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WATCH: Exclusive Interview with Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair Operations Manager Chaely Chartier

WATCH: Interviews with Fairgoers at the 2009 Ann Arbor Art Fairs: Part One

WATCH: Exclusive Interview with Ann Arbor Street Art Fair Executive Director Shary Brown

WATCH: Interviews with Artists at the 2009 Ann Arbor Art Fairs: Part One

WATCH: Interviews with Artists at the 2009 Ann Arbor Art Fairs: Part Two

WATCH: Interviews with Fairgoers at the 2009 Ann Arbor Art Fairs: Part Two

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OTHER INFORMATION: "Many people from Breckenridge Colorado and Colorado in general might be familiar with the various ski industries including Breckenridge ski rentals and Vail ski rentals as well as other facets of the industry."

 

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Local News / Entertainment

Sunday, 7 November, 2010 6:27 PM

Sales are Up at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, most artists say

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

People are checking out the art booths along State Street.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Ann Arbor Art Fairs wrapped up last Saturday with many happy artists who said they made a profit over the four-day festival. Fair weather with comfortable temperatures brought out the crowds. Even with Michigan's struggling economy, people still decided to purchase art and keep it a part of their lives.

The Street Art Fair celebrated it's 50th anniversary with a special exhibit at the Ann Arbor District Library. A new art fair started in the Sears parking lot of Briarwood Mall.

"I think on one hand people aren't traveling as far away to see the show anymore," said Chaely Chartier, operations manager of the Summer Art Fair. "On the other hand, I think a lot of people from Ann Arbor who usually leave this week are staying and bringing the family and remembering that the art fair can be fun. This is the best weather we've had in at least five years."

The weather was a little rainy on the first day, Wednesday and then again on the last day, Saturday. Thursday and Friday were the nicest of the days with temperatures in the 80's and sunny or partly cloudy skies. It was a relief because some years the temperature is in the 90's making it unbearable but this year it was perfect.

"Sales have been good, I'm very happy," said Andrea Anderson, an artist from Farmington Hills, Mich. "I have everything from $15 shell picks to a $450 jacket. A bit of wide range. The weather is beautiful. People are trying things on. It's really brought the crowds out. It's a really great show. I have hand woven scarves many of them are out of luxury fibers, I use everything from cotton to silk some new blends some silk and bamboo. I have hand woven clothing over here that I make out of fabric I cut into strips reweave back in order and I have a selection of rugs many of them are woven out of byproducts of the textile industry. Things that previously went into landfills and I've woven into rugs."

Musical performances were provided by The Macpodz, The Ragbirds, Serena Ryder, The NoteWorthy Band, The Third Coast Kings, The Ypsitucky Colonels, Four Finger Five, The Sugar People, The Setup, George Bedard & the Kingpins and many other great bands. Mr. B performed on the piano where Ingalls Mall meets North University.

"Yesterday it started slow but we're catching up today," said Christopher Belleau, an artist from Providence, R.I. "Thursdays are notoriously my slowest day but I don't see any sign of it being slow today. The average sale price for me at the show is about $100. We have things like glass earrings for as low as $20 a pair, two pair for $35 and we have Irish vases for as high as $2,000. Those are things that take a team to create, I can't make them by myself. We use about two assistants to create these."

Fair goers were treated to artist demonstrations at the Street Art Fair, free samples of Honey Comb and Kashi cereals and granola bars at the South University Art Fair and much more. Pepcid Complete sponsored a photo booth where fair goers could get their picture taken and a copy to take with them. The Summer Art Fair featured a special exhibit called Mutual of Omaha's Animal Kingdom with life-like animals that moved and turned.

"Generally they've been good," said Seymour Mondshein, an artist from Rosemont, N.J. about sales at the art fair. "My bags start at $5 and go to $520. I'm very successful at what I do. I have a large clientele, I keep in touch with them and it's always great to be here and see all my friends. At the age of 11, I started making purses at the back of my father's fur shop. It's 38 years later and I've supported myself by making bags that I sell throughout the country at art fairs and to stores. I search throughout the country for materials, actually leather and fabric that I cut and sell into shapes that I've created."

For the first time, a small art fair was held in the parking lot of Sears at Briarwood Mall with about 25 booths. The Ann Arbor District Library at 343 S. Fifth Street is hosting a special exhibit commemorating the last 50 years of the Street Art Fair. It is on display through August 30.

"It's great every year, I've been coming for over 30 years and haven't missed a year at all," said Kevin Peck, a fair goer from Ann Arbor. "I wander around for three days and then on Saturday I pick out what I like. I think the entertainment is the best this year that they've had. I've enjoyed it. The food is always excellent. Ann Arbor has the best restaurants. You can't miss on anything here so it's great. North University and South University I think are the best."

Street Art Fair Director Shary Brown has announced her retirement after serving a combined for 21 years, first at the Summer Art Fair and then at the Street Art Fair.

"I think it's time, I've made the contributions that I think I can make best," Brown said. "I'd love to see what somebody else can do building on what we've accomplished so far. I think it's a good time in my life to do this. So I'm proud of what we've done and I'm ready to try something new and maybe take a break. My replacement has not been named yet. The process is ongoing. The resumes are expected to be collected by the middle of August and I would expect they would name someone shortly after that."

Artist Mark Traughber was named the 2010 Featured Artist for the Street Art Fair. His art work will appear on souvenirs next year.

"Fairly weak compared to past years, definitely a reflection of the current economy," said Michael Mode an artist from New Haven, Vt. about sales at the art fair. "My prices run from $40 to over $6,000. I have turned wood art, mostly vessel forms, some sculptures. Mostly made out of exotic woods that are laminated and turned and polished. I use a lot of different exotic woods because I like the colors."

The Ann Arbor Art Fairs will return on July 21 - 24, 2010. See you then!

"It's a really great art fair, it's huge," said Chris Kulick, a fair goer from Breckenridge, Colo. "It's hard to even take everything in, in a full day. My uncle is an artist that used to have a booth here. We've been busy trying take in everything we can. There's lots of great stuff, particularly we noticed the area on South University and North University. The work over there was really fabulous."

AmericaJR.com was a media partner for the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair. Special thanks to Max Clayton and her entire staff for all of their hard work and dedication.

 

OTHER INFORMATION: "Many people from Breckenridge Colorado and Colorado in general might be familiar with the various ski industries including Breckenridge ski rentals and Vail ski rentals as well as other facets of the industry."

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Glass art by Christopher Belleau of Providence, Rhode Island.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Purses by Seymour Mondshein & Lisa Martin of Rosemont, New Jersey.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Prints by Gregg & Jane Billman of Gainesville, Florida.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Adventure Tour was at the corner of Main and William streets.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Macpodz perform on the Summer Art Fair stage.

 

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