Friday, July 29, 2011

Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair 2011

Ever since I was a wee one scribbling with crayons, I have heard about the art fairs in Ann Arbor. My grandfather is an artist and photographer, and I remember quite distinctly my mother's old art box filled with smelly, messy tubes of cracked paint. We went to gallery openings that included my grandfather's work at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, and in high school I often accompanied my grandparents on the monthly Kalamazoo Art Hop. There was also the yearly art festival in Bronson Park the first Saturday in June with its jovial Do-Dah Parade. As a result of this upbringing, I have never found art boring. Most of my hobbies involve making things (writing, drawing, crocheting...) and I am eager to see what others create and appreciate their fine skills. 

Finally, after years of galleries, museums, and art shows, I was able to attend the mecca of all summer art fairs here in Ann Arbor. I was very impressed! Every artist's booth was top notch and absolutely delightful. I lost track of how many paintings and prints I wanted to buy for my apartment, and one lady was selling tempting tools for flower arranging, a field I hope to get into sometime soon.

After perusing the length of Main St, Kimmy and I stopped into Conor O'Neill's to get out of the heat, have a bite to eat, and fill up on water (and a hard cider and a rum and Coke that were on special). We ended up splitting an order of fantabulous fish and chips, then a slice of Bailey's cheesecake that was just as amazing as it sounds.

Bringing a cup of ice water with us, we set out to explore the artistic offering along Liberty while noting the clouds coming in from the west were turning a bit dark. We decided to check out Borders (may it rest in peace) and we hurried along because I was low on time and had to head into work at four. Along the way I found a pretty silver ring at a good price to replace the one that I lost last year, and a man willing to make us a special bag of kettle corn because I only had two dollars on me and not his asking price of six. (It was delicious.)

Just before we got to Borders, we found our favorite Ann Arbor feature, Violin Monster! ( recently posted an article and interview with Violin Monster that you may read here.) Kimmy and I are both huge fans, so we dug through our wallets for spare change and "fed the monster" (put it in his tip jar). He was playing an Irish jig, so I danced a little, and promptly lost my one remaining ear cuff. We scoured the ground, but could not find it. Sigh!

Inside Borders was very crowded. Apparently all Borders needed to do to save itself was put everything at 10% off. We looked around a bit, then decided to leave, when we discovered the sky had grown quite dark, and all the artists and merchants were battening down the hatches. As we wove our way down the sidewalk, it began to sprinkle. Then, about halfway to our car (a good many blocks from Borders), the clouds opened up and it poured.

Kimmy was delighted. This was the first time she had been caught in a summer rainstorm. For me, rain is more or less a staple of the summer art fair, and I have never seen rain as a deterrent to many adventures. We were thoroughly soaked by the time we reached the car, but were grateful for the storm as it finally broke the heat and the weather stayed more normal summer temperatures for the next few days.

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