REVIEW: Tiny Expo Indie Art & Craft Fair

The Ann Arbor District Library held its Tiny Expo Indie Art and Craft Fair this past Saturday, December 10th, and it was everything you would expect and more! Held in the lobby of the library’s downtown location, the art fair was packed with local artists with a variety of art mediums from fiber arts to woodworking. This event is typically held annually during December; however, this year’s fair was especially anticipated due to the 2021 expo being canceled. 

I was shocked at the amount of people I saw in that first floor lobby of the library. I enjoy my regular trips to the library for book browsing and studying, but have never in my life seen more people in a library than I did at the art fair. What a beautiful culmination of community! Everyone was engaged in conversation either with their friends, discussing how wonderful the art was and which they planned on taking home, or with vendors, asking about their creations and their journey as artists. I picked up almost every artist’s card and brought home a series of whimsical prints from Arsenal Handicraft LLC. You can see a list of vendors here, but some others that stuck out to me were Science Bee, who had jewelry made out of old medical slides, WoolyMammothDesign with their 3D fiber arts, and the adorable designs of White Bird Pins, an artist that I have had the pleasure of working with in the past during the What the F Art Fair that you can read more about on our blog here! Candance’s designs amaze me constantly.

While the first floor lobby was buzzing with excitement, the basement was also a world of fun. Craft tables were full of attendees as well as free, on-site, screen printed tote bags! As someone who is studying the environment, I was so happy to see the screen printing station a sustainable alternative to regular printing and way more fun if you ask me! 

Art from Black Artist Showcase by Cheyenne Fletcher

This event was such a beautiful and important showcase for local artists and I was touched by the turnout. I found myself staying long after the group I came in with had left to look at the Black Artist Showcase that was up in the library as well a beautifully curated exhibit in the midst of the expo. The space was set up perfectly for the flow and exchange of people, conversations, and excitement. I could not imagine a more intentionally and beautifully designed event! I absolutely cannot wait for next year’s Tiny Expo, or any other library events for that matter.

PREVIEW: Women, Queer, & BIPOC Art Fair

What: an art fair hosted by What the F with over twenty-five women, queer, and BIPOC student artists displaying and selling their work

When: Saturday, December 3, 11:30am-2:30pm

Where: Michigan Union, Pendleton Room

This Saturday, What the F, an intersectional feminist student organization, will host an art fair centering the work of women, queer, and BIPOC students. What the F began hosting art fairs last year, and intends to organize them regularly each semester moving forward. For a sneak peek at some of the artists in attendance, check out the organization’s Instagram story–more than twenty-five artists will have the opportunity to present and sell their work, in mediums ranging from digital art to ceramics. The organization, which is best known for its biannual magazine, will have a table set up with its own merch, including a zine compiled by staff and guest artists. I joined What the F this year, and have seen close-up all the work my peers put into making this event a reality, so I hope you will consider visiting to support the great work they are doing. I will also be attending as an artist (selling earrings at a table near the entrance!) so if you see me there I’d love to say hello. I can’t wait to support student artists while also getting some holiday shopping done!

REVIEW: 35th Annual Storytelling Festival

I highly recommend attending this event at some point in your life. It’ll be a chance to reflect on the media exposure you are getting and appreciate the art of language.

The event took place in the ark, in front of a stage with blue curtains. Two microphones were there; one for the MC, and one for the teller. The audience was seated surrounding the stage and the tellers exchanged the ‘shower caps’ of microphones every time they took the stage. The room was dimly lit with warm, orange lights. It was a perfect atmosphere to hear a good story-minimal visual distraction so that we could let our imagination run wild and focus on the vibration of air that hit our ears. At this stage, 6 tellers told one story each, the type of stories varied from a revision of an old folk tale (I recalled hearing a story in a similar twist in the Talmud), some point in the border between a joke and real life, and humorous reminiscence of moments just a few days ago or a few decades ago. In all, the tone of stories had humor and drama to them, the two great components that captures our attention. It was a combination, a tasting menu of stories to give the audience a taste of the art of storytelling.

