The True Townie’s Take on the Ann Arbor Art Fair

. July 5, 2017.

The Ann Arbor District Library is a major force in the artistic life of this town. All things library, like everything else in downtown, heat up during the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair.  This, the 48th annual Fair, runs Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23. That’s a great improvement from the old days when the Fair closed on Saturday night and debris blew around Sunday.  Never again on a Sunday.  In addition, this is the lucky thirteenth year of the pre-fair Townie Street Party.

A Give Back for Townies

The Townie Party is held on Monday, July 17 from 5-9:30 pm on the Ingalls Mall between Thayer and Fletcher next to the Burton Memorial Tower.  Now the whole week is relaxed, cool, and copacetic. The Townie Street Party is the Fair’s give-back to Ann Arbor for hosting this mind-blowing Art Fair happening.  The party features food and drink from the best local joints, and the best local music. This year the RFD Boys (who’ve been hot since I was in college here, fifty million years ago), and The Ben Daniels Band, a genuinely excellent young combo that is known to have Ben’s old man, Jeff, show up and jam with them, are hitting the stage. And the grooviest part of the Townie Party, the Youth Art Fair juried by the AADL, offers works on sale for cash only from the youthful, aspiring, professional artists manning the booths and handling the moola themselves.

AADL a great stop

The Art Fair is now juried online from within the Downtown Library itself, a reflection of how the fair’s curators know what they’re doing and how this event gets more artistically accomplished and impressive every year. The Alden B. Dow 1957 Downtown Library is more striking with each passing year. It’s worth a duck-in for its own sake— right off the main streets—and there are special exhibits happening throughout the Fair, a blessed, air-conditioned respite, if nothing else.

For example, on Thursday, July 20, 6:30-8:30 pm, you can learn about 3D printing and experience the Pintrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer. No prior experience necessary. No prior experience? I don’t even know what half those words mean. That means I’ll stop in and have the staff explain it to me and my three-year-old granddaughter: Fun! On Friday the 21st, 6:30-8 pm, there is a “Secret Lab” for grade 6 to adult that will explain CNC routers and how they can be used in fabrication and DIY projects. Naturally, a ShopBot Desktop router will be used to demonstrate it all. Naturally. Oy, vey. Finally, on Saturday the 22nd, 2-5:30 pm, is a special “One-String Electric Guitar Laboratory.” I can actually comprehend this Jack White concept, born of West Africa and the American South.  Make your own musical equipment right here at the Library! And enjoy the air conditioning!

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