Birmingham Street Art Fair returns for 43rd year

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 11, 2017

BIRMINGHAM — The annual Birmingham Street Art Fair will close out summer this weekend with more than 150 juried artists lining the streets of downtown.

But as you head out to enjoy the art and take in the last of the warm September air, look closely: The event is more than just an art fair.

“Every year we put on this event, and we do it to bring awareness to the fact that we’re here, we’re in the community doing everything we can to help the people we serve,” said Cyndia Robinson, marketing and communication specialist for Common Ground.

The free art fair, curated by the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit Guild of Artists and Artisans, is of course the unofficial beginning of fall in Birmingham, marking 43 years this Saturday and Sunday. But Robinson said there are still plenty of people around Oakland County who don’t know about the resources available through Common Ground, a 24/7 crisis intervention center with counseling and support services.

“There’s so many great things we do — we’re not just a hotline,” she explained about the nonprofit. “We have residential services, a sanctuary for our youth that’s separate from our resource and crisis center. And so many people don’t know we’re here and what we do.”

While Common Ground staff hands out literature promoting what the nonprofit offers for families struggling with mental health issues, substance abuse disorders and other problems, talented artists will be on hand selling their wares and chatting with visitors about their work in painting, ceramics, photography, glass, jewelry, sculpture and other mediums.

“Each year I look forward to this event,” Karen Delhey, executive director of the Guild of Artists and Artisans, said in a prepared statement. “The art is always changing and always evolving. In addition to the new artists this year, we are seeing many of the crowd’s old favorites with lots of new work, with the added benefit of supporting an important organization such as Common Ground.”

Kids can take advantage of the free hands-on children’s art station, and collectors can make bids on the wide variety of artwork available at an auction to benefit Common Ground.

“Most of the artists, on top of selling their art, will donate a piece to us. We auction off their work and benefit from it in that way,” Robinson said. “Everything about this event is a really great collaboration to bring awareness to what we do.”

The Birmingham Street Art Fair will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17.

The fair will be located on South Old Woodward, between Maple and Frank streets, in downtown Birmingham.

For more information, visit the Birmingham Street Art Fair Facebook page.