The 61st annual gathering of artists and visitors from across the country will not happen this year, but directors are hopeful it will return in 2021.
The Ann Arbor Art Fair, originally scheduled to take place from July 16-19, has been cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the first time the event has been cancelled in over 60 years.
“This was an extremely difficult decision, as we know how deeply this impacts the participating artists, local businesses and the broader Ann Arbor community. However, the Covid-19 virus has changed the world as we know it and the safety of our visitors, artists, and area residents is the top priority,” a press release from the Art Fair directors says.
Art Fair, which is actually made up of four separate street fairs that function as one big event, brings about a thousand artists and 400,000 visitors to Ann Arbor each year, over half of which are from outside Washtenaw County. The event usually generates $16,000 for the local economy.
Maureen Riley, director of Ann Arbor Art Fair-The Original, told WEMU Thursday morning that Art Fair directors worked with city administrators, as well as people at the fire and police departments, to brainstorm ways to move forward with the event. But in the end, there didn’t seem to be a way to hold the event while maintaining the health and safety of artists and visitors.
In lieu of the in-person event, each of the four Ann Arbor Art Fairs will be promoting their artists online, Riley told WEMU. She encourages people to buy work from the artists if they have the means to do so.
“Artists now more than ever need the support of their collectors, because there’s no income for them at this point aside from what people are buying online,” she said.
Despite having to cancel this year, Riley said directors plan to start working on the 2021 fair immediately and hope it will be their “most fabulous year ever.”
Note: Jewish News parent company Renaissance Media produces the annual print guide to the Ann Arbor Art Fair.