Palmer Park Art Fair

PALMER PARK ART FAIR!
May 3 & 4, 2014

Colorful “crazy cats” hung out near the Log Cabin. Students demonstrated blowing glass near Lake Francis. Sparks flew from melting iron at the Carbon Arts station, and 50 artists from Detroit — and Belgium and France — shared their creative works as the Palmer Park Art Fair returned on Saturday and Sunday, May 3-4, after a 30 year absence from Detroit.
Final PALMER PARK BLUE

Limited edition silk-screened artwork by Hubert Massey, created for the 2014 Palmer Park Art Fair. To purchase, visit palmerparkartfair.com

The cats, which looked like they might be related to giraffes, were created by Tim Burke, who works as a sculptor and often uses found objects from his studio on Heidelberg Street. The students, directed by artist Albert Young, came from his Michigan Hot Glass workshop and the College for Creative Studies, where he teaches.

The fair also included a small mural arts section with street art demonstrations, and hands-on projects for children sponsored by Arts & Scraps, PFPP and the DIA. At the larger cast iron area, led by Carbon Arts from the Corktown area of Detroit, patrons were given opportunities to create and take home small metal charms, tiles and other pieces — once the molten iron cooled.

More than one-fourth of the Palmer Park Art Fair artists live or work in Detroit, while others came from Ohio, other states, and Europe. They were enthusiastic about joining the event, developed by Integrity Shows, which produces the Funky Ferndale Art Fair and a number of other longtime, prominent art fairs. The Art Fair at Palmer Park was created in partnership with the non-profit organization People for Palmer Park (PFPP), with support from the City of Detroit Recreation and General Services Departments.

“We are reinventing the art fair, right here in Detroit,” said Mark Loeb, Palmer Park Art Fair organizer. Instead of the traditional white canopies in a line, the artists “were organically wrapped around the lake at Palmer Park.” It was indeed a serene and beautiful setting.

Several area neighbors participated in organizing, volunteering, and exhibiting. Metal artist Stephen Breinager from Palmer Woods sold his one-of-a-kind fountains and sculptures.”I loved it and all my friends who came from out-of-town were thrilled as well,” Stephen shared. “I was really happy to be part of the art fair in this wonderful park, and pleasantly surprised to see how many people came and supported the show. I know that I will return next year, as well as many of the other artists and the other visiting artists who I encouraged to join me at the fair.”

“The Art Fair’s return to Palmer Park is a dream come true,” said Palmer Woods neighbor Rochelle Lento, an attorney and president of PFPP. “There was art for established collectors looking for distinctive work and for those just starting out who wanted a wall hanging to enhance their room. Our goal was to be all inclusive. Everyone was welcome, and of course we encouraged them to return to enjoy all the activities and events we have year-round at the park.”

Artist/photographer Barbara Barefield, also Palmer Woods resident and board member of PFPP, exhibited large-scale photos of musicians — including Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis and Thornetta Davis — taken over a 40-year span. It included some of the musicians featured on the Music in Homes concerts she and her husband Spencer produce in Palmer Woods. She also worked closely with Integrity Shows planning the Art Fair. “This is the type of community gathering that really benefits the quality of life in our area, and it all took place literally down the block from our Palmer Woods homes,” Barefield stated. “It was great to see our neighbors enjoying the art, the nature in the park, the Gala event with Thornetta Davis on Saturday night, and carrying home treasures they purchased at the fair.”

The Palmer Park Art Fair actually is a reincarnation of a popular art fair held in the park in the 1970s and 1980s. It now holds the distinction of being the only large outdoor juried art fair in the city of Detroit this year.

“This art fair gave Detroit a boost and left both artists and patrons leaving happy,” said Loeb, noting the artists’ surveys afterward are overwhelmingly positive. “One third of those attending reported that it was the first time they had been to the park.”

The People for Palmer Park sold merchandise and martinis and Motor City Brewery beers, the first time they opened a beer tent at one of the events. (The tent will be back for Log Cabin Day on June 29.) Dozens of volunteers also gave artists support and helped the nonprofit with other tasks.

Integrity Shows plans the next Palmer Park Art Fair for May 2 and 3, 2015. Updates will be shared on the Art Fair’s Facebook page or website: PalmerParkArtFair.com.  Loeb also is developing an art patrons program, to encourage purchases at the fair and make artists aware of Detroiters’ commitment to the fair. This year, First Lady (and former Palmer Woods neighbor) Lori Maher chaired the artist patron program. If interested in joining, contact info@palmerparkatfair.com

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