The Art Fairs are Coming: Feels like the (Fifty) First Time

Scene from the first Ann Arbor Street Art FairScene from the first Ann Arbor Street Art Fair

In case you hadn't noticed, the Ann Arbor Art Fairs are about to start. This annual event takes over much of downtown Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan campus in late July and covers them with arts, crafts, activities, refreshments, and music. But the art fairs weren't always the juggernaut that they are today; once upon a time even Ann Arbor's biggest event was just a small one.

With the art fairs on my mind, I started combing through the Ann Arbor News files and came up with this: a front page story about the first art fair back in 1960, published 51 years ago today. The article notes that the fair (which was simply an adjunct to the Ann Arbor merchants' Summer Bargain Days) featured work from 100 artists. This year's fairs will feature nearly 1100 artists. We can only hope to draw "large crowds" this year as well, although the last several years have seen over 500,000 attend, so that should fit the bill.

Click read more to see the full article from the Ann Arbor News. To learn more about the beginnings of the art fair and to see photos of the early fairs, take a look at our online exhibit 50 Years of Originality: A History of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair.

S. University Art Fair Pulls Throngs