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Updated 3:00 PM August 7, 2008




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Crowds and colors merge at Art Fairs

In the midst of a sun-drenched celebration of art where around every corner something fresh dazzles the eye, Zach Jacobson-Weaver is thinking about a roll of duct tape.
Artist Dana Shavin, right, of Chattanooga, Tenn., wraps up a colorful canine painting purchased by Meg Csiszar of Carmel, Ind. (Photo by Lin Jones, U-M Photo Services)
Above, Ciera Colosimo, 6, of Shelby Township, wearing sunglasses to cope with the mid-day sun, looks up briefly from yellow foam blocks she was using at a children's play station on Ingalls Mall. She was accompanied by her mom Nancy and brother Nathan, 7.

"This is our sort of downtown emergency supply stop," Weaver says of the School of Art & Design Work Gallery on State Street, as he steps off a black bike set against a parking meter.

The A&D materials fabrication coordinator has just pedaled through the 90-degree noon heat on the second day of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs from his post at the New Artists Tent on Ingalls Mall.

"It's convenient. This way we don't have to do so many bike trips to North Campus," he explains.

Across the Diag on South University, Peter Dempsey and Michael Hortsch, both associate professors who work with the Center for Organogenesis, are taking their turns volunteering to oversee the Bioartography booth.

"This is a stomach?" Meg Crowley of Ann Arbor asks Hortsch, as she stands before one of several mounted photos of microscopic tissue photography art. "The colors are fantastic," she adds.

Just a few booths west, artist Eric Phagan of Madison, Ind., says the Art Fairs are special because they have quality art. "And it's large," he adds.

Meg Csiszar of Carmel, Ind., hands her Visa card to acrylic artist Dana Shavin of Chattanooga, Tenn., to buy a $350 painting of a white dog set against a rich yellow background set off by a gold colored frame. "I just think he needs a home," Csiszar says.

"My paintings are contemporary with a folk-art flavor," Shavin says. Most of her other paintings also feature white dogs, set against yellow and tulip red.

At a children's activity station at Ingalls Mall, Nancy Colosimo of Shelby Township relaxes in a chair and watches son Nathan, 7, and daughter Ciera, 6. Ciera, who wears a straw bucket hat and pink sunglasses, reaches into a bowl of yellow foam blocks while kneeling on a picnic table seat.

The family stopped at the station to take a break from wandering through the busy art fair walkways.

"They spin every wheel there is to spin to win their free prizes," Colosimo says of the give-away booths. "They've been happily shopping with me."

Blown glass artist Kit Karbler of Denver Colorado, a 22-year Art Fairs participant, hugs Harriet Forbes of Shelby Township, his former art instructor, as she comes upon his booth.

"This art fair is the biggest one; the whole city becomes an art fair," Karbler says. "I keep looking for young people with originality and a fresh approach; I have hope."
Above left, an Art Fairs fan peruses a booth along South University. Kate Hibbard, left, of New York City and Jess Anand of Ann Arbor examine a kinetic sculpture at Maynard and William Streets. (Photos by Todd McKinney) Below, wooden dolls on display at the art fair.(Photos by Lin Jones, U-M Photo Services)

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