Wednesday, July 21, 1976
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Ann Arbor Art Fair '76
changes its tune
By JAY LEVIN
It happens every summer.
Just when the July sun begins to beat rudely down on the
uncrowded streets and the roses burst into flame, South University
turns its tidy little storefront facade into a menagerie of color,
shape and sound.
BY NOW WE all know it could only be Art Fair Time.
Starting today, as in the past 16 Ann Arbor Julys, the booths
will pop up under a white canopy and the artists will flock to
the part of South University girded by East 'U' and Washtenaw
for the Street Art Fair, a four day extravaganza highlighted by
displays and demonstrations of anything from acrylics to enamels.
And if watching some of the nation's most talented artists
perform their livelihoods before your very eyes isn't enough, you
can always cash in on some of South 'U's choicest sidewalk sales
or just sip an Orange Julius while watching the summer crowds
Today, some 500 artists-potters, painters and glassblowers
among them-will flaunt their wares before summer strollers,
hoping to impress the crowds enough for i. sale.
AND THE CITY will obligingly close the festival section of
South 'U' to traffic, so as not to interfere with the village of ten
by ten foot booths and the throngs of folks who make the fair a
According to Richard Brunvand, Street Art Fair coordinator,
"all of the various art mediums are considered" during the fair.
The Ann Arbor Potters Guild, Senior Citizens Guild and student
groups from Pioneer and Huron High Schools will join individual
craftspeople in displaying original creations.
And while you wander about staring agog at the products of
people's hands,there's always music and dance totitillate your
visual and aural senses. There will also be a presentation in the
stage area each evening as well as a slide show depicting life in
this carnival community.
THE STREET Art Fair was originally developed by the South
University Businessmen's Association to coincide with Ann Arbor's
summer bargain days. It is still partly funded by the street's
merchants, who stand to reap some green bouquets when the
thousands of fans flock to the fair.
As in previous years, South 'U's fair is a juried show, which
helps to insure top-quality exhibits.
"People submit their slides and materials to the juries and
the juries look at the materials and decide who can join," says
Brunvand. "The juries lend a professional nature to the show,
and are how we maintain a high aspect of art."
THE 17 INDIVIDUALS who plan to demonstrate the manipu-
lation of the tools of their trade further enhance the aura of
professionalism fair-goers will enjoy.
Carl Wesenberg of Ann Arbor, a woodcarver, has demonstrated
his craft in every Street Art Fair since its inception in 1959.
Wesenberg, who shapes fragrant sugar pine wood into dainty
animal figurines and weather instruments, says he limits his
work to "nineteenth century folk art style." Most of the people
who purchase his creations, he says, are either antique buffs or
folks just interested in securing a good sample of wood carving.
HIS FIGURINES usually take from "five to one hundred
hours" to create, depending on the size of the job.
See SOUTH, Page 18
Daily Photo by KEN FINK
Hand-painted portraits will be just one of the many items featured at the annual Ann Arbor
Art Fair. The fair begins today and will run through Saturday.
State's choice af- air
While Ann Arbor bustles with activity this
week, the State Street Area Art Fair will be
vying for its share of the attention.
The State Street event is one of three inde-
pendent art fairs held concurrently each July.
Collectively they make up the "Ann Arbor
Art Fair," one of the largest and most re-
nowned events of its kind. This week, over
200,000 people are expected to flood the city's
streets, in search of art treasures and bar-
NOW GOING into its ninth year, the State
Street fair is small, but highly selective. Each
of the 132 participants has been winnowed out
of a much larger pool of applicants. Some
two months ago, a group of judges began the
painstaking process of reviewing slides of the
artists' work in order to select only the most
interesting and qualified craftspeople.
Geographically, the fair is spread out over
three campus-area streets-Maynard, North
University, and Liberty. Under the big top on
Maynard, fairgoers will be able to peruse and
purchase almost every kind of artwork imag-
For pewcomers to the Ann Arbor area who
get lost in the confusion of the fair, an infor-
mation booth on the corner of Liberty and
Maynard will offer assistance.
After admiring the painting, photography,
macrame, and other artwork being displayed,
you may want to check out some of the side-
walk bargains being offered by the State
Street area merchants. The fair was originally
designed to coincide with the merchants' an-
nual summer sale. Today, the businessmen
and artists each contribute to the planning of
Festival seeks originality,
By BARBARA ZAHS The Festival was started in 1971 as an sponsored fairs, members adopted a set
Suddenly Ann Arbor is awakened from alternative to the more stringently-regu- of rules to govern the work which is
its quiet slumber. The city comes alive lated Street Art Fair, in order to give exhibited.
as people, portraits, and pottery fill the students and other local craftspeople a For example, most machine-made ob-
streets. The signs are unmistakable- chance to show and sell their works. jects and commercially - manufactured
the Summer Arts Festival has begun. A GROUP OF. the participants later pieces are not allowed. The rules state
Today through Saturday, more than helped form the University's Artists and that "It must be clear to Guild members
700 artists will display their wares in Craftsmen Guild which now boasts over and to the public that the design of a
rows of booths planted along East Uni- 600 members and sponsors four art fairs work is the artist's original conception
versity and Main Street. every.year.;- and design."
Because space is limited, participation The Guild stresses an interest in pro-
THIS YEAR'S 500 booths are bound to in the Summer Arts Festival is restricted duction, not just merchandising of ob-
offer something for almost everyone. to Guild members and University stu- jects.
Bread dough art, sculpture, leaded glass, dents. Unlike the older Street Art Fair, "WE ARE REALLY looking for hand-
and lacework are among the scores of the Festival is not juried. crafted work that people have done
different crafts being featured. "The whole question of aesthetics is themselves and that they care for," Roth
Daily demonstrations of arts and crafts left up to the individual," explained said, adding, "We've had some really
techniques are scheduled. A children's assistant coordinator Ann Roth. impressive works."
activity area and food concessions will BUT IN ORDER to maintain a high The people who participate "come
also be available. level of quality and originality at Guild- from all walks of life," Roth said. Not
all are professional artists.
"Some have a lot to learn and a long
ways to go, but they're given a chance
to come and see what they can do."
PARTICIPANTS this year will travel
from all across the United States, since
many of the Guild's members have
moved but return to Ann Arbor each
summer just to exhibit their works.
More than 200 artists came to the first
"Free Arts Festival" on East University
five years ago. Since that time, the
festival has changed its name and ex-
panded to include part of the downtown
business district on Main Street.
Although space in the 300 booths on
East University is sometimes considered
more desirable, many artists actually
prefer the Main Street location because
it is less congested.