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Updated 10:00 AM July 24, 2006




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Street Art Fair expands to Ingalls Mall to ease congestion and make event more user-friendly

Former Ann Arbor resident Donna Calvert, left, who now lives in Belgium, checks out digital drawings produced by Brexville, Ohio artist Chuck Wimmer in a booth on South University during the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. “It’s nice to enjoy the atmosphere, everything is so colorful,” Calvert says, of the one of the biggest and most respected outdoor art events in the nation, held July 19-22. At upper right, Simon Nicol, a student at the private Clonlara School, joins classmates on an outing to the Art Fair, as they view Butler, Pa. artist Bill Secunda’s animals made of nails and steel plating. Above right, Center for Creative Studies student Melissa Vaughn arranges pottery at her booth in the Ingalls Mall exhibit space, new for this year’s fair. “The people that come to shop seem real knowledgeable about the art world,” Vaughn says. Nick Miller, spokesman for the Ann Arbor Visitors and Convention Bureau, says the expansion of the Street Art Fair onto Ingalls Mall allows booths to be thinned out to make the fairs more pedestrian friendly. The event features 1,100 artists and a half-million visitors from all over America. All photos this page by Scott Galvin, U-M Photo Services.

Artist Rey Alfonso of Chattanooga, Tenn., lower left, explains to Perry Ann and Jim Owen how his sculptural paintings are produced. His process involves painting layers of pigment onto aircraft grade aluminum—but the pigment is applied only after intense heating. "It's at its brightest just before it is destroyed," he explains. Clockwise from left, Lynn Slozalski sports sunglasses as she travels along rows of booths while Diego Jimenez takes a moment to view a bed of sage, parsley and clover in one of several living kaleidoscopes in Ingalls Mall. Above, fair goers pour though stacks of art works in a booth along South University. Miller says that while the Michigan economy is struggling more than other regions of the country, he anticipates the art fairs will do comparable business to previous years. "It's looking pretty close to last year's numbers, at least for the number of hotel rooms," he says. "We're not completely sold out, but we're close." Miller says the art fairs have an annual impact on the city of $34-44 million.


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