Get ready to welcome a half million guests to town — the Ann Arbor Art Fairs are nearly here.
The 53rd annual event made up of four independent fairs will draw more than 1,000 artists and is expected to draw the customary 500,000-plus visitors to take in a wide range of art offerings. The fairs return from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. July 18 through July 20 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 21 on streets surrounding the Central Campus, and along Liberty and Main streets downtown.
The four official fairs are the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the State Street Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair and Ann Arbor’s South University Art Fair. Traditionally, several university faculty and staff members serve on jury panels that vote on admittance into the fairs and assign awards for outstanding pieces. Children’s activities and live music also are presented by fair groups.
To open art fair week, the Townie Street Party returns for an eighth year from 5-9:30 p.m. July 16 with food, a Kids’ Art Fair and music. Performers are Steppin’ In It, Orpheum Bell and Ryan Racine & Gas for Less. The party is on East Washington Street between Thayer and Fletcher and on Ingalls Mall. U-M is an event co-sponsor.
The 6th Annual School of Art & Design Alumni Exhibition, which opened July 2, continues through the fair at Slusser Gallery in the Art & Architecture Building, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd., North Campus, and at Work • Ann Arbor, 306 S. State. There will be an exhibition reception from 6-8 p.m. July 20 at Slusser Gallery.
The exhibition features a broad range of creative work by A&D graduates. The 2012 theme is Size Matters: 9X9X9. A&D alumni have been asked to provide their individual interpretations of the theme in any medium. The exhibition includes awards, an online gallery of work and a printed show catalogue.
Faculty, staff and student volunteers with U-M’s Bioartography project return to Booth 155 on East University, to sell artistic microscopic tissue photography to fund projects of graduate students and fellows associated with The Center for Organogenesis, in the Medical School. The center seeks to unite research to understand the basic mechanisms by which organs and tissues are formed and maintained, to create long-lasting artificial organs, stem cell therapies or organ transplantation systems.
Adjacent to the South University Art Fair, the School of Social Work from noon-5 p.m. July 21 presents ENGAGE. LIBERATE. HEAL. Social Justice and the Arts. This event focuses on how art can be used as a therapeutic tool and mechanism to promote social justice and/or change. Works of art, performances and live poetry will be presented, along with interactive art events. For more information, go to www.sswartfair.wordpress.com.
Jeff Kopmanis, application programmer senior at the Center for Space Environment Modeling, College of Engineering, on his job: “I make the Web front-ends (that) make it possible for ordinary people to run these very sophisticated tools.”