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August 04, 1989 - Image 70

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


South State Street
was crowded with
visitors, above,
while at left, T-
shirts displayed
this souvenir logo.


Ann Arbor's art fairs drew 1,000 artists and 500,000 visitors.


Special to The Jewish News


Nether it is soft fibre dolls
you were seeking or
leaded glass wastebaskets
with matching soap
dishes, eight-foot bronze
sculptures, handmade leather clothing,
or avant garde jewelry made out of
polished rocks and precious metals,
chances are it was all on display dur-
ing last month's Ann Arbor Art Fairs.
Five hundred thousand visitors were
undaunted by rain or humidity to des-
cend upon the town — to see and be
seen, to shop, to eat at the street stalls
and to enjoy this rite of summer.
The annual happening, now 30



years "young," started in 1960 with just
one fair clustered around the intersec-
tions of South University and East
University avenues, to help Ann Arbor
businessmen through the July dog days
of retailing doldrums. It was an idea
whose time had come, for the early
1960s brought a strong interest in
handmade arts and crafts.
The event has grown to include
three fairs, consisting of 936 booths,
1,013 artists, assorted street musicians,
food vendors and political protesters,
making it one of the biggest and most
prestigious summer art fairs in the

Sales? No one likes to be to specific,
but last year's gross sales were
estimated at $25 million, and artists,
who come from as far as New Mexico,
western Canada and California and
have passed a juried selection process,
have been known to make as much as
$25,000 a day during the four-day
A raucous street scene, a vibrant
marketplace, but is it art? Some might
debate it, but according to Marjorie
Levy, dean of the U-M School of Art, it
is "People. People appreciating, people
being curious, looking carefully, and
educating their eyes," she says. ❑

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