Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Back in the day the Ann Arbor Art Fair ruled the art fair business. It started with the Ann Arbor Street Fair over 50 years ago, then the hippies came in and camped on the Diag and The Guild of Artists and Artisans grew out of that and became the Summer Art Fair; then the State Street Merchants Assn. decided they'd join the fun (and grew every year grabbing more real estate); then some unlicensed events popped up on private property. Way out of control (my opinion). Then the merchants on South University decided they weren't making enough money so they tried to make a deal with the board of the Ann Arbor Street Fair for more $$$ leading to a split with the board which roughly 10 years ago created the South University Art Fair. Lots of artists -- lots of people, lots of money flowing.
Then it got to be just too much and Michigan's economy hit hard by the tech bubble just never recovered. Well paying union jobs were going away and the autoworkers/auto suppliers/auto advertisers really suffered. Oh, and the City of Detroit declared bankruptcy. Tough times all around for artists and the groups that sponsored the 4 official fairs.
Blockbuster this week:
The South University show is closing its doors and the Guild is taking over the management of the event that included the S. U. streets.
Why I believe this is good news: it decreases the footprint of the event, it means there will be fewer exhibitors, commercial booths will be gone, for everyone who has been saying "it is just too big", getting smaller should be of economic benefit to all the stakeholders.
Learn more of the details: https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2021
Maybe its time for you to reconsider skipping Ann Arbor? What do you think?