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Posted on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair aiming to be more 'fairgoer friendly'

By Jennifer Eberbach


Crowds at last year's Ann Arbor Art Fair. file photo

The four summer art fairs that constitute The Ann Arbor Art Fair are collaborating to make the downtown-wide event more “fairgoer friendly,” directors said during a press preview this week. Improved transportation options, new social-media websites, and the fair’s iPhone app will help people to better navigate and get the latest information on what is happening.

Visitors started traveling around the fair’s massive footprint in the new A2 Art Trolley last year. The trolley travels around the edge of the fair’s periphery and all-day tickets are only a buck.

In addition to AATA “Art Fair Park and Ride Shuttles” at Briarwood Mall and Pioneer High School, where people park and travel to and from the fair, a new “Trinity Westside Art Fair Park and Ride Shuttle” added at Maple Village (155 N. Maple Road at the intersection of Jackson Road) will make it easier for people living on that side of town to park and ride to the fair.

There is a new Facebook page and Twitter page for The Ann Arbor Art Fair that will keep people posted on the latest happenings with “real time” updates—from traffic, parking, and weather to the latest on what artists are doing and news about entertainment offerings. Art Fair staff promise to keep the sites fresh and upload new things everyday. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions on the sites, which will be answered in a timely manner, and share their favorite Art Fair stories and finds with others.

Fairgoers can also download an updated Art Fair iPhone app, which was first introduced last year. Included in the application, this year’s 1,100 exhibiting artists will be listed with a thumbnail of their work and information about where to find them.

Improvements to transportation and new social media are happening alongside the fair’s new “cohesive branding” strategy. In the past, the four concurrent art fairs—Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor State Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, and the Ann Arbor South University Art Fair—have used their own logos and done their own marketing. Now, increased collaboration and a new “The Ann Arbor Art Fair“ logo that represents all four fairs is bringing everything under one umbrella. The best place to start finding out about all four fairs is on the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Art Fair website.

“We recognize that most visitors have always thought of us as one event—and it was logical from a marketing standpoint to join together—to increase awareness of all the wonderful artists and activities at the fair,” according to Maggie Ladd, the director of the South University Art Fair.

The 52nd annual Ann Arbor Art Fair happens July 20 through July 23, 2011 all over downtown. Watch for full coverage before and during the event.



Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

After going to Art Fairs for so many years, they're getting a little boring, to be honest. You see pretty much the same artists year after year, and now the music stages are placed way out of the way, except for Mr. B. I used to look forward to going and hanging out and even buying something from time to time, but now, I'm pretty ambivalent about them.


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

More friendly for fairgoers. #1 more public water access. #2 more interactive evening street entertainment with Saturday evening a wrap party with an extension of the Saturday hours until 9pm.


Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 6:20 a.m.

My parents brought me to art far many times when I was a kid. The people and music was all it took! At age thirteen I discovered the Hash Bash and what it meant to be cool. All these years and Ann Arbor is still the coolest place, give or take some of the new restrictions on personal liberty .


Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

I heard that they have done away with the Imagination Stations, which is really disappointing. I volunteered two summers at the one in front of the post office, and really enjoyed making art with the kids. It was easy to see that that was the bright point of the Art Fair for many of the younger attendees.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:55 p.m.

hopefully this "friendliness" will still be in effect in 2015....I only go to the art fair(s) in years that end in 5's or 9's.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:24 p.m.


sun runner

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

Let us now enjoy the hilarity of Art Fair Bingo. So true, so true. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

Talking about useful apps... someone should build an app that highlights and promotes our struggling locally-owned businesses to all those (2/3 out-of-town) visitors of Art Fair. What's that? ...someone is already doing that? Very cool - i see that the 'buy local' advocates over at <a href=""></a> are on it.

Jojo B

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 8:47 p.m.

To all of you who do not have children... perhaps you might learn something about parenting when you actually become parents. There is nothing wrong with taking your kids out; I've taken my daughter to art fair since she was six months old. We had a good time as long as we paid attention to her needs, made sure she wasn't overheating in direct sun, etc. And no, I don't have a double-wide stroller. Parents don't always have the opportunity to just &quot;leave the kids at home&quot;; sorry, Lindsay, you can't just stuff your kid in the closet when you want to go out drinking with your friends! :) Now, let's see some more ignorant comments about who should be allowed to go to the art fair... some people want to ban young kids, let's ban pets! How can a dog enjoy walking around an art fair? Let's ban people in wheelchairs; artfair can't be much fun for them either. Let's ban really fat people because they walk too slowly. Let's ban smokers. Let's ban drunk people. Let's ban hippies with dreadlocks who insist on bringing their out of tune guitars with them, torturing the rest of us with their &quot;music.&quot; Let's ban the homeless people who make yuppies feel awkward when they ask for money. Heck let's all just STAY AT HOME. With no crowds to fight with, none of us will have anything to complain about.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 2:27 a.m.

