Artisans Band Together for Survival
The Sunday Artisan Market has been operating in Ann Arbor for 31 years, where local artists and crafters sell their creations from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays at the weekly outdoor venue from April until Christmas. Originally, the city managed the market, but President Daren Otis and Manager Deb Dursi wanted the vendors to have more of a say in how things were run. Over the years, they found people willing to assume leadership roles and key positions.
Applicants are screened by an experienced group of jurors for quality and creativity. Most vendors offer affordable and practical creations such as pottery, glass, wood bowls, furniture, birdhouses, clothing, tote bags, purses, jewelry, paintings and drawings, note cards and boxes, candles and more. They attend when their schedules allow, so the list of vendors changes every week.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the market was shut down by the city. When they had the option of starting back up, most of the board believed it was too soon, because many vendors would not want to participate under the circumstances and expenses such as rent, insurance and salaries would not decrease. But vendor Jeb Booge, owner of VogueBooge, pressed them to take the chance and open in spite of the odds. Otis says, “After much hand-wringing, we agreed to open and offer our vendors a partial year. As it turned out, we did lose half of our vendors, but also received many new applications because most craft shows and art fairs had closed and vendors were desperately looking for a place to sell!”
She shares, “We have kept our venue open with a lot of work by our market Manager Deb Dursi and a committed group of vendors, many of whom volunteer to do dozens of things. We operate like a co-op in that sense. Some vendors serve on the board of directors. Some help the manager set up tables and signs in the morning. Everyone hands out postcards. If the market is dirty, we sweep. And everyone helps their neighbor when needed.”
The Farmers Market Pavilion is located at 315 Detroit St., in Ann Arbor, next to the Kerrytown Shops. For more information, call 734-913-9622, email [email protected] or visit TheSundayArtisanMarket.org.