Ann Arbor Art Center tries new holiday strategy: extended weekend sale
The Ann Arbor Art Center is no exception. The center’s gallery Director Amy Farnum has been busily preparing for its biggest members-only sale that begins Thursday. Farnum says the center holds the sale as a thank-you for its 400 members.
For the past several years, the sale has been a one-day event, but this year the center decided to extend the sale over four days, Thursday, Nov. 15 to Sunday, Nov. 18.
“Traditionally we’ve done our preview night on a Thursday, but members really look forward to this sale all year long, and are upset if they miss it.” Farnum says everything from $13,000 sculptures, to brightly colored paper jewelry will be available beginning Thursday, and that it’s a great kick-off for the holiday season.
Annually, the one-day sale has made up roughly 5 percent of the year’s sales, and the gallery is anticipating an even bigger yield this year. “The Main Street Area Association and all retail indicators are pointing to a better retail year (for holiday spending).”
Though the sale is open only to members, Farnum sees this as the perfect time for non-members to consider an art center membership. Membership packages run from $40 - $1,000. "It's tax deductible, and a great way to support local artists.” Members also receive free two-hour parking validation, and 10 percent discounts on classes at the center.
“We have six to seven jewelry artists, including Libby Hampel, who is from the Ann Arbor area.” According to the artist’s bio, Libby’s work challenges the viewer by expanding the traditional definition of jewelry to include materials one might not ordinarily think of as precious, especially paper. Many of the papers, findings, and beads used are from local shops in Ann Arbor. The sterling ear wires are of Libby’s own design and are handmade by her.
The art center is featuring ceramic pieces by Janelle Songer, including dinnerware that is inspired by the rain forests of Costa Rica.
“All that I found breathtaking about this lush, endangered habitat - the intense saturation of color, the dense moisture-laden air, the wild free flowing shapes - I have translated into the glaze and surface design of this ware," Songer said. "Each piece holds a small glimpse into the raw beauty that is the 'lungs' of our planet and is meant to inspire joy in the moment as well as hope for the future.”
Ann Arbor Art Center members will find another 20 percent off sale at the Main Street Area Association's Midnight Madness Sale on Nov. 30. The center will host a wine tasting event that same night, and non-members can also shop the holiday gallery collection at a 10 percent discount.
Angela Smith is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.