mark your calendars – the winter shadow art fair is going to be held on december first

The date of the next Shadow Art Fair has just been officially announced. It’s to be held from noon to midnight, at the Corner Brewery, on Saturday, December 1. There are lots of surprises in store, not the least of which is the unveiling of a new company that my friend Melissa and I are launching. I wish I could tell you more, but that’s really all I can say for now.

In related news, someone representing the magazines “Make” and “Craft” wrote in a few days ago, expressing interest in sponsoring the Shadow Art Fair. The five of us responsible for the event had a meeting about it. I don’t think that any of us has any qualms about being accused of “selling out,” but it just didn’t seem right to us. We started talking about what we’d do differently with a big infusion of cash, and we couldn’t really come up with anything. The truth is, we like the event exactly as it is. So, we told them that we didn’t have any sponsorship opportunities, but, if they wanted to, they could buy exclusive, temporary naming rights for either the men’s or women’s restroom for $5,000. (We’re envisioning big, “MAKE poops” and “MAKE peeps” signs on the stalls.) I can’t imagine that they’d go for it, but, if they do, we’ll make ourselves come up with a cool way to spend it. Maybe the first 1,000 people could get a gift certificate or something… Or, better yet, maybe we’ll hire a documentary filmmaker to come in and interview each of the participants as to why they feel compelled to create… Or, better still, we could all collaborate on screenplay and shoot it with the “Make” and “Craft” money… In retrospect, maybe we were stupid for turning them down and then going the extra step of offending them with the idea of way overpriced toilet signage. They’re good magazines, and we didn’t mean them any ill will. We just didn’t think that our audiences overlap all that much, and we like the idea of keeping the Shadow local… But I can’t help second-guessing our decision and wondering if we could have done something really great with their money.

We also decided, in this planning meeting the other day, that there’s going to be an admission this year. We’re changing everyone a nickel ($.05), unless, of course, that’s a violation of some brewery rule. I like the idea of paying a nickel for something. It makes me incredibly happy. I’d rather pay a nickel for something than get it for free… We, of course, have no idea what we’ll do with a few hundred pounds of nickels, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

Oh, and if you’re interested in participating as a vendor, the deadline to apply is October 1. You can find the application on our website. Also, we’ve decided to have a poster design contest again this time around. The deadline for that is October 1 as well, and the application can be found online.

And, if you operate an Ypsi business and want to make a special offer to Shadow Art Fair visitors, drop me a line… I know I said that we made a decision not to take a few grand from “Make,” but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t take $25 from you… Right before the last Shadow Art Fair, I sent out a note to a few store owners in Ypsi, letting them know that, if they wanted, they could put flyers out for people to pick up. A few made special coupons for Shadow Art Fair visitors, and I’m told that they did quite well. So, we’re thinking of expanding the idea a bit. This time around, we’re going to give small programs to everyone entering, as they pay their nickel. The program will have a map showing where in the brewery each of the artists is located. It’s also going to contain several coupons from local businesses, geared specifically to Shadow Art Fair visitors. My hope is that by doing this, we’ll get even more people that are here in Ypsi for the first time, to walk through town and see what we have to offer. Rene Greff, the owner of the Corner Brewery, estimates that we had thousands of people at the last Shadow Art Fair. Our hope is that some percentage of those can be persuaded to stay and spend a little more money in Ypsi. And the $25 dollars we’re going to be asking for is to cover the price of printing and the time of a graphic designer. We aren’t seeing this as a profit center for the SAF. If we wanted to make a buck we would have sold out to the national advertisors.

I’m sure there’s more I could tell you, but I’ve got a sink full of dishes and a dog with irritable bowel syndrome that needs tending to. (These two things have nothing to do with one another, by the way.)

I’ll see you in December.

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13 Comments

  1. mark
    Posted September 3, 2007 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    And, yes, he does look familiar, doesn’t he?

  2. Posted September 4, 2007 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    24 Hours of LeMons (an endurance race in which cars cannot be worth more than $500) distributes $1500 in nickels as prizes.

    They have a Detroit event this year, so perhaps they could use the nickels in exchange for Shadow Art Fair logos on all cars. It’d be like ArtCars dry humping NASCAR!

    They have qualifying rounds such as the Marxist Parking Valet, the Widdling Rottweiler Slalom, and/or the Stoney Bike-Messenger Shooting Gallery

    http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/

  3. Ed
    Posted September 4, 2007 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The new company with your friend wouldn’t have anything to do with pet euthanasia would it? You’ve been promising a “We’ll Put Your Pets to Sleep While You Shop” booth for years now.

