Many participating artists and craftspeople report making good money at the annual Ann Arbor Art Fairs, which start tomorrow July 21 and run until July 24. As an Ann Arbor native, an art fair fan, and a locally-based journalist, I've gotten plenty of chances to ask art fair artists; "So, how are sales going?" Although some artists do better than others (and sales tend to ebb and flow with the health of the economy), I've heard it time and time again that some artists make more money at Ann Arbor's fairs than they do anywhere else.
The Detroit News recently reported feedback from a few participating artists, including Rhode Island glass artist Christopher Belleau, who says that out of the 17 fairs he is doing this year, "Ann Arbor is my best show....I make twice in Ann Arbor what I do at East Coast shows," according to the report. I recently interviewed some of Ann Arbor's local art fair artists for an AnnArbor.com article, including painter Scott Hartley, who has "built up a customer base over the years," and finds it to be a valuable opportunity to connect with collectors.
However, artists aren't the only ones who report making bank at the fairs. The nationally-revered fairs also have a substantial economic impact on the community at large. The approximately half million people who attend the four city-wide Ann Arbor Art Fairs also spend their money at downtown shops, restaurants, and hotels. AnnArbor.com ran an article last month, which reported, "As Art Fairs approach, Ann Arbor merchants brace for crowds, big windfalls." The article mentions a 2008 survey, which "showed expenditures of $49 million in shopping, $25 million in dining, and $5 million in lodging," according to the report.
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info