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The Ann Arbor Mystique
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July 16 - 19, 2003
All information on this page, including postmark dates were from 2002
Always Wednesday through Saturday
Set up on Tuesday

The Ann Arbor mystique. Considered to be the best art show in the country. If you're just starting out in the art show business, numbers like $10,000 and up can make your eyes roll in disbelief. And that's the low end for the more experienced exhibitors where it's not unheard of to make upwards of $10,000 a day over the four days.
The art fair always runs from Wednesday through Saturday. Sunday is now the scheduled day for the annual NAIA and Michigan Guild meetings, though most people head for home exhausted.
I realize that most of this information is not going to be applicable for the 2002 art show season as you are probably reading it after the deadlines listed below. Look at it as a reference for future consideration. I do recommend contacting the respective organizations and get on their mailing list for next years application. If you were to ask me which show to apply to, my answer would be any of the any of the four, with the King's Chosen being my fifth choice by far.
Here's the scoop. It's not one art show, it's now five shows that run simultaneously. Four major shows and a satellite (would be) major show. And that doesn't include the countless number of squatters lining the streets, anywhere they can rent a few square feet of retail space. You can apply to any or all of the five shows, but if accepted you can only exhibit at one as per mutual agreement among the shows.
Squatter retail space goes for approximately $100 per square foot. That would mean that a 10x10 foot space (to hold a standard canopy) would cost $1000. And in some cases, that space could be located behind a four foot fence. As a matter of fact, for two years I rented space behind a fence in the early 1980's. When people ask me about where to recommend renting space, I always suggest visiting the show and walking around to see where people are renting. Speak to the landlords and try to make arrangement for the following year.

King's Chosen Art Fair
315 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

Better than looking for retail space on the street is the Kings Chosen Art Fair. Run by the owners of Charisma, a haircut salon on East Liberty Street, they lease an adjoining parking lot and have room for approximately 110 exhibit booths. Very loosely juried, you are more likely to get a space because of who recommends you. The best spaces are visible from the street, as Liberty is a major street that connects two of the other shows. There are only general categories listed on the application and as such, no limitation on photography or digital. The only requirement is that the work should resemble the jury slides. A lot of the booth fee money is given to charity which means that there might not be a refund on cancellation. Since it's on private property and not recognized as a legitimate show, Monday is the recommended set up day.
Application Postmark Feb 1
Jury Notification April 1
Booth Fees due by May 31
Jury Fee $25 + Deposit
Booth Fees start at $1050
4 slides of individual work plus a display slide are required

The Michigan Guild of Artists and Artisans
118 North Fourth Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

Because it's been a grandfathered show, there is probably a five to seven year wait to become an exhibiting member. There is now a movement going on to jury out the bottom of the barrel so the wait might not be nearly as long. Resubmission of jury slides takes place every three years and the standards committee comes around during the show and compares your slides to the work you have hanging. No reproductions are allowed and photographers are required to print their own work. They just passed a rule allowing digitally produced art but haven't done anything about it because they are trying to make the regulations fair for every member in every medium, including potters, leather workers, jewelers, etc. Space size ranges from 10x6, 10x8, 10x10, and 10x17 (depending on location) and are assigned by lottery. The locations are spread out over three major Ann Arbor streets in two locations. Remember, it's a guild, and no one exhibitor should have an unfair advantage over another exhibitor.

Art Fair Village
South University Area Association
PO Box 4525
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106

Church Street adjacent to South University, where the most prestigious Ann Arbor Street Art Fair is located. Because of a dispute over money, the original show will be moving to a new location in 2003 and the Art Fair Village will be moving onto South University. It's probably now (or going to be when it moves) one of the hardest of the Ann Arbor shows to get accepted into.
Photographers shall make prints from their original negatives, processed by themselves. All photographs shall be signed and numbered by the artist in a limited edition, not to exceed 250.
Digital Art:
Is listed on the application as a category but no definition is given.
Application Postmark Feb 25
Jury Notification April 18
Jury Fee $20
Booth Fees start at $700
3 slides of individual work plus a display slide are required

State Street Area Art Fair
PO Box 7469
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107

Located between the two Michigan Guild locations, it's another major art show. It seems to have been the easiest of the three original art shows to be accepted into and the easiest to stay in. In 2001 they featured digital artist Stephen Sabastian.
Photographers shall make prints from their original negatives, processed by themselves. All photographs shall be signed and numbered by the artist in a limited edition, not to exceed 250.
Digital Art:
Computer Art should be signed and numbered on archival quality materials in editions not to exceed 250.
Application Postmark Feb 22
Jury Notification April
Jury Fee $25
Booth Fees start at $600
3 slides of individual work plus a display slide are required

Ann Arbor Street Art Fair
PO Box 1352
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106

The most prestigious of the Ann Arbor Art Shows. Categories are juried every four years but individuals are still juried yearly. Moving from it's longstanding location in 2003 but still will be located within walking distance of the other shows.
Digital Art:

Includes any original work in which the original image, or the manipulation of other source material, was executed by the artist using the computer. Work must be in editions, signed and numbered, on archival paper.
Black and white original negatives and prints must be developed by the artist. Color negatives must be developed under the artist's direct supervision, and prints made from the original negatives must be processed by the artist. Photographers should limit themselves to showing images in no more than three sizes.
Absolutely no reproductions are allowed.
Application Postmark Feb 8
Jury Notification Early April
Jury Fee $25
Booth Fees start at $550
5 slides of individual work are required

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Chris Maher
PO Box 5, Lambertville, MI, 48144

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PO Box 265, Russellton,  PA  15076

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