The Inaugural Launch of the SAGINAW ART FAIR

Creating a New Holistic Celebration for the Visual, Performance, and Culinary Arts August 11-12th

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, , Culture, ,   From Issue 948   By: Robert E Martin

13th July, 2023     0

Like the debut of a fresh portrait of the rising sun rendered by a prolific artist such as Albert Bierstadt or Claude Monet, anticipation and excitement are both running equally high for the inaugural unveiling of the Saginaw Art Fair, which will be happening within the expansive and pastoral grounds of Ojibway Island on Friday, August 11th from 11 am to 7 pm; and Saturday, August 12th from 9 am to 4 pm.

Hosted by the Saginaw Art Initiative, which is a non-profit organization, so far 53 diverse artists have signed up to sell their works, including ceramics, fiber, jewelry, metal, mixed-media, painting, photography, and wood; and according to Committee Chairwoman Lauren Collison, “Over time, the goal is to obtain a total of 65 artists for future festivals”

“We have a diverse range of artists with high quality work,” explains Collison, “ and our mission is to create a holistic art fair that includes a variety of visual, performance, and culinary arts that will sustain itself while celebrating the beauty of Saginaw and building community in the greater Saginaw area.  Through collaboration between local artists, businesses, and community organizations, the collective goal is to expand and connect arts, culture, and art education within a family friendly atmosphere that includes free art activities and live demonstrations that expand art appreciation and inspire the artist in everyone.”

Given the numerous challenges involved with advancing such an ambitious agenda within the framework of this inaugural event, Collison is also dealing with a tint of controversy and confusion stemming from her involvement with the Old Town Saginaw Art Fair, which she was involved with for several years and was held in June of this year.

When asked about the origins of this upcoming Saginaw Art Fair and the ensuing controversy, Collison says she is trying to remain positive and supportive of all arts events with the Saginaw community.

“I am continuing the work that I have started since 2017 when I organized the return of the Art Fair at the Old Town BASH, which was an ambitious music & arts festival that only lasted two years,” she explains. “My goal has always been to grow the art fair and try to make it a great event that will be lasting in the community. I think it’s important to remain positive and supportive of all arts events in our community.”

“I can understand why the Old Town Saginaw association wants to keep their art fair within the Old Town business district,” she continues, “but beginning with the BASH and through my involvement with the Old Town Saginaw Art Fair, my goal has always been in evolve it and take it to the next level,” she continues.

“Actually, in addition to the two Saginaw art fairs, there is a third one if you count the Art & Garden show at the Andersen Enrichment Center, and last year we were excited the Old Town Saginaw Art Fair was able to feature 34 artists after not being able to stage the event for a couple of years because of covid, so we wanted to see that momentum grow.”

“An important goal to the committee that’s been working with me is to evolve this into an interdisciplinary art fair, not just about the fine arts or two and three-dimensional artworks, but to also include music, dance, theatre, and all of the arts.  We want this to be a fine arts festival, and with the band stage on Ojibway Island, it makes perfect sense to utilize this beautiful space.”

“Last year the weekend we staged the art fair felt like the hottest weekend of summer and with all the street pavement it became very intense, so with all the trees and shade available on Ojibway Island, we feel it’s a wonderful space that is underutilized, so the committee that’s been working with me started looking at Ojibway Island to stage  the event. But basically, we want to make this about all the arts - that’s the goal.”

Collison says that of the 53 featured artists, 25 of them are from the Great Lakes Bay Region, 22 are Michigan artists living outside the tri-city area, and six of them are out-of-state. “We also have 20 returning artists from either last year or previous art fairs, and of our returning artists is a former student of mine from Carrollton High School, Kayla Peake, so I’m excited that she will be participating again this year.”

As for the musical acts featured upon the performance stage at Ojibway Island, Lauren says she’s still finalizing the schedule, but that acts will appear throughout both days of the festival. “Our goal is to feature music, dance, and hopefully some poetry throughout the day.

