The Ann Arbor Art Fair on William Street pre-Covid. Alec Cohen/Daily. Buy this photo.

Directors of the 2021 Ann Arbor Art Fair cancelled the fair due to COVID-19 safety concerns for the second year in a row on Wednesday. The art fair was supposed to occur July 15 through 18 this year, but has been rescheduled to take place during the third week of July in 2022. 

Covering 30 blocks in Ann Arbor, the art fair attracts more than 1,000 artists and 500,000 visitors each year and is considered to be one of the largest juried art fairs in the world. The 60-year tradition consists of three consecutively ran fairs: the Ann Arbor Original Fair, the Summer Art Fair and the State Street Fair. 

After considering the current and predicted circumstances of the pandemic, the directors of all three fairs stated in a press release that it would be “impossible to move forward with this year’s event.”

“We can truthfully say that we tried everything we could to make it work with COVID protocols, but the bottom line is that outdoor gathering restrictions would need to be totally lifted before we could proceed,” Mo Riley — the director of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original — said in a press release issued Wednesday. “We hung on to hope that restrictions might change, but we have now run out of time. We all think it is likely that capacity limits will be lifted by July, but there are no guarantees. It would be unfair to ask artists to take that risk.”

The directors further acknowledged the difficulty of deciding to cancel the fair, as the cancellation “deeply impacts” artists, local businesses and the Ann Arbor community as a whole. Last year’s cancellation caused significant financial blows for both artists who typically attend the fair and Ann Arbor businesses. 

The press release concluded with a call for hope and support during this challenging period. 

“We ask our audience to continue supporting our artists and small businesses during these difficult times,” the press release said. “We hope you will join us when we return the third week in July 2022!”

Daily Staff Reporter Martha Lewand can be reached at