Berkley Art Bash to take over 12 Mile Road

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published September 4, 2021

 Berkley artist Evan Lian will be selling prints of his cartoons, both published and unpublished, at a booth at the Berkley Art Bash Sept. 11. This cartoon was published in Reader’s Digest in November 2019.

Berkley artist Evan Lian will be selling prints of his cartoons, both published and unpublished, at a booth at the Berkley Art Bash Sept. 11. This cartoon was published in Reader’s Digest in November 2019.

Image provided by Evan Lian

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BERKLEY — The Berkley Art Bash soon will be returning to the downtown for the first time since 2019.

The festival that features many different vendors selling pottery, photos, paintings, jewelry and more will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, on 12 Mile Road from Coolidge Highway to Buckingham Avenue.

Compared to previous editions of the Art Bash, this year’s event has a bigger footprint of nine blocks. Event Director April McCrumb said organizers knew they wanted to stretch out the area for the more than 90 vendors who will be selling their wares at the festival.

“We spaced the booths out,” she said. “Normally, they’re right next to each other. We did 10 feet (between) each booth, so that’ll help artists feel more comfortable, but also crowds as well. As you’re going from booth to booth, it’s not gonna be as packed in.

“Even though it’s outside, we still felt it’s important to create more space for the artists so they feel more comfortable (and) for the crowds so they feel more comfortable,” McCrumb continued.

Many festivals and events in the area that normally would have taken place during the summer were rescheduled to the fall. The Art Bash was no exception, as it normally occurs on the second weekend of June.

The decision to delay the festival was made in February. This was to let organizers plan for the event while also allowing people to have more time to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

There will be fewer artists featured this year versus past years. McCrumb felt the move to September and the artists’ personal lives were heavy factors in the decrease.

“Some of the artists that we have from year to year, maybe what they do has changed as well. Maybe they’re not doing it anymore or they still don’t feel safe,” she said. “We made that call in February to have it in September, but knowing that it’s a conflict for some of the artists we normally have because they already have other shows happening on this weekend or they’re getting busy with their kids and back to school and they don’t have time to focus on the show.

“All the different little things that played into it, but looking at some other shows too, I do feel that’s a trend,” McCrumb stated. “Other shows have less artists, because I go to a lot of shows — personally, just to see what other people are doing and also to source new talent for our show — but that definitely is a trend at some of the shows I went to as well … even having 90 though, I think, is a nice selection for the offerings for our fairgoers.”

Evan Lian, a cartoonist and artist, will be participating in his first Art Bash this year.

A published cartoonist since 2018, Lian has had his work featured in the New Yorker, Reader’s Digest, Morning Brew and Vogue Korea. He’ll be selling single-panel prints of both his published and unpublished cartoons at his booth, which will be called Evan Lian’s Rejected, Collected.

“I’ve got somewhere between 50 and 100 different prints, and that’s just a small fraction of the number of rejected cartoons I’ve accumulated in my career,” he said. It’s just a place for me to display all the ones that don’t make the cut — which is most of them — but it’s fun to see and kind of experience people getting to view my work face to face, because that’s not something I get normally.”

This will be Lian’s third art fair. He previously took part in the DIY Street Fair, but he was excited to do his first Art Bash, as he moved to Berkley in January 2020.

“It’s just a great networking opportunity,” Lian said of doing art fairs. “For me, because cartooning is kind of a solitary activity, it’s just a really good way to get out there and meet the community.”

Some features from past festivals did not make a return for 2021, including kids activities such as face painting and inflatables, because of the close person-to-person contact. There still will be food trucks and live entertainment from a group from the County Oakland Irish Festival, and kids will have the opportunity to do creative craft projects and balloon sculptures. The Oakland County Health Division also will be on-site with a clinic for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The event is presented by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce.

“(The chamber feels) our responsibility is once again to increase business and exposure for all the people that choose to do business in Berkley,” McCrumb said.

She said they are excited to show Berkley to Art Bash attendees who might not regularly see what the city has to offer.

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