Beer + Art = Fun
by Mary Simkins
The time is upon us for another Shadow Art Fair. Created and organized by the Michigan Design Militia, the event will be held from noon to midnight on Saturday, July 16 at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti. With around 40 local vendors, the mission of the fair is to promote and support local artists and designers and foster a sense of community among all who attend.
The Michigan Design Militia (MIDMI) is comprised of Mark Maynard, Jennifer Albaum, Molly Mast, Timothy Furstnau, Chris Sandon and Melissa Dettloff. According to the Shadow Art Fair website, when the consignment shop where they worked closed, they “decided to get together to see if [they] could help each other and the local community of independent artists by sharing [their] resources and experiences.” What they ended up creating was the Shadow Art Fair—an unconventional “art fair” that has been a favorite local event since its inception.
Do not come expecting a typical arts and crafts show – as Mark Maynard asserts in his blog (markmaynard.com), “We do go out of our way to involve people who will be fucking with the normal craft fair buyer/seller dynamic.” In the past, artists have “fucked with” the craft show dynamic by writing live haikus, painting hideous live portraits and serving gumbo with hugs. This year’s fair will feature glass artists, jewelry designers, photographers and a furniture designer (just to name a few). Vendors must submit an application and be approved by the judging committee to secure a booth at the fair.
In keeping with the unconventional spirit of Shadow Art Fair, there will be several out-of-the-box vendors present as well. One such organization is called Cuba Skate, founded by recent University of Michigan grads Miles Jackson and Lauren Bradley. As Jackson and Bradley state on their website (cubaskate.blogspot.com): “We want to bring with us skateboards, clothes, shoes, DVDs, CDs, magazines, iPods, headphones, really anything that Cubans don’t have access to. We are so lucky to have these resources at our fingertips here in the U.S. and we only hope that by making trips down to Cuba, we can make a difference in their lives.” The CubaSkate booth will not be selling art, but raising awareness and funds for their endeavor.
So why have it at a brewery? This question is best answered by the simple equation on the event’s website, “Beer + Art = Fun.” The Michigan Design Militia also explains that a laid back location is key in promoting a relaxed and informal atmosphere where guests can spend a leisurely time hanging out and talking to artists …while, of course, drinking delicious beer.
Admission is not free – the cost, as always, is two pennies. This fee, combined with the selling of special Shadow Brews is the only profit made by the event’s organizers. Most of the money raised at the Shadow Art Fair goes toward the production of the next Shadow event, and whatever is leftover goes into a fund to support local art initiatives. If you are under 21 and wish to attend the event, a parent must accompany you for the duration of your attendance. For more information, visit ShadowArtFair.com.