BirminghamMay 1, 2013
Art Birmingham returns to Shain Park for Mother’s Day
By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer
BIRMINGHAM — After some time away, Art Birmingham is reclaiming Mother’s Day weekend in downtown Birmingham’s Shain Park with its annual celebration of local artists and creative wares.
Now in its 32nd year, the free fair has become a staple event for the city, as well as the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, which produces the fair. This year’s show will feature 150 artists from around Michigan and across the country selling their creations of glass, wood, ceramics, mixed media, jewelry, fiber, paintings and more.
According to the BBAC, each artist included in the fair has been selected by an independent jury and evaluated for creativity and skill, ensuring that only the best of the best independent artists are included.
One such artist who is returning to the annual show is Lucia Lucas Rodriguez, of Bloomfield Township. Originally hailing from Mexico, Rodriguez has embraced a variety of paint mediums since she was young, including charcoal, ink and acrylic paintings, collages, and oil still-life work.
Last year, she brought her collection of city-themed collage paintings to Art Birmingham. This year, she said, she’ll be exclusively presenting her still-life paintings of local fruits and vegetables at the fair.
“(My paintings) are very colorful. I do collages of cities, and I love to do Detroit, and I do a series of collages of Detroit. But this year, I would like people to see my fruit,” she said. “I like to buy local fruit and paint local fruit, you know? I go and pick up the fruit and paint from life.”
Asked why she’s returning to sell her work at Art Birmingham again this year, she said it’s a combination of the casual, comfortable setting and the variety of talented artists and art fans she gets to meet.
“I like the ambiance. You know, how they do the set up? I think it’s nice; it’s cozy. For me, it’s like showing at home,” she said.
In 2012, the BBAC moved the fair to Memorial Day weekend instead of Mother’s Day weekend, as the event had been held in years past. The Birmingham City Commission approved the BBAC’s request to move the fair back to Mother’s Day this year, and according to Annie VanGelderen, president and CEO of the BBAC, the nonprofit art center is excited to get back to tradition.
“We are so excited to bring it back to Mother’s Day weekend. I think people always assumed it was Mother’s Day weekend, and I know people would go to the park thinking the fair would be there and it wasn’t, and they would be disappointed.”
In honor of the holiday, the fair will feature a youth arts activities booth, presented by DTE Energy. Youngsters can stop by to create an accordion-style brag book to give to their mother, grandmother, aunt or any other special lady in their lives.
VanGelderen added that Art Birmingham is more than just a fair of fine artists for the community to peruse. It’s a favorite neighborhood event that draws local residents and outside visitors to Birmingham’s thriving downtown shopping and dining center.
“We’re encouraging people to come down for the whole weekend. Many of the restaurants will have doors open for all fairgoers to come and have a great lunch,” she said. “Let’s expose everyone to this wonderful, beautiful town here. Hopefully, it will bring new visitors and they’ll return because we have so much to offer here.”
The 32nd annual Art Birmingham fair is produced by the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center in association with the Guild of Artists and Artisans, and presented by Somerset Buick GMC.
The fair will take place in Shain Park and the surrounding streets from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. May 11 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 12. For more information, call (248) 644-0866 or visit www.artbirmingham.org. Shain Park is located on Merrill Street in downtown Birmingham.