Wednesday, July 18, 2007
For the Love of Art Fair
As a birth certificate carrying Ann Arbor native, I am required to hate the Ann Arbor Art Fair. It's crowded. It's hot. People are rude and not from Ann Arbor. You can't drive anywhere, you can barely walk anywhere. And the art? Well that's a term best used loosely. Or so says the doctrine.
But I am a traitor. I love the Art Fair. To a greater or lesser extent, all of the above is true. Hundreds of thousands of people crowd into Ann Arbor's downtown for this event -- which really consists of 4 art fairs, sidewalk sales, food courts, and performance stages. It's almost always too hot to breath for at least a couple of days, usually it rains one day, and one day the weather will be perfect. But why bother complaining about it, it's mid-July. In SE Michigan. And yes, people can be very rude, but you'll have that when you shove a few hundred thousand people into a few blocks. But they dress funny, so you can laugh at them and that makes up for the rudeness.
The art. Some of it is very bad, some of it very good. I had a housemate many years ago who is a potter. She made almost the entirety of her year's wages at art fair. When I was living with her, she was making these very intricate little sculptures, but what she sold at the fair were mugs, bowls, and practical stuff which bore little resemblance to what she did for most of the year. When I see what people bring to the fair, I try to remember that artists have to make a living, and they do it by bringing what people want to buy and what they can afford. Thus, you get art-on-a-stick. And you know what? More power to 'em. I couldn't do it, I couldn't knit what people want to buy, and most people couldn't afford to buy what I want to knit.
But what I love about Art Fair is the festival atmosphere it brings to Ann Arbor. It's fun, colorful and cheerful. You can get elephant ears, funnel cake and gyros. And to top it off, sunburn and heat stroke. Four days of inconvenience and chaos. What's not to love?
Besides, there's nothing funnier than a pissed off Ann Arborite.