In the exhausted aftermath of last year's fair, Jody McLeane declared that sitting for four days in the heat "is not worth the money." But once she recovered, she decided to return--and so did Stephen Baldauf, Patrick Whelan, and Steve Howell. "I'm not giving up because of one bad year," Baldauf says.
"My minimum [sales] goal was met," Howell says. "I can live with that." But he adds, "We wouldn't be in a stable position today if not for the economics of yesterday." His house and car are paid for, thanks to the good money he made back in the 1990s. "It's tough for young people today," Howell says. "Many of them won't be able to make it."
Toy sculptor Harry Griffith concurs: "Some younger artists are going to end up working in Home Depot."
For painter Julie Keaten-Reed, 2011 was her first year in Ann Arbor--and also her last. Though Keaten-Reed says she did well, the four days and long hours were too much, and she is not returning in 2012.