This is Jim Ardis's booth. He does this fantastic and huge outdoor art. Sculptures for your yards - arbors, and wall art. We've know him for a long time and if your ever get to see this stuff you'll be amazed. Not your run of the mill copper cut outs.
I think I've mentioned this before the Ann Arbor Art Fairs are actually four fairs. It covers most of the town and is usually in first or second place for the top fair in the country. I didn't think we'd make it through all of it...but after what we did see, with breaks and lunch I was on eye candy overload anyway. We were able to see lots of old friends and linger our way along the many streets. A Greek lunch was wonderful too. Music, impromptu and planned is always an extra treat. There were bands and many street musicians. Even a booth of pet portraits - "Blue Dog" would have been proud.
And then there are the sales - it is summer close-out time and nearly every store has a special going on or a booth outside their storefronts. There are so many funky stores you could just spend the day going from store to store - shoes, clothing, eyeglasses. Yes, I love the eyeglasses. Every year in the summer "SEE" (that's the name of the store) closes out lots of last year's frames. You can purchase funky frames (originally priced in the stratosphere) for $49.00.
This town is home of the University of Michigan - you've got to love college towns! It could be any university actually, they just tend to draw an eclectic and diverse population.
There are so many things to love about these particular art fairs. The university atmosphere, the four art shows, the sales, the music, the diversity, and sandwiched in between two of the fairs there is the section of non-profit booths. There are booths that can just tickle you in that section and some that make you want to cry.
Sometimes the placement of the booths can be absolutely absurdly funny...today the Atheists of the World were two booths down from a wonderful group of Muslims - who had signs out that everyone should come and get to know them because they were really peaceful people. I agree and don't know why they needed signs to announce that but they were so sincere and nice. Oh, and just down the road - is the the Buddhist Temple.
The non-profits are most certainly not restricted to people of religion. Want to talk to pro-choice - they're there, but they were about a half dozen booths down from the Catholics! Love a Libertarian? They were there and next to the Welders from Washtenaw County Community College....there's a joke there somewhere. The Democrats were there and I loved the fact that the couple in the booth had been married a million years and were retiree's. Where were those young hip types standing by the Obama T-shirts? Heck if I know.
I gave money to the Soup Kitchen people and the Save the Greyhound people. Maybe it was a year to feed everyone. It is definitely a street to keep an open mind on and to talk to your hearts content on any topic of interest. I took a few photos of the booths. I wish I'd of gotten the one on how to continue to help the Haitians because there was a phone number on the front. And I took a photo of a booth that was full of photos but then deleted it when I was editing It was such a honorable booth but the photos were the kinds where you can not blink, they make you wince, and didn't think it appropriate to pass along here. They were there to talk about the toll that land mines are taking on some of the native populations of some countries - heartbreaking! I know there are many fine arts shows to visit while in Ann Arbor but I will dare to suggest spending a little time on this street taking to these passionate booth sitters. It very quickly helps you to understand your place in the world and I always feel a lot more humble and thankful when I am done.
Attached all over this post are the photos I took. I really didn't get much on the "art". There were lots of signs out asking that everyone not shoot photos of their work. I'm thinking it's the economy and so many artists are concerned about being ripped off artistically. Before, pre-economy crashes, there were not. But so many times photos are taken and repo's have turned up in major chain stores. Sad but true.
And, the last photo - I just thought it was fun to find this plant by a parking lot. In Ann Arbor the art is everywhere!