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Ann Arbor--Put a fork in it, it is done!

This post is mainly for those of you who have never done the summer art fairs here.
I have done the Guild show here since 1985.
This year was the worst show ever in all the years I have done it.
It was the worst for about 90 per cent of all exhibitors. There were a few lucky ones--very few.
The failure can be summed up succinctly.
Too many booths for too little buyers.
This year the heat was a big factor.
Over 95 degrees almost every day. It killed attendance.
But, even in good weather, this is a failed show.
Most art patrons who want uniquely crafted items do not show up here anymore. The ones that do are very few. There are not enough of them to satisfy all the good artists there.
This is a show with too many "toos."

Too long. Four days plus a day before setup.
Too long on hours til 9:30 pm. A total waste.
Too expensive booth fees. Over $700 for a single booth. It is a ripoff.
Too many greedy merchants. Hotel rooms usually in the $60 range are over $100.
Too many exhibitors. Over 2000 including all the scab artists.
Too little sales. The average artist here is lucky if they sell $3500 in four days. A lousy return on your investment.

You are better off doing two small shows on successive weekends. You will spend less time and money and get an equal return on sales as AA.
I am now retired from AA. Thankfully, I can get rid of all those electric fans, lights and shims.
Free at last. Free at last.
I am telling ya go anywhere, but do not go to Ann Arbor, it is a Fool's Errand.

Views: 1844

Comment by Christina L. Towell on July 29, 2016 at 9:37am

It certainly sounds like the death knell for A2, sorry to hear it...

Comment by Craig Roderick and Sara Beck on July 29, 2016 at 10:52am


Where was your booth.

Comment by David S. Hoornstra on July 29, 2016 at 11:33am

Christina, I am sure the fair will go on without us. As a veteran of many non-profit "demos" I had to take the attitude that "it's a festival with a financial underpinning for OTHER people and I'm just the volunteer entertainment." I am now applying that to the AnnArbor Art Fair, but can no longer pay to play at my hobby. I intended it to be a business, but some businesses just don't turn the corner in the prescribed four years.

Comment by Liana Delgado on July 29, 2016 at 11:46am
Hi, Craig & Sara. I was in The Original on Ingalls Mall right in front of clock tower.
Comment by Craig Roderick and Sara Beck on July 29, 2016 at 12:22pm

That kind of throws my location theory out the window. Yikes!

Comment by margaret luttrell on July 30, 2016 at 2:59pm

Did the "Original" last year.....and I think once was enough...even though the weather was cool part of the time......Thanks Nels....tight and right on target as usual.

Comment by Sheri Kowalski on August 6, 2016 at 8:36am

You summed this up perfectly. I agree 100 percent. They need to change the dates and size it down.


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