Last Weekend’s Art Fair (Weather) Report

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Birmingham art fair in MichiganBeing in the Detroit area last weekend I could not resist attending the Spring Birmingham Art Fair. As I walked from the parking garage I met many people leaving carrying packages, a truly happy sight!

It was great to see many old friends:

Michael Kifer
Annette Morrin (I saw you Annette, but you were busy with a customer)
Ed and Carole Schmidt
Barbara Krupp
Carlye Crisler
John Booth
Bonnie Blandford
Luciano
Allan Teger
Linda Chamberlain
Mike Barnes
and many, many more.

It was also a pleasure to meet face-to-face ‘online friends’ Jim Parker and Kevin Kaye. I went late on Saturday, it was a lovely day and I heard that there were good crowds most of the day with some happy artists. However, when I went back on Sunday in the pouring rain it was sad to see the show had been called because of the weather. The artists, however, were stoically packing up and heading home.

In case you are interested the reports on the event ran the gamut from “great sales”, “I love Birmingham” to “what was I thinking?” In May, after the winter layoff, artists are so eager to show their work and get started on the season. It is really disappointing when the weather doesn’t cooperate. This event has seen a fair share of beautiful days as well as an infamous year when there was snow.

Disaster at St. Louis Art Fair:
I also have a report on the Laumeier Sculpture Park Art Fair in St. Louis, MO, last weekend from artist Dolan Geiman.

Dolan and his partner, Ali Walsh, suffered great losses from a storm that came through during the night. They arrived at the park on Sunday morning to find their tent with its feet up in the air. Their entire display was destroyed, along with some of the artwork, as well as that of many other artists.

For more information and to see the damages visit Dolan’s blog: dolangeiman.blogspot.com

Safety in bad weather at art fairs is always a source of anxiety for artists. Dolan and Ali were aware there was a storm on the way and had taken precautions, but it still wasn’t enough.

Here are precautions we always took:

  1. a sturdy tent – we preferred the Majestic made by KD Kanopy, a hefty 45 pound tent that had strong braces. A lot of artists buy Craft Huts, we didn’t because we did not want to be putting all those pieces together. We also liked the good light that came through the KD on overcast days.
  2. each leg of the tent had 40 pounds of weights, weight bags that we bought from a cinematography supply
  3. if we were on grass we ran a rope from the top of each leg and staked it into the ground with coiled dog stakes
  4. if bad weather was predicted, at the end of the day we would pack all framed work back into its boxes and make sure none of it was on the ground, wrap it in tarps and then use ties to wrap around the stack and fasten the ties to the tent

Also we carried a weather radio to stay on top of developments. We only packed up early once and left, when we were at Brookside in Kansas City and tornadoes were heading our way. We got out in time, but people who stayed had a heck of a time packing and practically got blown out of town.

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One Response to “Last Weekend’s Art Fair (Weather) Report”

  1. Annette Morrin Says:

    Hi Connie,

    Chris and I did East Lansing this past weekend, we were missed by the predicted rains but the wind were relentless. right at 6:00 closing on Saturday
    a customer came into Chris’s booth to buy a photograph and said 60 mph winds were expected no sooner said and gust came. There was the awful sound of crashing glass and pottery. Artist came running to help our neighbor
    who was in the process of putting up their curtains which made their booth into a sail ready to take off, we held onto to the legs and kept grounded but they lost half their inventory of pottery. This was on M.A.C. Ave. about 5 booths at the end of M.A.C. called it Sat. Night.

    Sunday was cold mostly sunny and windy, ah Michigan weather take a deep breath it has to get better!!

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