BY SHEILA R. McAFEE
The Downriver Indie Craft Fair returns this month for a fourth year at the Downriver Council for the Arts, featuring the creativity of more than 50 independent crafters and artists.
The fair will take place from 6-9 p.m., Friday, March 17, coinciding with the Wyandotte Business Association’s Third Friday festivities, and continue from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. March 18.
Erin Suess, DCA executive director, said artists with one-of-a-kind items will fill the three-story building at 81 Chestnut St., describing the event as a smaller version of the annual Urban Craft Fair at Detroit’s Masonic Temple in December. More than 1,500 attended the DCA fair last year, and Seuss said she expects similar, perhaps larger, crowds this year.
Admission is $2, which the DCA will use to help children with the cost of attending its summer art camp (details for which are still to be formalized). The first 50 people through the door each day of the fair will receive gift bags filled with items from vendors and neighboring businesses.
Suess noted that the trolley will also be available March 17 to take shoppers between the DCA and neighboring downtown restaurants and businesses.
The craft fair is just one of several activities planned this month at the DCA.
On March 4, Adrianna Stepiano will share the history and art of mask making with children over 6. Suess said participants will create their own masks and have additional fun wearing them in a photo booth. The cost to attend is $20, and reservations must be made by March 3. The workshop is from 1:30-4 p.m., with refreshments and snacks provided.
Later that week, on March 10, is an opening reception in the Main Gallery for the exhibit “Rock Paper Paintbrush,” featuring clay artist Wendy Sample, paper artist Elroy Grandy and painter Mohamad Bazzi. They trace their careers back to art classes at three different Dearborn high schools, and will be on hand from 6-8 p.m. to share their stories. The event is free and open to the public, with the exhibition continuing through March 24.
In the Community Gallery on March 10, the spotlight will be on the artwork of Wyandotte Public Schools students, elementary through high school. An opening reception, planned for 5:30-8 p.m., is free for the public to attend. The schools art exhibit also runs through March 24.
In addition to special monthly events and exhibits, the DCA hosts a variety of ongoing classes throughout the year in an effort to nurture the artist in children and adults alike. Painting classes and lectures are offered for students of all ages and levels and a Saturday morning interactive parent/children program called DoodleBug has proved to be very popular (and at $2 a session, very affordable). Additionally, Scouts hold workshops to earn achievement badges, said Suess, and the facility is available to rent.
The DCA has been supporting and promoting the arts of its member communities since the non-profit organization formed in 1978. The James R. DeSana building has been its home since 2010, named after former Wyandotte mayor James DeSana, who backed the city’s purchase of the former Odd Fellows temple that dates back to 1911. Suess joined the staff last year.
For more information on DCA programs, call (734) 720-0671, or check the website www.downriverarts.org.
Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. The facility is closed Fridays, Sundays and Mondays, unless there are special events.