Ann Arbor Street Art Fair

The Ann Arbor Art Fairs are a group of four award-winning, not-for-profit United States art fairs that take place annually in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Over 500,000 visitors attend the fairs each year. Prior to 2016, the fair ran Wednesday through Saturday. Beginning in 2016, the days have shifted and the fair will run Thursday through Sunday.
The four official fairs are, The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original (52 years); the State Street Art Fair (44 years); the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair (42 years); and Ann Arbor's South University Art Fair (12 years).

Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original, was established in 1960 by a collaboration between the Ann Arbor Art Association, the University of Michigan, and two business groups. Originally the Art Association did not believe artist would want their work to be displayed in the street stating, “No good artist will sit in the street.” The Association commissioned a study and eventually agreed to the idea.

The usual fair food is offered such as French fries, cotton candy, funnel fries, caramel apples and fried Twinkies. However certain vendors also offer a variety of specialized cuisine from restaurants across the city.

Over the years, several unofficial, for-profit art fairs have piggybacked onto the Ann Arbor Art Fairs in an attempt to capitalize on its large attendance. One such fair is operated downtown in a privately owned parking lot off Liberty Street, directly adjacent to the State Street Area Art Fair. In 2009, another for-profit art fair, Ann Arbor Art Fair at Briarwood, began in the parking lot of Briarwood Mall, a staging area for shuttle busses that travel to and from downtown Ann Arbor during the Ann Arbor Art Fairs.

The art found at these fairs is generally priced lower than that found at the official Ann Arbor Art Fairs. This may be attributed to the lower booth fees charged by the shows' directors and the relatively lower experience level of the artists who exhibit here.

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