Saturday, July 30, 2016

Tips for (Ann Arbor) Art Fair visitors

What to think about when visiting the art fair in the middle of the summer? What to wear? What to bring? The best day to visit? The best time? Where to begin? And more! There are perhaps as many answers to these questions as there are visitors, but here are my top tips for a successful art fair visit.

View of the Ann Arbor Art Fair
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

1. Dress for the sun! Be prepared for scorching hot days in the sun and dress accordingly. I recommend loose pants or a long dress, a loose top or tee, perhaps with a loose long-sleeved shirt over it. Stay away from synthetic fabrics and go natural, such as linen. A wide-brimmed sun hat and sunglasses complete the look. 

2. Dress for the art! Now is the time to show off that artsy necklace or handscreened top. I find that many visitors indeed do show off their affinity for art!

3. Don't forget sun protection. Even with long clothing and a wide-brimmed sun hat you will get sunburned.

4. Wear comfortable shoes that are not too hot, such as a pair of good walking sandals that don't cause blisters.

5. Bring a water bottle and maybe even a rehydration sports drink for quick replenishment of electrolytes. A snack always comes in handy too.

6. Be prepared for rain too. Pack a small umbrella just in case, as it usually rains during at least once during the four days.

7. Pack the essentials in a light and comfortable bag. You want to carry as little as possible, but still bring what you need for the day. A pocket-size foldable tote bag may come in handy too. Include pen and paper if you want to make notes of booths and artists you like.

8. The best day to visit depends on the weather, but I generally recommend the first day of the fair. At that time, artists and visitors are still in a good mood and not yet tired out by the heat and the long days, and there is the most choice in terms of artwork.

9. If you are trying to hit the coolest times, early mornings and late afternoons or evenings are for you.

10. Look up parking options ahead of time and be aware that university parking structures are only available at select times. If you are lucky, and early, you may get a parking spot in one of the downtown garages. Otherwise, the buses are a good option, with plenty of parking available.

11. Plan your route loosely beforehand and start with what is most important or interesting to you. Each fair has its own profile. I, for example, like the Street (Original) Art Fair for its fine art and its location away from merchants. It occupies my favorite location off the Diag, on the Ingalls mall on the University of Michigan Central Campus, and is surrounded by collegiate architecture, trees, and with the Burton Memorial carillon tower and a Carl Milles fountain sculpture providing a suitable backdrop.

12. Don't plan to see the entire art fair in one day. It is simply too big. For me, about 200 booths is about the limit of what I can actively take in. That amounts to only one of the four fairs or 1/4 of the artists! And don't think you will remember where that booth with that gorgeous painting is located after a few hours of steady art input, but make a note, or better yet, buy it now! Try to not have to double back too many times, as this adds to the mileage.

13. Plan for some time to sit in the shade and rest and drink some water. The Diag between the Street (Original)  Art Fair and the South University Art Fair is ideal for this, lined with low walls to sit on and shaded by trees. The streets, in contrast, lack seating and can be very hot.

14. Know the symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and salt depletion, just in case.

15. And leave your pet at home, it is just too hot! Small children are also more susceptible to heat-related problems.

16. Last but not least, enjoy spending the day with like-minded art aficionados in surroundings rife with high energy and positivity!

And now - see you next year at the Fair!

Översättning. Tips för dig som ska besöka Ann Arbor Art Fair, en konstmässa med över 1000 konstnärer som äger rum under fyra heta julidagar i Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Klä dig både för hetta och regn i svala och täckande kläder (t.ex. i linne), sköna sandaler, solhatt, solglasögon och solskydd. Ta med vattenflaska och litet paraply. Känn till symptomen för solsting, värmeslag och uttorkning. 

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