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Summer fun: New art fair at Stony Creek Metro Park, Orchard Lake Fine Art Fair returns


It's one thing to see art in a gallery, but is it even more appealing surrounded by trees, water and fresh air? Art fair producer Mark Loeb thinks so.

Nature and art merge at Loeb's brand-new Stony Creek Metropark Art Fair, which kicks off Saturday and runs through Sunday at Stony Creek's Baypoint Beach in Shelby Township. It'll feature more than 60 artists in a range of mediums spread out on the grass at Baypoint. Loeb and his team also put on the Kensington Metropark Art Fair each year.

"We’ve been working with the Metroparks on getting more art into the Metroparks for six to seven years," said fair producer Mark Loeb. "We have the Kensington Metropark Art Fair and that's grown to be one of the top 100 art fairs. We felt it made sense to add another at Stony Creek."

Loeb, who originally planned to create the new fair last year when COVID-19 hit, said Stony Creek in northern Macomb County's Shelby Township is about as far as you can get from Kensington in Milford "but at the same time it’s very similar." They both have a variety of beaches, trails and plenty of room to spread out.

"By presenting it (the art) in a beautiful setting, it gives a whole new meaning to the art," said Loeb. "Galleries are great but they’re kind of sterile."

Art fairs are returning en masse all over Metro Detroit this summer after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rescinded the last of the state's COVID-19 restrictions.

The Orchard Lake Fine Art Show in West Bloomfield Township also kicks off this weekend after being canceled last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Patty Narozny of Hot Works, the fair's organizer, had just seven weeks to plan this year's show after Whitmer lifted the state's final restrictions in June.

It will feature 140 juried artists selling original and handmade work. That's roughly 20% fewer artists than previous years but patrons won't notice a difference because booths will be spread out a bit more, said Narozny.

One big factor this year was the flipflopping schedule of the Ann Arbor Art Fair, which was canceled earlier this spring and then reinstated after state restrictions eased. 

"That had a tremendous effect on our shows this year," said Narozny. "...(Some) artists went to other parts of the country when Ann Arbor was closed. But we’ve pulled off a beautiful show."

After a year without art fairs, Narozny said she realizes more than ever how important they are in building relationships between artists and clients. 

"You can’t put a value on it," she said. "The importance of a one-on-one relationship is more than we ever thought it would be."

Mixed media artist Kandy Myny of Shelby Township agrees.

Myny, who creates paintings and collages on wood and canvas, was off for 16 months during the pandemic. She had a show at her home and promoted her website more, but "it's not the same as meeting my customers in person and being able to tell them about my process," she said.

Myny will be at this year's first ever Stony Creek Metropark Art Fair. And she's excited.

 "I think the residents of Shelby Township will be eager to get out and see something new," said Myny, who also just wrapped up the Ann Arbor Art Fair and said the buying energy this year has been "great." "I think people are really itching to get out and do something and happy to be able to buy art again!"

mfeighan@detroitnews.com

Metro Detroit Summer Art Fairs

Belle Isle Art Fair: Roughly 100 juried artists Aug. 7-8 at Belle Isle's Scott Fountain. Go to https://www.belleisleartfair.com/.

Orchard Lake Fine Art Show: 140 juried artists Saturday and Sunday on Powers and Daly Roads, south of Maple, west of Orchard Lake Road; $5 admission for adults. Go to artsandeducationinc.org/.

Stony Creek Metropark Art Fair: Roughly 60 artists featured Saturday and Sunday at Stony Creek's Baypoint Beach, 4300 Main Park Drive in Shelby Township. Go to www.stonycreekartfair.com.