-M, College for Creative Studies and Washtenaw Community College) were selected to show off their work at the new art, new artists booth #A319.

"The art fairs are really successful, we've got over 1,000 artists between the four fairs," said Street Art Fair Executive Director Maureen Riley. "I'm not aware of any art fair that is larger than the four art fairs combined. The art fairs' combined economic impact is over $70 million. Not only is there the food and beverage that visitors spend here, all of the art that is purchased during the art fairs pay sales tax. All of that sales tax is collected by the state of Michigan. They're literally here on site collecting sales tax. When you know that 70 percent of half of a million people are coming outside of Ann Arbor, you can just imagine the amount of money that is being spent here."

The Summer Art Fair, presented by The Guild of Artists & Artisans will feature 275 juried artists, demonstrations, performances and souvenirs. Exhibitors are located on State Street from South University to William and on Main Street from William to Huron and Liberty Street from Ashley to Fifth Avenue. This art fair will also feature artist demonstrations at booths #C042, #C050, #C073, #C150, #D211, #D319, #D297 and #D374.

The State Street Area Art Fair is celebrating its 43rd year with 325 artists. Exhibitors are located along N. University, Liberty, Maynard, Thompson and William streets. A new addition this year is the art activity zone for kids of all ages, provided by the Huron High School Rowing Team. This art fair will also feature artist demonstrations, three outdoor food courts and special sidewalk sales from shops along State Street. On Thursday, American Express is hosting a luggage exchange event at the Street Art Fair. The first 200 attendees who bring in a gently used bag to the truck on Washington Street will receive a coupon for a free suitcase.

The South University Art Fair features about 130 artists. Exhibitors are located along S. University, E. University and Church Streets. A popular section is the emerging artists area, which includes the work of 14 young cutting-edge artists at booths E1-E14 on South University between Forest and Washtenaw. This art fair will also offer clay demonstrations by the Yourist Studio Gallery from noon to 7 p.m. at booths E41 to E44.

Attendees can enjoy free musical entertainment during the art fairs

The Street Art Fair will feature musical performances on the lawn at Ingalls Mall. Some of the performers will include the Cottonwood Cloggers, Traver Creek Ramblers, Erin Brown, Robert James, Saline Dance Alliance, Linda Abar, Killer Night Out, The Sugar People, Uncle Dave Lewis, Gun Lake, Danny Kline, Third Coast Kings, Robert James, Chris Centeel, National Ghost and NoteWorthy Band, among many others.

The Summer Art Fair will host its entertainment on Liberty Street between Main and Ashley streets. Some of the performers will include the Torquistadors, The Kreellers, The HandGrenades, Lonesome Country, Jai Fears, Band B, Sound of the Czars, Almost Free, White Ravens, The Mourning, Tone & Niche and Jennifer J. Smith, among many others.

The South University Art Fair will feature musical performances on Church Street, just south of University Avenue. Some of the performers will include Nathan K, The Juliets, Bret Mitchell, The Macpodz, Dan Hening, The Mean Reds, George Bedard & the Kingpins, Jill Jack, Lucciana Costa, Robert Francis, Tally Hall, Blue Rays, The Anti Gravity Kings and Corndaddy, among many others.

For many years, the four art fairs have worked independently. Not this year.

This year, the executive directors of all four art fairs collaborated on two key initiatives.

First, they have worked together with Jacobs Media to create an iPhone app. It is available for a free download on all iPhones and on the iTunes music store. The Ann Arbor Art Fairs iPhone app will provide a map of the festival, list of the artists, schedules and parking information. Click here to download the iPhone app.

Secondly, the new A2 Trolley will give attendees a ride between each of the four art fairs. A group of trolleys will make two stops at each of the art fairs. It is a new convenient way to get around downtown Ann Arbor during the art fairs. The trolleys are air-conditioned and run on natural gas. Tickets are $1 for unlimited rides in one day.

Attendees can park for free at Briarwood Mall or Pioneer High School and take the shuttle to the art fairs. Shuttles will be operated by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority's The Ride. Fares are $1.50 each way or 75 cents each way for fare deal card holders and students, K-12. Fares are free for children under age five and seniors.

"We want people to look at all the wonderful art, look and buy," Riley added. "There's art in a price range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. There's something for everybody's taste. There's lots of interactive activities on our site. The kids can come and make things. You can hear a little music, have something to eat, it's a good time for all."

Local restaurants depend on the increased traffic during art fair week to remain profitable for the year

It is often the busiest week of the whole year for downtown Ann Arbor restaurants. Art booths will be lined up and down the street just outside their main entrances of restaurants.

The original Cottage Inn Restaurant is located at 512 E. William Street. It has been open since 1947 and frequently serves food to University of Michigan athletic teams and other professional sports teams from Detroit. Cottage Inn will increase its staff by 20 percent for the art fair week.

"We have a lot of anticipation, business is expected to be better than last year," said manager Lorenzo Viera-Patron. "My personnel is ready for the task. We have an army ready. We are introducing our gluten-free menu. It's been very successful. We are ready to launch it. We welcome everybody to Ann Arbor and we are hoping for a very successful four days of the fair."

Bar Louie is located at 401 E. Liberty Street. It has been open for three years, just before the art fair week in 2007. Sales during last year's art fair topped sales from the year before. The restaurant makes about $50,000 more in sales during art fair week. Bar Louie is also featuring its Christmas in July event and a Michigan Brewers Guild event during this year's art fair.

"We figure we'd see a light increase over last year," said general manager Brandon Herriott. "The economy is slowly, but surely starting to picking up. Everybody is expecting to be a little better this year. We're looking forward to it. We'll be doing snow cone bomb specials and Santa sliders and other kind of neat giveaways. We also are going to have a grille set up outside. We're going to be doing burgers and dogs for those people who just want to grab a quick bite while they're just passing by. Livonia, Clinton Township, Grand Rapids, Flint are all lending us managers, kitchen help, servers. It's really fortunate that a lot of the Livonia employees and a couple of the Clinton employees are actually employees that were originally servers and bartenders here at the Ann Arbor location are now managers there. It's like they're coming home for the week."

Food vendors at the Summer Art Fair include Blue Nile, Chan's Concessions, Conor O'Neils, Cosi, Cottage Inn Pizza, Greek Tavern, J and I Consessions, Mahek, Mawi Wowi, Melting Moments, Mr. Spots, Nuts and Such, Olympic Kitchen, Paradise Concessions, Parthenon, Pizza Pino, Potato Factory, Sabor Latino, Smoke House, We R Korney.

Don't forget about the restaurants located on the lower level of the Michigan Union, located right on State Street. Down there, art fair attendees can dine at Subway, Pizza Hut, Wendy's, Panda Express, Mrs. Fields, Auntie Anne's and Freshens. A student ID is not required to access the building or dine at those restaurants.

For more information on the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, visit artfairs.visitannarbor.org.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look down Liberty Street during the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair in 2009.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Tone & Niche will perform at the Summer Art Fair on Saturday, July 24 at 12:30 p.m. This photo was from last year.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The original Cottage Inn Restaurant is located at 512 E. William Street. It will increase its staff by 20 percent in preparation for this year's art fair.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Bar Louie is located at 401 E. Liberty Street. It makes about $50,000 more in sales during art fair week.

 

Complete Coverage of the 2010 Ann Arbor Art Fairs on AmericaJR.com

 

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