1. Get your bearings.
The fair is super fun, but it's huge. About 500,000 people visit in total. Best to get yourself situated.
The following things will help you figure out where you are, where you want to go, and what you want to see.
- Grab yourself an Art Fair Guide, which has tons of info about the art, artists and activities.
- Download just the Art Fair Map. From this link, you can download the map.
- And here's the general Ann Arbor Visitor's Guide.
2. Bring umbrellas but skip the ice packs this year.
Art Fair Week is usually the hottest of the year—or feels like it—but for the second year in a row, the prediction is stunningly reasonable! Two years ago we had " torrid heat." This year we'll have reasonable low-80s temps, but two days of showers if the forecast is right.
3. Take a bus or shuttle into the fair.
Hey, it's Ann Arbor. There's always an "alt." Instead of your car, take the bus or a shuttle into the fair. They're better for you, the city, the traffic, and the environment. They're cheaper, too. Here's a rundown of many alternatives to driving your car into town. But if you decide to do it anyway, here's an interactive parking map.
The absolute best way for out-of-towners to do Art Fair is to befriend Ann Arborites who live within walking distance of the fair and beg them—or pay them—to let you park at their house.
To get around the fair itself—literally around the perimeter—take an air-conditioned ride on the Art Go Round shuttle. It's free and shows up every 15 minutes. Look for these icons on the Art Fair map.
4. The best day and time to visit the Art Fair is...
If you're a gung-ho art-buyer, the best day is traditionally opening day, Thursday. That's when the serious collectors / buyers hit the booths. And looks like it's the best-weather day, too: partly cloudy with a high of 80 degrees.
|There's lots of art in downtown's alleyways, too. Worth a gander.|
For crowd-avoiders, our advice is just a guess. The traditionally slower "second evening" of the fair is Friday, not a day known for its quiet. So we're predicting that Sunday noon, the time the fair opens that day, may be the best option.
For the record, here are the fair's times:
- Thursday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Sunday: Noon – 6 p.m.
5. Preview each of the four fairs.
The AAAF is really four separate fairs, each with its own personality (and website):
- Meet the artists and see their booth numbers.
- Visit its Art Activity Zone. Six art projects for kids and grownups at Ingalls Mall.
- See an Art Demo. Several every day.
- Pick your fave musical group performing at Ingalls Mall.
- Watch this year's street artist, Tess Mahofer
- Enjoy the street performers.
- Here's its street map
This fair's 375 artists are listed individually with a summary of their art.
- Get the list of performers for the AASAF Stage .
- Demos, featured artist and activities also are listed on the homepage.
Artists' links on the site are sneak peeks of their work. Read about this year's featured artist, William Kwamenah-Poh
- Meet the artists and get a taste of their styles.
6. Check out the new and old this year.
- Read about the new booth-labeling "wayfinding" to get around the Art Fairs.
- Here's a rundown of stories about the Art Fairs.
- For doing the fairs with kids, check out AnnArborFamily.com's 5 Awesome Reasons to Check Out the 2018 Ann Arbor Fair
- Check out this retrospective of 1970s art fairs below.
Before downtown turns into an artists' bazaar for the 2017 Ann Arbor Art Fair July 20-23, ...
7. Of course we have a real estate angle, too.
For home sellers, the Art Fair is the perfect place to buy art to beautify not just your life, but your home as well. From this story How to Choose Wall Art when Selling a Home is this suggestion among many others:
|Try abstract art. Swirling shapes, splats or colors and lines take form into whatever you see when it comes to abstract art. Since there is no right or wrong answer to this form of art, it’s open to interpretation and doesn't distract the buyer during a showing. Instead, abstract art is inoffensive and the perfect fit to display when selling a home.|