Oh, and sanctimoniousness. Can people leave that at home, too? I'm kind of in favor of people exposing their young children to Art Fair - it's outside, you have the ability to quickly make changes if the child is unhappy. They may not understand everything they see, but their little minds are taking in all the new sights. I do object to double-wide strollers used as weapons - no, we can't walk any faster if we're being jabbed in the calves. Don't much see the point of bringing the pets - it's a hot week, and they're doubly hot because their little feet can't leave that hot asphalt. Nothing against really fat people as long as they're not rubbing up against me. Drunk people may enjoy a new perspective on art. I'm fine with it as long as they can hold their liquor. Some can, some can't. Smokers? I think they should keep their drug fixes to themselves. Far too enclosed a space. Hippies with guitars? We're there to see the exhibits, not them. Easily avoided, though. Homeless people? Fine, but ban the people who give them money rather than giving to charity. Lindsay? She's a bit snarky, but cute.

Jojo B

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

@Dos... Children of all ages benefit from experience and it is my belief that any activity other than sitting in front of the TV doing nothing provides stimulus that helps a child learn to interact with the world, not be afraid of it, and deal with situations that involve other people. Everything from stroller rides in the park, going to the zoo, the Hands-On Museum, the A2 Summer Festival, going out to eat, and yes, even Art Fair can be useful and fun, even though there are always chances for bad moments (fits, diarrhea, etc). (And oddly enough, the bad moments help you as a parent grow and become more able to deal with situations.) You as a non-parent may think it better to just keep a child jailed up at home watching TV and sleeping for the first two years of their lives, but that's not what I believe. You may also have a cliche image of Art Fair... All you are picturing is a stroller and a crying baby stuck in a massive miserable crowd; the child ignored by parents and getting sunburned. But it can actually be fun to stroll around; there are also kids areas, free live music, the Bell Tower fountain to look at. If you ever become a parent, you will learn that the first 1-2 years of parenthood are extremely difficult, with constant work and little break or sleep. Any activity that allows you to leave the house and have some pleasant moments with your family and some sort of outside stimulus for your baby is extremely welcome. My daughter is now four and she loves going to events like this. My wife and I always try to expose our daughter to fun events as well as interacting with and paying attention to the needs of our daughter when we are at the events. If you think there is anything wrong with that, I honestly don't care because I know that we are doing the right thing and the FUN thing for our daughter and our family as a whole.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

I did not say BIG butts, I said butts and not being a parent tell me how a 6 month old is benefiting from art fair?

Jojo B

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

@Linsday: Actually, my apologies, I'm replying to your sarcasm by whipping up some of my own. But I should know better to add more smiley faces so I don't come off as a bitter old man. (But truth be told, I AM a bitter old man!) :) In all seriousness, taking kids out to events like this (assuming that you are taking care of their needs and not just ignoring them and letting them burn in the sun) is a good experience; much better than staying at home or taking them to Chucky Cheese or a performance of the nutcracker. Lots of things to look at and take in and staring at big butts (dos's comment) can actually be useful, training them at an early age the dangers of high fat/high carb diets and may help give them the fear they need to stay fit in their tween years.

lindsay erin

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 9:06 p.m.

I wasn't aware that stuffing your kids in the closet was so frowned upon in this society? Just kidding. I'm sorry I came off as a child hater. Might I so kindly mention again that my comments are highly sarcastic but apparently most people do not share my sense of humor. Poo. Anyways, by all means bring your children to the Art Fair. In fact, you can bring 22 children to the Art Fair. Or 90, for that matter. It sounds like you are one of the individuals who actually makes the Art Fair a learning experience for your child rather than getting occupied by a neat photograph and losing track momentarily--this is a wonderful thing but quite unfortunately, not every parent I've met in my day is as good as you are about keeping your kiddo comfortable and happy at the Art Fair...ya know? Btw, banning drunk people sounds like a great idea.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

More seating areas - more water - better park and ride access. And less arrogant nose-in-the-sky people.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

Lindsay is correct, tell me how dragging young children out in the hot weather in strollers watching everyones butts any fun?

Jojo B

Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 3:25 p.m.

