Midland summer art fairs flourish

In an age where technology dominates our lives and mass-produced items flood the market, local art fairs and craft shows are an important part of community life that often get overlooked. However, the first weekend of May showed Midland hasn’t forgotten. 

The streets downtown were filled with vendors, musicians, and artists for the Alden B. Dow Museum Summer Art Fair, while the Art Seen Festival spread color across the city. Community members were invited to create a mural at Pizza Sam’s, and others could observe murals being painted at LaLonde's Market and Lee Bar & Grill. 

Ben TIgnerPatrick Aldrich enjoying the 2024 Midland Art FestEric Aldrich from Brinstar Arcade Bar and Grille appreciated the synergy the events brought to the downtown, both from a business and creative perspective. “Everybody's a little bit different, and everybody's styles are a little bit different,” he says. “And today is a great day to come down and enjoy everybody's creativity and just explore, and see everybody else doing…. all these arts and crafts that really inspire everybody else and spreads a little bit of cheer to everyone.” 

BenTignerBeverly McNaughton enjoys creating for others.First-time vendors at this summer's art fair Beverly McNaughton and Barbara Stark, enjoyed the winter show and wanted to continue the momentum. “We were in the winter show, and we did really well. And it was kind of our environment, so we hoped to get in, and we did.” shared Stark. But more rewarding is their enjoyment when others share in their work. Stark says, “I've always been a fan of art fairs. So to be able to participate in one is the best. It's the top of my bucket list to create something and have someone else appreciate it and buy it from you… it's huge, over the moon.”

Both art fairs brought the community together through an appreciation of creativity and craftsmanship. The day wasn’t just about markets and vendors but a celebration of the artists and their creative process.

Ben TignerBeth Nova (L) Jennifer Kanyo (R)Jennifer Kanyo, Senior Director of Museums and Education, and Beth Nova, Arts Programming Coordinator for the Midland Center for the Arts see the benefits of these endeavors firsthand. Kanyo explains, “We're so excited to be downtown, to be able to celebrate all of these amazing artists, and to be able to support the awesome businesses we have in our community.” 

In the future, she would like to build on this year's success. “I'd love to see this continue to grow and expand, so we can get some new and fresh faces in the art community participating in different ways. Last year, to start an emerging artist program like we did, it gives new artists the opportunity to take part in our local culture and share what they produce.”

Ben TignerCameron Jones and son Kash Jones enjoy the day's festivities.
The Midland art fairs provided a great experience for those who attended, and the weather could not have been better. So, the next time you see a flyer for an art fair or craft show, take the opportunity to explore, engage, and support the local artists who enrich our lives with their talents.

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Ben Tigner is a native Colemanite that married a native Sanfordite and seeks to spiritually retain dual citizenship in both communities. He is a lifelong Pistons fan and enjoys playing the piano but loathes mind numbing Minecraft banter from his children. He earned his Bachelor's degree at Ferris State and Masters from CMU and has served for over 20 years on school and zoning boards, and city councils.