Art Fair Insiders

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Share Your Memories of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair on NPR

I know many of my readers have been in this art fair business for a long time. I attended my first Ann Arbor Art Fair in 1976 and have either exhibited in it or attended every year since. Here is an opportunity for you to share your memories of the event with others. From the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair newsletter:
Share Your Memories of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair on AIR! Maybe you remember the Art Fair as it was nearly fifty years ago when it was just starting out. Or maybe there's a funny story about your first visit just waiting to be told. Whatever your favorite memory of the art fair is, come share it with the community! Later this week, WEMU will be recording weird, wacky, and wonderful memories of the fair over the years. Select segments will air in the weeks leading up to the 50th Anniversary Fair this July. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to be a part of the celebration! WHEN:
February 18th 7:00 to 8:00 pm February 20th 7:00 to 8:00 pm February 28th 10:00 to 11:00 am WHERE: Big Sky Recording 2304 S. Industrial Ann Arbor, MI SIGN UP by calling 487-2229 or emailing Molly Motherwell ( Can't make it to a recording session? Send us your memory via email:

I remember walking across the diag one summer day in l977, I believe, (remember the 70's?) the haze of pot in the air and I saw an artist strip bare to change his clothes. I remember walking the length of Main Street and thinking I had seen the Ann Arbor Art Fair. As it turned out I hadn't even seen it yet! I remember watching huge winds blowing down booths on South University with glass crashing around us and my husband turned to me and said, "this looks like fun. I think I'll apply next year." I remember being awake all night nervous about the opening day. I remember teaching our kids how to sell and make change on the streets of Ann Arbor. I remember our first thousand dollar show. I remember our first thousand dollar day. I remember the hope and joy that flowed from the artists as their economic dreams became reality. I remember the days when cash was flowing everywhere and everyone was happy and people were standing in line to buy. I really remember the wonderful friends, artists from around the country.

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Comment by Barry Bernstein on February 19, 2009 at 4:36pm
I sent this little tidbit to that email address:

My fondest memory happened when I was 15 years old. My high school had a summer program of intellectual pursuits that I signed up for. That summer, I got introduced to Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, live Shakespeare productions, foreign films, John Coltrane, folk music and more. We took a lot of field trips and one of those trips was to the Ann Arbor Art Fair. It was the summer of 1965. The show was only on 2 streets, South University and East University, I think. I’m not sure about the East U part. In those days, there were no tents. Painters would prop their paintings against old wooden milk crates and potters/glass blowers would, also, use the crates to display their art. A “sophisticated” display was 2 ladders and boards across the rungs. Some painters chose to display their paintings on easels. The artwork was awe inspiring and the impact was enormous. When my raku pottery got into the show on my first try, 1982 I think, I was ecstatic. I can’t believe how tired I was after the four 12 hour days. I slept for another 4 days after the show. But, that is another story.


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