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July 19, 1978 - Image 12

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-19

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Page 8-Wednesday, July 19, 1978-The Michigan Daily
Summer Arts Fest:
Artists free-for-all


What began seven years ago as a
fringe on the official Ann Arbor Art
Fair has since blossomed into a diver-
sified and exciting event of its own.
The Summer Arts Festival,
established by University Students as
the "Free Fair" in 1971, will cluster
around Main and East University
Streets and include a variety of musical
offerings, mime performances, and a
special "Kiln God Contest" in addition
to the regular exhibition of work by
over 500 artists and craftsmen.
Sponsored by the University Artists
and Craftsmen Guild, a year-round
organization comprised primarily of
University students, the Festival
devotes most of its booths to students.
The remaining spaces are used by
professional artists. All who exhibit
must be Guild members.
Free from the constricting guidelines
imposed by a rigorous jury system, the
Festival fosters an atmosphere most
participants regard as freer and more
relaxed than that of the State Street and
Ann Arbor Street Art Fairs. Ann Roth,
Guild member who is coordinating the
Festival, claims, "We've designed a
framework that makes it possible for
all students to exhibit."
James Morse, a professional
photographer who has exhibited in the
Festival for five years said, "It's kind
of a zoo. I really love it." Morse tried to
enter a juried Fair three years ago, but
said its rigid priorities system turned
him off.
In the Summer Arts Festival, he said,
"I like the fact that the booths look dif-
ferent. In the other fair, the artists
aren't even allowed to go in the booths.
The free fair has more communication
between the artists and patrons."
Rex Benson, a potter who will display
his wares for the fourth year, agrees
that the Festival benefits from its
looser atmosphere. He said of the Street
Art Fair. "There's just an air about it -

it's too stiff."
As the Festival has grown in size and
organization, standards necessarily
became higher. The Guild rules specify
that each item must be the "handcraf-
ted, original design and work of the
exhibiting artists from beginning to
end." "With the addition of the rules,"
said Roth, "the fair has really grown in
quality, because you can't just schlock
something together. The people ham-
pered by the rules are the ones who are
out to make bucks."
If the Festival enables the public to
encounter the work of many talented
students and professionals, it is also a
dynamite business opportunity. Ben-
son, who joined the Guild "after
hanging around working in a mental in-
stitution" and has since become a
professional potter, attributes 90 per
cent of his success to the Festival.
Although he holds mass tastes in'
somewhat low esteem ("You could sell
anything there, cold hot dogs,
anything"), there is undeniably money
to be made from the thousands of
would-besafficiandos eager to enrich
their lives with some genuine bee-yoo-
tee-ful artwork. Portrait photographer
Morse sees the Festival as a grand
chance to advertise and give away
business cards.
Marsha Gates, a U-M student who
will exhibit her works for the first time
this year, regards the event as an ex-
periment, a chance "to see whether it's
a viable option to support myself as an
Among the highlights this year will be
live demonstration areas for metal
work, silkscreening, airbrush work,
pipe carving, pottery, painting, and
'weaving, on Main, Liberty, and East
University Streets. In addition, live
musical events will include Eclipse
Jazz-sponsored performances at Apollo
Music on Main Street as well as those of
bluegrass musicians, dulcimer players,
and other musical groups.

the meeting place
South University
Schlanderer on South University
invites you to join us in our
all items in stock will be reduced at least 15%
some as much as 50%
Hours: Wednesday through Friday 9:30 A.M.-5:30 P.M.
Saturday 9:30 A.M.-5:00 P.M.

1301 S. University
. corner of S. Forest

10:00 -AM-i1:30 AM

Some dread Art Fair's
yearly influx of humanity
(Continued from Page2But during the annual Art Fair the
friendly, generous people of Ann Arbor
relieved not to be able to drive in town openly share this warm quiet experien-
the week of the fair. ce with literally tens of thousands of
And when residents must leave people-most of whom are art critics
town-by auto-to go to work or and therefore fit right in.
possibly for pleasure, they are even But the most important benefit for
more appreciative. those who enjoy Ann Arbor all year
During the fair one can often hear an round is that their appreciation of their
Ann Arbor resident boasting about the homes rekindles every year during the
extra exercise they got because they fair. Because those who flock to
had to park their car four miles from discover Ann Arbor must eat, the city's
where they live. Ann Arborites are public dining rooms fill quickly. Ann
really into the physical fitness thing. Arbor residents, in their usual generous
Because so many streets are closed to manner, choose to leave the restauran-
automobile traffic or the remaihing ts-and Apropos, most shops and
avenues of exit are stocked full of stores-to the critics and dine at home.
anxious art critics, Ann Arbor residents Although few, there are, some
see parts of town they never knew drawbacks to the art fair. Residents
existed as they attempt to discover the must wade through knee-high litter in
north-west passage out of town. those parts of the city where the art is
But the benefits don't stop here. particularly good; the fair seems to at-
Summer is a very special time in Ann tract an unusual, element called street-
Arbor. Most of the students are gone, people by locals but generally referred
the town seems serene, warm and to as clowns by the critics.
friendly. Many permanent residents of But Ann Arbor residents overlook
the city are in the habit of taking long, these slight inconveniences for the
peaceful-walks either alone or with a greater rewards-the art itself. What is
close friend in the cool of the evening. most surprising about the art at the fair
They walk slowly, savoring an ice is not the quality.
cream cone, 9alking softly about poetry Really, what would Ann Arbor
or art. - 'residents do without the Art Fair?



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