“Major Chords for Minors will be featuring some of their young artists performing at 4:00 PM on Friday, and entertainment is scheduled on the performance stage from 11 am - 7 pm on Friday and Saturday from 9 am - 4 pm.  On Saturday at 9:30 am we’ll be featuring a Dance Class ‘WERK-IT’ offered from the YMCA that is free for everybody. Anybody who wants to come is the Island and participate can do so and it’s a fun time, with contemporary songs and fun  choreography with lots of cardio.”

Other free scheduled art classes & activities for the first 40 people include a Painting Class with Merry Feith on Friday, Aug. 11th at 3 PM; a Print Making Activity at 11 AM on Saturday, Aug. 12th, and then a Poured Painting Class at 2 PM on Saturday, in addition to drop-in activities throughout the day.

“The drop-in activities are very popular,” notes Lauren. “There’s different things artists of all ages can make with scrap-type art and the Poured Painting Class has proven to be very popular in prior years.

Food vendors that will be on the island both days include The Whole Enchilada, Kona Ice, and Tom’s Travelling Coffee Truck. On Friday, Sawadee and Saturday, Big Earl’s BBQ and Kernel Benny’s will be available.

Ojibway Island will be open for parking on both days of the festival, and people can also park on the right side of the road facing the Island, as well as the parking space behind the performance stage. “All the artists booths will be circled around the Island and shaded under the trees, so the sun won’t be beating down on people,” explains Lauren, “and the food trucks will also be located in the grassy area with plenty of shaded space.”

“We’re still working on lining up volunteers, and will be featuring a sign-up page on our website and Facebook pages for people who would like to help at this year’s event,” she adds. “The Kiwanis Club has been good about supporting us in the past and we plan on enlisting the help of different school groups.”

“Our mission is to create an interdisciplinary art fair to celebrate all the fine arts and promote art education, and I’m very grateful to all the committee members, artists, volunteers, and businesses that have helped us take this celebration of the arts, culture, and beauty of Ojibway Island to the next level, concludes Collison. Some of our sponsors this year are Garber, the Fordney Club, Local 85, Saginaw Northwest Kiwanis Club, and several businesses supporting us with in kind donations: R.B. Satkowiak's City Sewer Cleaners Inc., The Print Shop, The Bread Gal, Sip’s (Cafe 476) and more.”

For ongoing updates and more details be sure to check out the Saginaw Art Fair Facebook page and their website at where they will post performance schedules and food truck information.

Here is a breakdown of the artists that will be showcased:

2D Art: Mixed Media & Digital Art

2Dog Studio • Chris McCann •Corinne Roberts Illustration • Bougie D’ Amour • Art by Eddy K • Rosey Co • SMW Artistry • Voisin Consulting  Life Sciences • Keen Cedar Studios • Thrive Creative Innovations

3D Art Mixed Media, Fiber Art & Metal

Uniquepensetc • John Veremis • Save and Transform Creations • Altered Art • Third Life Creations • Georgia Genwright • Sommertyme Creations • Moondance Metal Art • Mason Welding

Ceramics & Glass

Sara Rio Ceramics • Pottery and Designs by Ellie • Emily Christine Pottery • Touch of Glaz • Ronda Olson Art

Drawing & Painting

Jessica Scharich • Dan's Watercolors • Wholehearted Creations • For the Love of Color - William Branigan • Workbyijee • KP Originals • Fairy Tree Studios • Joy Rocks • Adrienne Serr • Baker Bear Studio • Cheryl Meyer - Booth 31


Anya Selina Jewelry • Missy Rose Studios • DIA Custom Jewelry • ArtsyGoods • Briarwood Designs • Barb Quenneville


Kabscapes • Fletcher Dean • Rich Sattler • Nardi Photography • J & T Photography -      


WMN Woodworking • B&J Country Crafts • Purple Frog Creations • Alan Tobias • VanDesign Woodworking • EP



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