Street Art Fair returns to downtown after COVID-19 hiatus

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 3, 2021

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BIRMINGHAM — Downtown Birmingham hasn’t hosted an art fair — usually a common summer occurrence in the city — since 2019.

That changes this weekend when, after a year’s break due to COVID-19, the 47th annual Birmingham Street Art Fair returns to South Old Woodward Sept. 18 and 19.

The fair is produced by The Guild of Artists and Artisans, a more than 50-year-old nonprofit dedicated to increasing art awareness and education in the community. The guild is known for its award-winning annual Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair.

The event will feature around 100 artists presenting work in a variety of mediums, including jewelry, ceramics, glass, photography, fiber and more. Some notable favorites from the Birmingham-Bloomfield art scene will be there, like ceramist Carole Berhorst and jeweler Beth North, along with lots of artists coming in specially for the occasion from as far away as Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

“We’re excited to take the fair back to the streets this year, hosting the event on South Old Woodward near where it joins Woodward,” said Allison Buck, the marketing director for the guild. “The 47th event will include … live music, food, kids art activities and a silent art auction to support the mission of Common Ground.”

As always, the aim for the fair will be to support Common Ground, an Oakland County nonprofit that provides resources for young people, adults and families in crisis.

“While Common Ground is celebrating its 50th year of helping people move from crisis to hope,” Common Ground Chief External Relations Officer Jeffrey Kapuscinski said in an email. “The art fair is an opportunity for people to get out and enjoy terrific works of art, while contributing to Common Ground. (We’re) dedicated to helping runaway and homeless youth, victims of crime, people with mental illness and others in critical situations.”

The support is needed more than ever, Kapuscinski added, because in April the organization announced plans for a $1 million Behavioral Health Urgent Care facility, expected to help 15,000 people per year, in addition to the more than 8,000 people aided by Common Ground’s main center and its 24-hour crisis call/text/chat hotline.

“We’re excited about the impact this will have on our community,” he said.

While the guild is eager to bring back the popular event, which draws around 80,000 guests each year, the pandemic is far from over and considerations have been made to keep visitors and vendors safe. Artist booths will be spaced 10 feet apart to allow for social distancing, and additional hand sanitizing stations will be provided throughout the fair.

And while not required, fairgoers will be encouraged to wear masks.

The Common Ground Street Art Fair will be held 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19 on South Old Woodward, at Haynes Street in downtown Birmingham.

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