Ann Arbor Art Fair 2009: Photos & History of Famous 4 Day Fair
The Ann Arbor Art Fair 2009, which attracts 500,000 visitors and hundreds of artists every year, began today. It will last for 4 days from July 16 to July 19, 2009.
The Ann Arbor Art Fair consists of four art fairs that take place simultaneously in Ann Arbor, Michigan during the third week of July every year. The Ann Arbor Art Fairs have won many awards and collectively create one of the largest art fairs in North America.
The oldest of the art fairs, known as the "Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original," celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The first Ann Arbor Street Art Fair occupied two blocks in 1960. Since then, the event has grown to encompass three other art fairs - the South University Fair, the State Street Art Fair, and the Summer Art Fair - that combine to create a "sprawling, four-day, city-wide bazaar."
Eager shoppers began piling into the Ann Arbor Art Fair today before its official 10am start time.
“I wanted to get an early start to beat the rain,” said Patricia Davis, 60-something of Bloomfield Hills, who purchased a piece of pottery from Steve Frederick. “I’ve been coming for 20 years. I collect pottery.”
Despite the early traffic, the Ann Arbor Art Fairs organizers are concerned that the recession may take its toll on the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, which usually provides a significant boost to the local economy. They noted that more people are making day trips to the Ann Arbor Art Fair instead of staying overnight in local hotels as they might have done in better times.
Artists have tried to accommodate the recession by making more small pieces that can be sold cheaply, but organizers are still concerned that not enough will be sold at the 2009 Ann Arbor Art Fairs.
South University Art Fair director Maggie Ladd has been doing her best to reassure artists coming from afar, but she feels like the fate of next year's fair already hangs in the balance.
"It's really important this year that we have a good fair," said Ladd. "Whether artists will be resistant to come back next year will depend on what happens this year. Last year, we were OK, but that was before everything hit the fan in October and November. ... So we're keeping our fingers crossed for good weather, because that always helps."