Today is July 4th. I’m typing this blog post while listening to my daughters building a marble run with their dad – he’s off work today for the holiday, and they’re overjoyed! Yes, I should batch write my posts, but it almost never happens that way…
This time last month, of course, I was starting to prep for the Westside Art Hop, which took place on June 11 and 12. I was at my usual spot on West Liberty, and just as expected, I had an amazing time. I got to spend the weekend hanging out with Ari of Ari Franklin Paints, who was there with her dad and his beautiful block prints, and Corinne of Butter Castle Studios (gorgeous pottery and illustrations). We were graced by AMAZING weather this time around, too – always a plus! Turnout was great, and I made several new connections.
I’ve done several different art/craft fairs over the years. I’ve had booths at outdoor shows, at farmer’s markets, and indoors at schools and other event spaces. Out of all of them, Art Hop is by far my favorite.
What’s so great about it, you ask? Well, even if you DIDN’T ask, you’re getting the answers:
Art Hop is quirky – just like an art fair in Ann Arbor should be!
This is not your typical art fair. Households on the west side of Ann Arbor volunteer to host an artist or group of artists, who are then able to set up on the lawn or in the garage of said household. Anyone who happens to be out for a stroll that weekend has the opportunity to discover dozens of artists and their work. (Since Art Hop is held in both June and October, chances are the weather is great for walking around the neighborhood on the chosen weekends.) The result is a decidedly unstuffy, low-pressure celebration of art throughout the neighborhood!
It’s an impressive volunteer effort
Art Hop is run by a very small and VERY mighty volunteer team. It’s primarily spearheaded by two artists who live in the neighborhood, so it’s 100% designed by artists for artists. As artist participation grows, a few more voices are joining to help with social media and signage for the event. I was even able to do an artist takeover for the official Instagram page as part of our promotional efforts! It’s such a fun community event, and it's exciting to watch as interest expands throughout the area.
The Art Hop vibe is incredibly supportive
I’ve worked craft shows with all kinds of vibes. At some, each additional artist feels like a competitor, not a colleague, which makes for an uncomfortable 6-8 hours as everyone not-so-casually vies for customer attention. I can always tell the customers are turned off by that vibe, too – those have been my lowest-performing shows by far. Thankfully, Art Hop is nothing like that! I’ve only ever felt supported and encouraged by artists and attendees alike. Better yet, with each attendance, I feel more and more like a member of the Ann Arbor art scene. (Look, Ma, I’m a real artist!)
The bottom line is...
This is an event I will definitely keep coming back to every year. Interested in more information either as an artist or attendee? They have a dedicated website that is kept up to date for both parties. The next Art Hop will be held on October 1-2, 2022, so mark your calendars and stay tuned! I’ll see you there.