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Meet Local Artists at Ann Arbor's Sunday Artisan Market

By Paul Rowe

In the heart of the Kerrytown shopping district in downtown Ann Arbor, the Sunday Artisan Market springs up each Sunday, April through Christmas. Art lovers come down to Detroit Street to check in with their favorite artists and meet some new ones, to participate in special events, to enjoy free live entertainment, and to take part in the celebration of Ann Arbor's esteemed cultural life.

The Market is filled with an array of artwork and handmade products, all crafted by over sixty passionate local professionals. You can find everything from oils on canvas to wire jewelry, from hand-knit toys to handmade soap. The colors and sounds give off an intoxicating synesthesia - drawing crowds who come not only for the art, but for the overall experience.

Glasswork by Mary Green Kerr

"In previous years there have consistently been folks singing and playing guitars, saxophones, violins, and fiddles," says marketing chairperson Dan Getz, who is himself a potter and vendor at the market. "We are best known for our Fairy Day event in August with storytelling and face painting for kids - a fun event where everyone dresses up." And it's not only the sights and sounds, but also the scents and tastes of the Market that lure in Ann Arbor residents.

Storytelling on Fairy Day

"We have had food oriented events in the past as well, which are fun. I remember people sharing bacon flavored ice cream with me one day, and to my surprise, it was amazing," says Getz. "You can always count on something different at the market. Not only are all the regular vendors always making new art, but there are always new and different vendors and artists - so it's never the same exact market despite its familiar community feel." This coming year, the Sunday Artisan Market plans to expand its entertainment in the form of artist demonstrations.

Potter Julie Corey

Getz emphasizes that people come to the Market for the sense of community among artists and their supporters. Not only are there are excellent products to investigate here, but upstanding people to get to know.

"When I first came here, I felt welcomed by the other vendors in a personal way that I don't always feel at other art fairs or markets that I attend. I've made friends here and I think that is what our customers sense about the market," says Getz. "This summer, I looked forward to Sundays so I could laugh and talk with some new friends I made and talk and be friendly with those people interested in my work."

Setting up the Hospitality Table

Half the reason people attend the Sunday Artisan Market is to appreciate the work of local artisans and, perhaps, to select and purchase handcrafted pieces to take home. The other half is deeper - and speaks to the integrity of the Ann Arbor community. People come to the Market to talk. Ann Arbor art vendors love to receive feedback and discuss their work hands-on with fellow art lovers. And whether it's Fairy Day or not, that sense of community is its own kind of magic.

Fairies at the Sunday Artisan Market

The Sunday Artisan Market is located at 315 Detroit Street in Ann Arbor and is open April 3rd through December 18th in 2016.

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About The Author

Paul Rowe is a graduate instructor of writing and master's student of Literature at...

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