One of the special programs of the Original Ann Arbor Art Fair is our New Art, New Artists (NANA) College Student Mentoring Program. The goal of this program is to nurture young artists who wish to establish themselves in a professional visual arts career. After submitting work and being scored through a jury process, seven college artists are selected to participate in the Art Fair each year at no cost to them.
The selected NANA artists begin working together as they design a shared booth and support one another in successful sales. Our NANA college students are involved in one-on-one mentoring from the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original's staff from the time of acceptance in April until the Fair in July. Our student artists participate in meetings where they learn to present their artwork, write a successful Artist Statement, design an art fair booth and receive tips in interacting with the public and selling their artwork. Each student is also paired with a participating Art Fair Artist Mentor who provides additional guidance. Many of these relationships turn into year-long mentorships as they help these young artists break into their artist ventures.
We are thrilled to report that several of our NANA artists have gone on to become professional art fair artists.
Make sure you visit our NANA booth (WA801) located on East Washington.
Eva graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and a minor in Writing in May 2019. Throughout her academic career Eva have formed her own artistic curriculum outside of the University. In her oil paintings she seeks to capture the motion of the natural world. Inventing emotional narratives, Eva emulates sensations of rippling seas, flight, and calm. She lets go of representation to tell stories. https://evaantebilerman.com
Kendall Freeman is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Communication and Studio Art. He often creates works that are allegorical, drawing upon real and fantasy elements of varying disciplines. Freeman also makes art about his friends and family, their history and culture. While working primarily in wood, he also is an illustrator and painter. Freeman is inspired by the art of Neo-Traditional, Japanese, and New School tattoo artists, and often explores subjects of ancient mythologies, various faiths, and nature.
James has been practicing digital photography since receiving an old Kodak DC20 at 10 years old from his grandfather. He aims to capture windows into timeless moments of emotional reality and ethereal surrealism through a minimalist approach.
Quinn is a contemporary abstract painter, currently pursuing a BFA at Kendall College of Art and Design. Quinn grew up in Chelsea, MI where he first started to shine as an artist at a young age. After placing as a finalist in a state-wide art competition in middle school, Quinn started to share his talent with the world by making and giving out hundreds of pen sketch portraits in the Ann Arbor area (if you ask around, you might find some still floating around to this day). Quinn has since expanded into the world of abstract paintings with rigorous dedication and limitless ambition. Quinn focuses on mixed media paintings on canvas. His acrylic-oil paintings and his India ink pieces have a unique style that exhibit an array of emotions and experiences that shine with tranquility and bravery.
Sophia Pomponio is a recent graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design where she majored in Illustration. She uses various materials including watercolor, colored pencils, oils, graphite, ink, and digital. Her work is heavily influenced by her love of traveling and missions work. Many of the portraits she draws are of people she has met on her missions trips who have unique stories and whose character she tries to capture whether it be painting, drawing, etc. She has also worked with a lot of children on these trips, which is one of the reasons she has directed her focus to children's books as well.
Spenser Williams is currently pursuing an Associate's Degree in photography from Washtenaw Community College. Spenser enjoys traveling around Michigan taking in the amazing scenes our state has to offer. There's so much to see and they are inspired to go out and find more. There's always a new adventure to be had.
NANA artists from every year have gone on to have extremely successful careers in the Arts! We are so honored to have been part of these young artists paths.
"I was lucky enough to be part of the New Art, New Artist group right after graduation from the University of Michigan, School of Art and Design. The AASAF was the launching pad that helped my fine arts career begin. I gained access to mentors, resources, and an education in a field that doesn’t have many open doors. Because of the experience with AASAF I exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show in 2014. I am proud and so happy to be part of the AASAF because of their standards in selection of talent and quality in the work that is displayed every year. The group of artists that frequent the AASAF, who I get to now call my friends, are truly some of the best in the country, and the reason I keep coming back!"
After participating in the New Art, New Artist program, Jake applied to the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original and was accepted his first year. Jake has successfully participated each year since and has grown his furniture business.
Taylor Mazer graduated Kendall College of Art and Design in 2012 with a BFA in illustration and has gone on to win various awards such as Best of Show at the Rockford Art Museum Greenwich Village Art Fair and Best in Show and the Mayor’s Award at the Penrod Arts Fair.
Tefari has stayed in the Ann Arbor Area and currently runs a photography studio in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
"I really really loved being in the Emerging artists group at the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair. It was an amazing way to learn the skills needed to run my own booth the following year as an actual artist in the same fair. I learned how to interact with guests in the booth and I got to meet other artists participating in the fair. My current career does not really reflect my experience in the fair, however, I am still very grateful for my experience as an Emerging Artist."
Austen has continued to create and has had his art displayed at Grand Rapids City Hall and the Charles H. Wright museum. He continues to show in gallery exhibitions and art fairs around Michigan.
Janelle graduated from the College for Creative Studies in 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Art. She continues to attend various art fairs and has her work for sale in a number of different galleries.
Sophia has a background in architecture and graphic design and currently specializes in fine art photography and mixed media artwork, which she sells on her etsy shop. She also was a part of PowerArt! in 2015, an Ann Arbor program to cover traffic signal utility boxes with artwork created by the participants.
"So far in my career I’ve worn many hats, and currently my title is simply "Designer." More specifically though I’m a Product Designer. Generally, that means that I design interfaces and user flows for apps. While I didn’t launch into a fine arts career, and while the art fair circuit isn’t necessarily for me, AASAF helped me realize that I still do quite enjoy making, talking about, and selling my work in a capacity other than as just a freelance designer. There’s something really enjoyable about seeing someone use or appreciate something that I’ve produced—be it photograph, typeface, app, or screen print—and AASAF was where I got that first taste."