  4. Monica
    Posted September 4, 2007 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    If the co. offering sponsorship does not offend anyone on the steering committee then why not take the offer? A few ideas spilling forth are paying for the new program feature, a dedicated cell number/contact for SAF, a paid staff person to handle all the incoming expansion opportunities, a paid photographer/writer to do follow up, a dedicated website for SAF, etc? Why dink around with literal nickels? Picture the scene, making change, slowing down entrance, causing a line out the door… in the cold, etc. Basically, new money is an opportunity to pay you and your friends to do what they already do brilliantly – be artistic and creative!

  5. soundman234
    Posted September 4, 2007 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    woah, turning down Make? really bad move, i say.

    there are not too many ‘companies’ i can think of that are both good & cool. Make is one of the good guys.
    and then on top of it to mock them by asking them to place an ad on a bathroom stall? i can’t tell if you were just trying to be clever with the “Make poops” thing, or if you seriously suggested that to them.

    i think what i really don’t understand is the whole “we like the idea of keeping the Shadow local” comment. were they trying to own the name and take it around the country or something?
    aren’t these artists at the art fair to expose their work to people, or is this art only for ypsi?

    i’m probably harping on this a little too much but man… i really can’t think of many better sponsors than Make/Craft. have you read any of the magazines? i’m looking at one now and out of 200 pages there’s maybe 4 ads in the whole thing. plus, the magazines are just all about ingenuity and using what you have; recycling something into a different more useful object.

    which brings me to your comment that you don’t think the audiences would overlap.
    i guess i had you guys pegged totally wrong: a magazine that doesn’t give a crap about corporate advertisements, champions creativity and working with what you have to make something better wants to support you and you basically give them the finger.

    i hoping there’s something i’m missing here…

  6. mark
    Posted September 4, 2007 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Are you really just now figuring out that I’m a dick? It’s been five fucking years.

    …OK, you deserve a serious answer, and you’ll get one, but it probably won’t be tonight. I’ve got press releases that I need to send out. Rest assured, however, I believe we did the best thing for the future of the SAF and its participants… Still no word back from Make about our bathroom proposal.

  7. mark
    Posted September 4, 2007 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    OK, just real quick… I think we were rebelling against the homoginization of the so-called “craft” scene. Lots of stuff these days looks the same. That’s true of both products and events. We don’t have nothing against Craft and Make. It just seemed like the wrong thing. And, looking at the materials from other local “craft” events, I think we did the right thing. They’re full of color ads from the likes of Make and Craft. There’s not local color. The ads cost upward of $400 bucks a page, and sponsorship is more on top of that. It’s seductive, but it’s not a path we wanted to go down. We said we’d rather run ads for local restaurants that cost $25 a piece, enough to cover our costs. That’s what the event is about, at least to those of us putting it on. Make is great. It just wasn’t a good fit.

  8. Posted September 5, 2007 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Mark, I can understand bristling at the idea of “selling out”, of turning into “The Make Shadow Art Fair (in Ypsilanti, MI)”, but I have to wonder what strings the money came with. Would you have to hang big “Make” banners all over the brewery? Would you have to give them a table? Would you just have to mention them in a press release?

    If their requirements aren’t too odious, it seems to me you ought to be able to find a way to take their money and run. My suggestion:

    If they’re willing to give you $5000 (and I know that was just a number you pulled out for the bathroom stall counteroffer), use it to print up 5000 “Shadow Bucks” (minus printing costs). Hand out 5 Shadow Bucks to everybody who walks in the door. Shadow Bucks may be spent at any artist in the SAF; at the end of the day, artists redeem their Shadow Bucks for a cut of cold hard Make cash.

    Essentially, you’re just transferring money from an out-of-town corporation to independent local artists, but in a way that lets every visitor to the SAF go home with something they like that they might not otherwise have bought.

    If Make is willing to dump money into Ypsi, why not find a way to let them?

  9. Ted
    Posted September 5, 2007 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Once you start taking big amounts of money, you get into tax issues. A $5k donation, after taxes, isn’t anywhere near that. The alternative is to become a not for profit, but that takes more time than a little group like this probably has bandwidth to handle.

  10. UBU
    Posted September 5, 2007 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Mark — shouldn’t you tag this as “shadow art fair”? You have zero entries for that topic. Not that you need the publicity — I’m sure the Ann Arbor News will cover it like the Moon landing again, no matter how many times you have it a year. Have you thought of maybe going weekly? Shadows happen every day you know.

  11. mark
    Posted September 5, 2007 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    My fantasy is that every Ann Arbor store owner is as pissed off as you are, Ubu, over the fact that the News sends a reporter out to Ypsi two times a year to cover the Shadow Art Fair. It really gets under your skin, doesn’t it?

  12. UBU
    Posted September 6, 2007 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Wow, you have such a rich fantasy life…

  13. Free School for Red Heads
    Posted September 6, 2007 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Craft fucking killed the crafting scene the same way Green Day killed punk rock. Last nail. Coffin. Done.

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