ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Ann Arbor Art Fairs wrapped up on July 24 with some happy artists and other artists that were a little upset. Fair weather on the first two days brought out the crowds while rainy weather on the last two days kept buyers at home. Attendees typically look at all the booths on Wednesday and Thursday and then make their purchases on Friday and Saturday. Even with Michigan’s struggling economy, people still decided to purchase art and keep it a part of their lives.
“Sales are way down,” said ceramic artist Jack Charney of Santa Fe, N.M. “Usually, the first day is the best day. My worst day is usually Friday.”
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 was available for a free download on all iPhones and on the iTunes music store. The Ann Arbor Art Fairs iPhone app provided a map of the festival, list of the artists, schedules and parking information.
Secondly, the new A2 Trolley gave attendees a ride between each of the four art fairs. A group of trolleys made two stops at each of the art fairs. It was a new convenient way to get around downtown Ann Arbor during the art fairs. The trolleys were air-conditioned and run on natural gas. Tickets were $1 for unlimited rides in one day.
“Well, it’s hot, so they’re OK,” said fiber artist Kendra Krumpe of Mechanicsburg, Ohio about sales during the art fair. “They’re never good the first day. Actually, Friday is the least busy. If people want to come on Friday, that’s the best day to come. Because there’s nobody here.”
The nicest days to attend the 2010 Ann Arbor Art Fairs were Wednesday and Thursday. The high temperature was 88 degrees on the first day of the art fairs and 83 degrees on the second day. There were strong thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday. The high temperature was 90 degrees on the third day of the art fairs and 87 degrees on the final day.
For the second time, a small art fair was held in the parking lot of Sears at the Briarwood Mall with about 25 booths.
“Sales have been OK,” said painter Marvin Murphy from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “This has always been a good show for me. A lot of time it takes a couple of days to build up and get momentum going. This has always been a very good show for me. I’m confident it’s going to be a very good year.”
The Street Art Fair featured musical performances on the lawn at Ingalls Mall. Some of the performers included 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.
“Well, they’re steady,” said Yourist Studio Artist Darcy Bowden from Ypsilanti, Mich. about sales at the art fair. “People are coming in and out of the booths constantly and purchasing, so it’s good.”
The Summer Art Fair hosted its entertainment on Liberty Street between Main and Ashley streets. Some of the performers included 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.
“We actually had a nice start,” said mixed media artists T.P. Speer of Oberlin, Ohio. “Some good buyers came in early. It’s quieted down in the heat of the afternoon. We’re pleased considering the economy. The last couple of years have been a little slow around here. Maybe things are looking up a bit.”
The South University Art Fair featured musical performances on Church Street, just south of University Avenue. Some of the performers included 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.
“They are a little down from last year, but I think that’s a direct result from the heat,” said ceramics artist Lilli Blackburn from Ann Arbor, Mich. about sales at the art fair. “From last year, there’s no difference in the economy. I was definitely sensing last year a little bit of an upswing. I don’t feel that today. We’re a little down from last year and I think it’s the heat. People just didn’t come out today.”
This was the first year for Maureen Riley to be the executive director of the Street Art Fair. She took over for Shary Brown, who retired from that position last year.
“Oh, it’s dandy, it’s just fine,” said fiber artist Michael Kensinger from San Francisco about sales at the art fair. “A lot of my regular customers are back, a lot of the friendships over the years that I’ve developed here. Just seeing people and so far, so good. Everybody out strolling the boulevards.”
AmericaJR.com was proud to be an official media partner of the Original Street Art Fair, The Summer Art Fair and The South University Art Fair in 2010.
The Ann Arbor Art Fairs will return on July 20 – 23, 2011. We hope you’ll join us!
For more information on the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, visit artfairs.visitannarbor.org.