Music, dance and art — Art in the Park is back after two years

PINCKNEY – For Michael Monroe, from Brighton, being a full-time artist during the pandemic was really difficult.

As an artist who has been selling his work since 1979, the past two years have been a struggle.

“I was lucky to still be in business,” Monroe said.

Michael Monroe’s art studio, 427 W. Main St., has been in downtown Brighton for 20 years. It is open Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 4 p.m., for framing, shipping, or purchasing artwork.

During the pandemic, Monroe tried selling art online for a while, but said sales weren’t as consistent as when he attended art shows.

“I don’t know how they do it,” he said of successful people selling online. “I probably sell as much online (in a year) as I do in a weekend at a trade show.”

Monroe hopes the 30th Art in the Park, taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 4-5 in Putnam Township Square, will provide her and other artists with personal contact with enthusiasts. of art.

Admission is free and there will be shows, food and activities for children.

Monroe, who is also on the committee for Art in the Park, said that with fewer entries this year, the show focuses more on the festival aspect: more music, wine and dancing.

Monroe said plans were for an upbeat art exhibit, with booths for local artists and artisans to sell their work and mingle with fans.

Linda Carey, director of the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce, said the number of artists entering this year’s Art in the Park was down 20% from what it was during from the last show in 2019. Carey said it’s been a few years for artists, and many have decided to retire, which has contributed to reduced attendance.

Michael Monroe also makes custom frames in his shop, located at 427 Main St. in Brighton.

The artist prefers to sell in person

Monroe said he prefers art shows because he meets the people who buy his art.

He usually attends 25-30 shows a year, but in the past two years he has attended far fewer as many have been cancelled.

At the start of a performance season, artists and artisans can pay $5,000 to $10,000 in booth fees to reserve space. After pandemic-related cancellations in 2020, many art exhibitions failed to reimburse full booth fees to artists, Monroe said, causing even more financial hardship.

Michael Monroe started painting at the age of 10.

A lifelong artist

Monroe created her first painting when she was 10 years old. He never had any formal training in art, just “trial and error,” he said.

Now, after 50 years as an artist, he paints two to three works a week, mostly birds and waterscapes.

Monroe said he sells five to ten original paintings per exhibition, as well as prints and children’s books. His works can cost anywhere from $15 to $1,500.

Michael Monroe also sells paintings on pieces of wood, many of which he sells at art shows like Art in the Park in Pinckney.

Monroe has illustrated 28 children’s books, one of which, “M is for Mitten,” is available at many Michigan libraries.

To find out more about this year’s Art in the Park, visit

Sophia Lada is a journalist at the Livingston Daily. Contact her at [email protected] or 517.377.1065. Follow her on Twitter @sophia_lada.

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