This year’s Orchard Lake Fine Art Show had been scheduled for July 25-26 in West Bloomfield Township.
Married couple jewelry designers Joan Michlin and Skip Ennis are among some 100 disappointed artists who had planned to exhibit their latest works at this year’s Orchard Lake Fine Art Show, which had been scheduled July 25-26 along Powers and Daly roads in West Bloomfield Township.
It would have been the 18th year for the show, which has attracted thousands of patrons to view and buy diverse projects that reach from paintings to glass sculptures, but confusion in carrying out Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders led to its cancellation, announced June 16.
“This is one of the worst emails I have to send,” show producer Patty Narozny wrote last week to participants, including food vendors and entertainers, to explain the cancellation and outline the financial circumstances that will result. “With deep regret, the permit got pulled.”
The cancellation came after the Oakland County Health Division learned of the fair and called attention to Executive Order 2020-110, which limits outdoor gatherings to 100 people.
“The permit for the fair was granted before the executive order was issued,” said Steven Kaplan, township supervisor. “Permits require that holders are responsible for following state law, and so we were forced to revoke the permit. As much as we wanted the event, we could not have it.”
Narozny, whose Hot Works organization runs outdoor fairs in Florida that were also canceled because of the pandemic, believes she got faulty advice from West Bloomfield Township and Oakland County in referring to the executive order. Although Narozny tried to remap the event into sections, that approach did not get approval.
“I feel we were discriminated against with this outdoor show when the Detroit Zoo, flea markets, big box stores and malls are open,” Narozny said. “We had many safety measures in place, and I felt comfortable about protecting the vulnerable.
“As we were planning the event, with executive orders provided to me, we spoke with representatives from Oakland County and West Bloomfield Township. The cancellation is a big hit on my small business and the small businesses of the artists. I’ve had to refund $45,000.”
To help her artists, Narozny has posted their websites on her website (hotworks.org) so that potential customers can do online shopping. She also will be awarding prizes in the Bath Planet Youth Art Competition.
“Patty did her utmost to make the show happen,” said Michlin, who grew up in Michigan, was active in Congregation Shaarey Zedek and now lives in Sarasota. “The world is a bit strange right now, and it’s a bit jarring.”
As Narozny takes care of closing out the event, she is trying to think ahead to next year. She hopes to bring happy times through the local show scheduled July 23-24, 2021.