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Want to Start a New Art Fair? A Better Idea

I have had this conversation with other art fair directors. Occasionally we receive phone calls from groups who want to start an art fair - they think this would be a fun way to make some money. Please, folks, this is anything but fun! Lots of hard work, heartbreak and not much profit. Think really hard about it.

On the other hand, I just ran across this event taking place this weekend in Howell, MI. Please take note that this community is in the heart of the 10.6 unemployment rate of metro Detroit.

Popularity of "Project Runway" harnessed for creative art show

"I've been a 'Project Runway' junkie myself," said Mary Rettenmaier, community coordinator for the Women's Resource Center, the agency organizing the event.

Rettenmaier was approached by The Opera House officials with a request to host a different kind of art show. Her goal was to involve as many people as possible, including those not typically on the art scene. Once the idea was pitched, help rolled in from many area businesses, said Rettenmaier. Clothing and accessories were donated, makeup and hair stylists volunteered to dress up the models, and members of the Livingston Arts Council, which owns The Opera House, offered the space.

The event:

• What: Livingston County's Project Runway Repurposed is a community art project initiated by the Women's Resource Center to introduce the art of clothing design and sewing. Products are made from secondhand materials with added trim and accessories.

• Who: Event will feature works from 46 designers from Livingston County and beyond.

• When: Sunday, January 25, at 2 p.m.

• Where: The Opera House, 123 W. Grand River Ave., downtown Howell.

• Admission: $5 per person.

• Details: On the Web at

I love that they are using recycled materials, presenting the "art show" in a new way. Don't you think there are other ways to use the arts to re-energize people and bring them out for fun and profit?

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