To say that the Ann Arbor Art Fair has a lot to offer would be a gross understatement. What started as the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair in 1960 has now become four fairs spanning four days in Ann Arbor each summer.
Running this year from Wednesday July 17th to Saturday July 20th (10 am – 9 pm Wednesday through Friday and 10 am – 6 pm on Saturday), the Ann Arbor Art Fair is comprised of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, the State Street Art Fair, and the Ann Arbor South University Art Fair. The fair draws 500,000 people annually with an eclectic mix of art and entertainment.
The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the oldest of the fairs, was first held over 50 years ago, and now hosts nearly 200 artists near the Burton Carillon Tower. The fair was number one on AmericanStyle magazine’s “Top 25 Fairs & Festivals” list in 2004 and has been on the list in every year since.
As for the newer components of the fair, the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair hosts the fair’s juried fine arts, the State Street Area Art Fair is an impressive display of 325 artists’ work (along with area merchant goods), and the Ann Arbor South University Art Fair is both the youngest of the fairs and also the most youthful, with a past meets future, contemporary and hip vibe.
In addition to the impressive display of art, the fair also has a wide array of diverse entertainment. From street performers (an outdoor pianist, a living statue, and more) to the Fountain Stage (home to Congo and Irish Dance, pop, country, indie rock, jazz, folk, and more) to the Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Safari Adventures wildlife visits to Chrysler’s Ride & Drive, there will never be a dull moment walking around the fair.
Fairgoers will also have the opportunity to get in on the art; children’s art activity zones will allow youngsters to be hands-on, creating their own wands, sets of wings, paper flowers, and having their faces painted, just to name a few. The fair will also have a variety of art demonstrations (clay throwing, photo development, jewelry making, etc.), letting attendees see how the art around them is created.
For those who can’t wait to get the fun started, the Townie Street Party will be kicking off the festivities on Monday July 15th from 5 pm to 9:30 pm on East Washington Street. Now in it’s ninth year, the annual kickoff party serves as a fundraiser for the education and community outreach activities of the fair. The party has music, art, raffles, and more, including the Kids Art Fair, where children from grades 3 through 8 display their artistic work.
With so much to offer, the Ann Arbor Art Fair is a summer can’t miss. What are you most looking forward to at the fair?