By Rebecca Gordon
This year’s Ann Arbor Art Fair featured two Washtenaw Community College students, showcased as a part of the New Art, New Artists program.
The NANA mentoring program’s goal is to nurture student artists who wish to establish a professional visual arts career, and offers assistance and training to help chosen students prepare for the Art Show.
Doug Stein is a now second year photography student at Washtenaw Community College, and Jesse James Patterson III was a digital media arts student at WCC who is transferring to the College for Creative Studies in the Fall 2017 semester.
Both Stein and Patterson applied to the NANA program, which gives college students the opportunity to participate in the Ann Arbor Art Fair free of charge. Stein stated that he applied to the program after seeing an advertisement in the photo lab and found out his submission had been selected in May of 2017. The two were among eight college students chosen from around Michigan, which also included students from the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Kendall College of Art and Design.
“It was a lot of prep work,” Stein said, mentioning that photography advisor professor Jennifer Baker told him at the beginning of June to start working on everything “now.” Stein credits his mentor through the NANA program, Jim Parker, for helping him prepare fully for the Art Fair. The photography Stein displayed focused on natural landscapes and ranged from his last two years of making photographs.
Patterson’s display of digital media art was arranged directly opposite of Steins on the other end of booth A100. Patterson’s student entry in the NANA program was centered heavily on works done in black and white.
“I feel that if you strip the color away, you focus more on the picture,” Patterson had said of his art. Patterson had at the time of the Art Fair recently been awarded a scholarship to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, a scholarship that he stated was “almost a full ride.” He was excited to begin classes there this fall.
The 2017 event occurred between July 20–23, and was held in the streets of Downtown Ann Arbor. The Art Fair is actually comprised of four separate fairs; Ann Arbor Art Fair, The Original; Ann Arbor State Street Art Fair; Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair; and Ann Arbor South University Art Fair. The Ann Arbor Art Fair, The Original, the sponsor for the NANA program, was hosting its 58th annual art fair, making it the oldest of the four fairs to occur.