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July 19, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-19

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

Artists flock to A2
for profit, pleasure

The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, July 19, 1978-Page3
FIRST DOWN celebrates Ann Arbor's
Art Fair with great savings for you
Athletic Shorts
Dacron/cotton or fast V
drying nylon
$2" to $5"

In six years of Art Fair exhibitions,
stained glass maker Bob Vavrina has
never quite understood what he calls
the "feeding frenzy buying
psychology" he has noticed on the part
of his customers.
The full-time artist from Chelsea can
sit through a long dry stretch, during
which spectators seem little interested
in taking any of his work away with
them-before it is abruptly broken with
a single purchase. This sale brings out
other wallets for a shopping flourish.-a
Ann Arbor weaver Terri O'Toole, who
partially supports herself with her
work, has also noticed the buying spur-
ts and thinks it's because customers are
too shy. "I think they (spectators) are
really intimidated by craft-people no
matter what we look like. They wait for
someone else to go out to the booth."
And University staff member and
photographer Walt Pinkus has traced
the phenomenon to work and meal
schedules; a buying flurry at the begin-
ning of the day, then again twice just
before lunch and dinner. The final cash
for crafts rush descends at closing time
around 10:00.
The stained glass artist, weaver, and
photographer are among the hundreds
of craftspeople in the area who have
packed up bundles of their best work
and come to Ann Arbor's popular Art
Fair. They can bask in tremendous ex-
posure and enjoy an appreciative
audience through exhibitions which are
found North, South and East Univer-
sity, Main, State, and Maynard Streets
Streets for the next three days.
Many of the artists who arrived today
sell their works summer after summer,
providing them with a chance to watch
the fair evolve. The concensus seems to
be that the quality of the crafts is im-
proving to some degree, since kits and
manufactured items have been
None of the artists interviewed admit
to setting special Ann Arbor prices for
the works which they sell throughout
the entire year. All of them said they set
the price for each product once it is
completed and wouldn't change the
figure after evaluating it. Exhibitors
also said they don't alter their prices

with changing seasons and fair loctions
as retail merchandisers do.
The "block captain" for Main Street
between Huron and Washtenaw, Wally
Bilyear, a commercial artist from
Livonia, is supposed to ensure that the
string of booths on Main Street doen't
turn into a "flee market or a merchant
outlet." This effect occurs when sellers
allow monetary interests to pervade
over product quality ... anything for a
buck. However, Bilyeau said he would
lower a price "if it's some young couple
who maybe can't afford it."
But just because block captain
Bilyeau is concerned that the Fair isn't
overrun with mass-produced items, it
doesn't mean he considers the fair the
reserve of polished artists. "I like the
Ann Arbor Fair because it's a fun fair
. . . it's not just for the extremely
sophisticated or the art critics." In fact,
painter Bilyeau claims, the artists who
go to abstract or experimental work
can find that they have no audience.
"Some of the young people, who are
much more talented than I am, they
come here and die because they don't
paint things that appeal to the audien-
Sandy Finkel, who will exhibit her ink
sketches for the first time this year,
agreed that the avant-garde work of
past years seems to be giving way to
"safer" work which will predictably
bring in money. "I would tend to think
that the fair has gotten into more of a
capitalistic type endeavor," Finkel
said. Since "money is the largest
motive for these fairs," the artists are
catering to ''people who just want
something to decorate their walls,"
Finkel said.
Susan Hensel sells her pottery at
eight to ten functions a year. Over the
last four years in Ann Arbor she has
seen "a very dramatic difference" in
the quality of the products. "We came
to the 'conclusion that if we didn't do
something to control the quality. .. we
would be doing a disservice to the
community." said the artist.
A member of the biggest contingency
at the fair, pottery, Elisabeth Brown
observed that the selection of display
items among artists is cyclical. "First
it was hanging pots and everyone had to
buy hanging pots, then it was honey
pots and toothbrush-holders. We know
See PROFITS, Page 26

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All cotton or
cool blends
$399 to $699

A variety of shapes
and colors
$799 to 15
These great athletic shoes
have surface blemishes which
do not allow them to be sold
at regular prices. If perfect
$14.95 to $27.95
$1O1'5 to $199-5

Colorful nylon shells

aCl Shell Fish
Oysters on- the
half shell
Light & Dark Beer on Tap * Sunday Liquor
"Enoys Crustacesnl"
Mon-Thurs 11 am-11 pm ' Fri & Sat
11am-12 mid * Sun 5 pm-11 pm

Brooks-Lady Victress, Men's Victor
These terrific running shoes sell for $24.95 elsewhere
. $21.95
GET SET for fall and winter and save
while prices are still low!
$24"5 to $7495
These are our regular quality coats
andvests that were $40 to $95
SKI SWEATERS-While they last
$14.95 reg. to $36
$109 reg. $145
- and much, much more.

213 S. MAIN
Doily 10-5:30, Fri 10-8, Sat 10-2

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