Ann Arbor Sunday Artisan Market History
“What is the history of the Ann Arbor Sunday Artisan Market? How did the market come into being, and who organizes it?"
The Artisan Market was started in 1991 by a group of artisans who were having difficulty getting into the Farmers Market, an event that runs year round on Saturday.
Initially it was run by the City of Ann Arbor, but about 10 years ago we split off and became our own entity. We are self-governed, run by a board of directors made up of artisan members of the market, who hire a manager to run day-to-day operations.
“What makes the Ann Arbor Sunday Artisan Marketplace stand out from other artisan markets?"
As far as I know we are the oldest art market in the state. The last I knew we were the only art and craft market in the region, but there may be others now.
“What is the craft mix at your market?"
We run the gamut, from craft such as jewelry to fine art.
“Does it include edibles such as jams, cheeses, and breads, or is it a mix of craft and art?"
We don’t have a lot of artisan food vendors but we do have a few (coffee, sauces) and would like more!
“Do you have a cap for certain crafts?"
We try to maintain a limit of 15% in any given artisan category.
“Do you let anyone sell at your artisan market or is there an application and jury process that people have to go through?"
We have had a jury process in place for the last several years.
As we’ve grown, we have had to become more selective. In the past, if you made it, you could sell it. Now we are focusing on quality and diversity.
“What is your selling season and what are the vendor fees for the season?"
We are open the first weekend in April; our last day is the Sunday before Christmas.
Fees range from as low as $15 for a day to $200 for the season.
“How important is community engagement and support for Artisan Markets? How do you generate local interest and involvement in your program, from both buyers and sellers?"
We do a number of different things:
- We advertise locally as well as regionally.
- We have our information on several different websites that target artisans, as well as the Crafter Magazine, a listing of Michigan art and craft events.
- We are members of the Kerrytown District Association, which is where the market is located, and we try to involve each other in events we both put on.
- We have artists who participate in an art exhibit in a Whole Foods store in Ann Arbor.
- We have a website, Facebook page and are working on a Twitter account. I’m sure there are other things that I am forgetting.
“Do you coordinate with other events and venues to create destination events?"
Yes, we work with the Kerrytown District Association and partner with them on many of their events.
We also have the Washtenaw Wanderers Walking Club using the market as the starting point for a history walk on May 15, and are hoping to continue to be able to provide them a starting location for other events.
Art Walk, an event in October run by the Arts Alliance, is another event we participate in.
“What media outlets do you use to promote your artisan market?"
We are currently running print ads in the Art Showcase magazine.
We also have an ad in a visitor’s guide published by the Ann Arbor Observer that is placed in hotels across the area, as well as an ad in the City Guide, a once-a-year Observer publication.
We also have info on a number of websites including Pure Michigan, the Ann Arbor Visitor’s Bureau, and others.
“Do you use social media, and if so, what sites are you currently using? Do you think your social media outreach program is effective?"
We do have a Facebook page but it has not been utilized as effectively as it could. We are working on that. We are also looking into a Twitter account. I think that social network marketing can be very effective for craft marketing if you have someone committed to keeping up with it.
“Any big plans for the future? What’s the timeline?"
Nothing that comes to mind. We are putting most of our energy into trying to figure out how best to market the market so that we get enough clientele and quality vendors to keep the market growing.