(video: Paul Pytlowany/CBS 62)
Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original
721 E Huron St, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Dates: July 18-21, 2012
Exactly 500 years ago, Michelangelo put the finishing touches on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Now considered one of the greatest artists to have ever lived, and having created one of the most famous murals ever known, Michelangelo set the gold standard for fine art. For half a millennium, artisans have worked passionately to express their creativity in tangible form to find an audience who justly appreciates their talent. This tradition is alive and well today, and thrives at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. This event is comprised of four art festivals operating simultaneously. The original event was founded 53 years ago. Its standards for acceptance are extremely high and most artists consider it the toughest fair in which to gain entry. The five tips below will help you get the most out of your trip to the festival.
Take some time to peruse the artist directory to get a sense of each artist and the type of work he/she presents. Note which works speak to your heart because we collect art with our heart, not our brain. Become aware of your preferences. As you browse the artists, take note of the genres that call out to you. Forget about all the left-brain logic that has been thrown at you since elementary school because producing and enjoying art is ultimately an emotional process. The only way you can go wrong is buying art that you don’t love.
Find inspiration through a variety of arts
You need to “wake up” your brain to get it primed to find what inspires you. Music is the best catalyst to achieve this because it excites more parts of the brain than any other stimulus. Visit the Fountain Stage and relax while entertainers sing, play and dance throughout the festival. Let the rhythms of the music and the timing of the beats put you in a positive emotional frame of mind; this will make it much easier to identify with the works of art that call out your name.
Haste makes waste
Don’t be in hurry to buy art. Come back every day of the festival if you need to until you are certain you have made the right choice. Sometimes “sleeping on it” will yield greater clarity about a particular piece or collection. People who buy art while on vacation often find that their decisions have backfired because they didn’t take the time to listen to their hearts. The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair lasts long enough that you can revisit your favorite booths over and over. If you don’t find something this year, don’t panic, because they are here for the long run.
Related: Ann Arbor Art Fairs Rewind
Let knowledgeable experts guide you
The Street Art Fair is juried, that means only the cream of the crop are allowed to exhibit their art. If an artist shows up with a project that appears less than stellar, the judges will ban that work from the show. What makes the cut has already undergone so much scrutiny that you can’t really go wrong as a new buyer. Many collectors like to follow a particular artist’s career over the years, and buy slowly, but loyally from a favored vendor. The venue is large enough that there will be an ocean of choices. There will surely be something to please all tastes.
Don’t over exert yourself
The fair is held during some of the hottest weeks of the season. Bring an empty plastic bottle and fill it at water fountains, ensuring you drink enough fluids. Take advantage of the art trolley, which circulates about the festival and costs only $1 for the day. Wear sun-protective hats and clothing and rest frequently. If you want to feel a real part of the experience, consider becoming a volunteer during the festival. You will find it to be a rewarding way to mingle with the artists, collectors, judges, celebrities from CBS and members of the community, sharing passions and developing your artistic tastes.