@Patti -- You're taking my example one step too far and making it ridiculous. My family and my child have had good times at art fair from when my daughter was six months old to now when she's 4. It's a festival for crying out loud. Many other kids enjoy this and there are even areas specifically intended for kids. I'm not just hauling my kid around letting them burn in the sun while I ignore them as you are picturing. And no, I'm not going to take my child to the bar; I don't even drink. Are you a parent yourself? You are free to keep your kids locked up from such horrible things. When my daughter tells me how she wants to walk around art fair this year to see all the people and eat an elephant ear, I know this is the horrible result of all of the trauma she suffered when she was 6mo.

Patti Smith

Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 12:05 a.m.

More talk of &quot;experiences&quot;! So the parents who bring their kids into bars...are they &quot;experiencing&quot; that, too? Common sense don't need to &quot;experience&quot; everything.

lindsay erin

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.

Ummmm... Barney rules? : )

Jojo B

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

Some parents like myself actually think it's good for kids to experience things. I took my six-month old daughter to art fair, made her look at butts, let her play around in the diag, made sure she drank enough and was not overheating, and we had a great time. I take my daughter to many other outdoor places as well. Now Dos and Lindsay, I'm sorry that I'm not following your parenting advice; I know it would be better to just sit my kid in front of the TV and let them watch Barney all day because going outside is dangerous and miserable. :)

lindsay erin

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 8:08 p.m.

They should put all the kid-related 'stuff' in one corner of the art fair, perhaps? : ) Mwahaha *Grins and looks around mischievously*

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

Do away with severe weather that week, and you'll be on to something. I'm having a hard time remembering when an Art Fair visit wasn't accompanied by tornado sirens. In the meantime, yes, please leave the big strollers, dogs, cigarettes and old-lady perfume at home.

Christopher LeClair

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

will they be opening up traffic on fifth avenue? the cars will drive down from huron and not be able to turn left or right b/c now fifth is closed at liberty.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

They could start by banning double-wide strollers.

Jojo B

Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 3:29 p.m.

&quot;And wondering...why do parents immediately get defensive and think you want everything to be &quot;child free&quot; when all you do is ask for a little common sense?&quot; Because so many people who are not parents come off as thinking they know it all and bury their comments in smirky sarcasm. Thank you for telling parents that they need common sense; that's very useful to me.

Patti Smith

Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

Totally agree with Lindsay. And wondering...why do parents immediately get defensive and think you want everything to be &quot;child free&quot; when all you do is ask for a little common sense? That's great to expose your kids to things but at some point, your &quot;exposure&quot; becomes everyone else's &quot;annoyance&quot;, including the kid who can't possibly be thrilled to be in 100 heat (at least I wouldn't have been) I'm sure there is a balance. And seriously, dogs to the art fairs?! My dog is super smart but even he can't appreciate the art on a stick....


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

I have two small children and believe it is important to expose them to experiences outside the home regardless of how dense the crowd is or how hot it is. I loathe those double-wide strollers and made the decision to find one that is back-to-back, not side-by-side, and it is considerably less obnoxious. Regardless, before you judge others for the choices they make related to their children, take responsibility for one yourself for a week or two and see how it changes your thinking.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

Might I add, dogs don't care for art. No matter how smart you think your dog is, he or she would rather be HOME, not at the art fair. My dog is my child, but I wouldn't dream of taking her to the's not a good place to's hot (think about how those paws feel on the sidewalk!), too crowded for such short beings (I get stepped on!), and they don't have pockets, so, no money to spend!

lindsay erin

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Lol @jhammer--perhaps you didn't catch onto the sarcasm in my initial post? I didn't say anything about 'kid-free.' I suggested leaving small children and infants at home when you're going somewhere like the art fair where it's 90+ degrees, full of hooligans (with &quot;3-foot spikey garden decorations&quot; as mentioned above), and extremely crowded!


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

I thought you were referring to strolling people that are twice as wide as everyone else.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

I know. We should stay at home and leave you childfree people alone to enjoy the world as it was meant to be - kid free. (BTW, I agree to no double strollers. But Lindsay W, I think you went a bit far.)

lindsay erin

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

THANK YOU. Someone enlighten me as to why parents find it a good idea to bring large strollers and infants/young children into pedestrian-dense situations? (Malls, fairs, anywhere that I could potentially be found at prior to my morning coffee, etc.)


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

Making the Fair more Fair goer friendly simply requires having more friendly Fair goers. I have seen the most clueless, rude, ridiculous people there - usually never looking straight ahead and generally carrying some form of 3-foot spikey garden decoration in one hand and some form of food on a stick in the other. If they created an app to help avoid those folks, I'd download ASAP.