What do you think? Please send letters to: AGENDA, 220 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, Ml 48104. Art Fair is Today's Ann Arbor Although "Arwuif Arwuir often reads like reminiscences of The Forty Year Old Hippy," I welcomed his recent article "Confessions of an Art Fair Anarchist" [AGENDA JuneJuly 1993]. As someone with anarchist philosophies myself , I found his Art Fairobservations, with the emphasis on money over art, accurate but falling short of a larger visión. Ifs futile to conceptually distance the "real Ann Arbor" from each summer's Art Fair onslaught, because they are essentially the same - the latter being merely more dramatic and annoying. Fellow artists should appreciate the symbolism. Like it or not the Art Fair is today's Ann Arbor. The town has evolved or devolved into a yuppie haven where altemative people must be independently wealthy , inherit real estáte, or be willing to live in destitution. Six-digit incomes or insulation are required to survive the day to day money squeeze this city puts upon its residents, workers and visitors. The focus is on money and any inconvenience to the periphery is not taken seriously. To emphasize "out of towners" ignores the actions of the year-round residents. However, the blame cannot be dumped solely upon the businessman. The desire for big govemment is also the cause for the worship of the dollar. There is no free lunch and without the tax revenue from business how will we pay for govemment services? High real estáte prices and taxes are a lethal combination. Are the local merchants' sales up or down during the Fair? Will this benefit their employees Qobs), community (tax revenue), and customers (more competition, selection)? I object to the systemic nature of the downward spiral where Ann Arbor is hooked to the dollar fix and constan tly has to satisfy its jones. So for a store to sell slacks on the sidewalk during the Fair is absolutely consistent with the commercialismo that Ann Arbor has literally "bought into." Yet, was it ever truly different? Did it ever promise to be anything other that it is? Ugly as it has grown, remember, it's the same ugly - only bigger. If Ann Arbor and the Art Fair have changed, why has it happened? Is the city too dependent of U-M? Is it hip-capitalism taken to its "logical" conclusión? Have we tumed into our parents? If the people of Ann Arbor do not like what they see there are extremely difficult decisions to make. Do you want to continue to exclude people economically? Whiat kind of city does Ann Arbor really want to be? The designer, upscale, gentrification is not about quality of life - make no mistake, ifs all about money. It's not what we like to think of as Ann Arbor, but here we are. The borderlines have become fu rther marginal ized until they either move out of town or into a shelter. Don't ignore the racial component either as more of the affluent will continue to be white. Soon... "Ann Arbor - where the elite meet, eat, work, live, invest..." As forfinding artatthe Art Fair, remember there are three different fairs with varying standards. Anyone familiar with the event has contrasted the work around South U. with that on Main St. Generally it's the appreciable difference bewtween the "arts" and "crafts." In a darkly humorous vein, perhaps the solution to the problems of both Ann Arbor and the Art Fair is to elect and appoint more artists to places of power. Based on experience they would undoubtedly be commercial artists - in denial!
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