Hazel ParkAugust 7, 2014
Art fair shines light on local talent, supports Promise Zone
By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer
HAZEL PARK — Art is good for the mind and soul, and should be accessible and affordable to all.
That’s the philosophy behind the Hazel Park Art Fair, returning to Green Acres Park Aug. 23-24. Now in its third year, the event highlights a collection of all-original works from artists in Hazel Park and metro Detroit, their creations running the gamut from 2-D drawings, paintings and photography to 3-D mixed-media, sculpture and metalworking.
Parking and admission is free to the public. Artists pay $50 ($25 a day) to exhibit but keep 100 percent of their profits. The booth fee is meant to recoup the costs of the event and helps the fair make its annual donation of $1,000 to the Hazel Park Promise Zone, which provides college scholarships to graduates of Hazel Park High School.
Sponsors are also sought, and with enough sponsorship money, the Art Fair will reimburse the artists for one-third of the booth fee, something they did last year. Volunteers are also always needed. Both sponsors and volunteers can visit www.hazelparkartfair.com to get in touch with event organizers.
The fair is meant to help the artists, bringing attention to quality talent in the area that might otherwise go unnoticed for lack of marketing. To keep the focus on art, there will be no product vendors.
The artists are set up in a loop around the park, located at 620 W. Woodward Heights (Nine 1/2 Mile) in Hazel Park. Off to one side at the start are food vendors such as the Hazel Park-based Country Boy, serving home-style food, and Millards Catering, providing pierogi and other Polish fare. Royal Oak’s Millking It Productions will also feature their “craft beer in a can,” an eco-friendly approach to drinking.
The city of Eastpointe is loaning their mobile stage to the event, and professional lighting and sound technicians are setting up for 16 local and regional bands that will perform throughout the course of each day. Musical guests include the hard-rock band White Shag, the jazz-rock group Spaceband, the blues-rock band Renegade Soul, the new-age group Casino, the indie-rock band Bastion, the psychedelic prog-rock group Blue Black Hours, and more.
The event runs from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Aug. 23 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Aug. 24. The weekend festivities are once again being organized by event founder and local artist Julie Fournier, with logistical support from the city of Hazel Park.
“I have a list of people I invite to the Art Fair, with a focus on talent in Hazel Park, first, and then metro Detroit, second, because Detroit has so much talent right here, and I want to celebrate it and showcase it,” Fournier said. “We have such a fantastic art scene. We might be struggling a bit economically, but culturally we’re the Paris of the Midwest. Culturally, we just rock out.”
Helping Fournier to organize the event this year is Steven Sorensen, of Hamtramck. He has been a bartender for 16 years, meeting many artists and musicians along the way. He also got Millking It Productions involved.
“I jumped at the opportunity to help with this,” Sorensen said. “I know how to put on a good show.”
He hopes the Hazel Park Art Fair will help deepen people’s appreciation for the value of art in their day-to-day lives.
“All around us, art’s been discounted as unimportant. Art programs in schools have been underfunded, whereas other programs like sports get full support. Yet there’s a greater likelihood you’ll go on to become a professional artist than a pro athlete,” Sorensen said. “Art can take so many forms. Everywhere you look, there’s art. Even the trash bin you use was designed by an industrial artist, who had to consider proportion, color and more. Art is everywhere and touches every aspect of our life, so much so that it’s easy to take for granted.
“What I like about this art fair is what I like about all art fairs: It can inspire someone to go home and create something,” he added. “I think that’s the most beneficial to anyone viewing art, since it demystifies it and breaks down a barrier. You see art, and you think, ‘A person created this. Now I want to create something, too.’”
The Hazel Park Art Fair will take place at Green Acres Park, 620 W. Woodward Heights Blvd. (Nine 1/2 Mile), from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, and from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24. Parking and admission is free.
For more information, visit www.hazelparkartfair.com.