I loved the atmosphere of the event – It was like Youtube, but without any visuals and distractions. I realized that I forgot what it was like to listen to a good story. When you hear a good story from a storyteller, you enter this state of trance where you are running a mental film inside of your head guided by the story you are hearing. This lone light of guidance in the vast night of possibilities is a feeble but powerful one: the teller’s voice and rhythm of speech shape the story yet lead enough room for imagination to fill the gaps. As I listened to the tellers, I realized how distracted I was when I was hearing a story with so many ‘visual aids’ and ‘recommended videos’ in a queue. Words from a life story made the audience focus on every word because we could not go back a few seconds to catch what they missed.

With those chaotic distractions eliminated, finally, the pauses, the tone of voice, speed, and rhythm of speech got the attention it deserved. The language was once again more than just the meaning of the text it conveys, the wisdom we forget so easily in modern life. 90 minutes was enough to provoke all those musings and re-appreciation of language. Curious about the event? You’re in luck: the recording of the event is uploaded in youtube. Also, this is an annual event with a long history! So next winter, when you’re stacking your hot cocoa for the winter, look up the news of this event as well-it’ll make you feel cozy on a winter night, maybe even better than hot chocolate.


Venturing just slightly beyond the bubble of UM, one can find the Ann Arbor Art Center, a nonprofit organization home to local art and rotating exhibitions. The current exhibition is “ART NOW: Drawing” — one focused on particular media and the fourth annual of its kind, exploring conventional and less traditional types of drawing.

For more information, check out their website.

Or, wander down Liberty and check it out!

Dates: Showing through March 17th, 2018
Location: Ann Arbor Art Center’s 117 Gallery
117 W. Liberty St.
Gallery Hours:

REVIEW: Tree City & The Contraband

Tree City & The Contraband

Last  Saturday night, Ann Arbor hip-hop group Tree City took the stage at The Blind Pig. First real night of spring break and what better to do than get down to some local sounds with some super funky musicians? The group performed to a crowd of happy college spring breakers freshly released from exams. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable but hype enough to feel the spirit of freedom.

Tree City was formed in Ann Arbor in 2005 by 3 MC’s and a DJ/MC. By day, they are known as Evan HaywoodKyle Hunter, and Jacoby Simmons. By night, as Clavius CratesGeneral Population, and DJ Cataclysmic respectively. The group originally included two others- Mike and Cheeks– but both have fled to the west coast, and then there were three. The trio supplies “eardrums with a  unique brand of hip-hop” via live shows around town (including last month’s Eighth Annual Midwest Hip-Hop Summit at The League) as well as through their recordings. The complete discography includes The TreE.P. (2007), Black Trees (2008), Say It Again (Single) (2010), and Thus Far (2010), and most recently Definement (2011). And luckily, you can hear samples of everything they’ve got to offer on their website!

The show at the Pig on Saturday opened with sounds from DJ Charles Trees, Thrills & Saul Good, Passalacqua, and Tunde Oliniran. And finally, headliner Tree City, as a combined act with The Contraband. The combo is an extension of other local artists that have been playing with Tree City as a group for a year. Musicians include UM students and grads Ben Rolston on bass, Julian Allen on drums, Yuma Yesaka on the saxophone and electronic wind instrument, Keaton Royer on the synthesizer and Michael Malis on synthesizers and keyboards.

The performance featured all original material. Definitely danceable; definitely a good time. The main act was worth the ticket, but the openers also warmed up the crowd nicely. Most original, in my opinion, was Tunde Oliniran, whose performance included some level of experimental/interpretative dance (click here to get a taste of what I’m talkin’ about).

A golden moment of the night, bass player Ben Rolston said, “was experiencing the audience interaction that is a major part of hip-hop. Evan or Kyle would start a chant and the crowd was right there with them, giving that energy back to us. Coming from mostly playing music where the audience connection is less direct its really wonderful to be a part of.”

I got to drop in on a rehearsal at The Neutral Zone a few nights prior to the show. It was exciting to be able to watch the evolution of the performance from practice to a complete work of art. Even in a trial run, without the lights and crowds, the group has really got it going on. Nothin’ like some good old fashioned local music to get down on over Spring Break.

Look out for more Tree City shows happening around town. In the meantime, get connected! Check out the Tree City: homepageFacebook pageTwitter, and Soundcloud.