Carnival by Colin Blakely in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Each year on the weekend closest to July 4th, the carnival comes to the High School down the street from us. It’s funny how in this neighborhood the passage of time is defined as much by the events and rituals we collectively participate in as by the months on a calendar. I rode a ferris wheel for the first time in my life last summer. I can’t think of a better first experience than sitting across from Emma and Maddie looking out over the entirety of Ann Arbor.

Name:Colin Blakely

Occupation: Professor/Department Head, Art Department, Eastern Michigan University

Preoccupation: Father, Photographer. No time for much else, but also high on the list of things I love to do: tinkering with RC helicopters (or anything that flies really), downhill skiing, whitewater kayaking.

Can you sum up the place you live: I live on the 500-block of Keech Avenue. Bordered on one side by Michigan Stadium and by Almendinger Park on the other, both entities play an important role in the identity of my neighborhood. We have literally thousands of visitors to our street every year. People come from all over the country to visit the stadium and participate in the American ritual of Big-10 College Football. People come from all around town to visit the park and participate in activities there. Visitors to both places inevitably end up passing through Keech Avenue. I think of Ann Arbor as embodying traditional notions of Middle America.

A perfect day in Ann  Arbor? There’s a different one for each season: in fall it includes a walk in the woods, in winter it includes sledding or building a snow penguin, in spring it involves walking downtown, in summer it involves drinking beer on neighbors’ porches.

What is the best thing about your spot? Football days.

What is the worst? Football days.

What would be surprising about this place to an outsider? Despite its size and reach, UM accounts for only 10% of the Ann Arbor work force and there are plenty activities in town that flourish independently of the university’s reach.

Before I die I want to visit: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China.

Who are three of your favorite artists? Robert Smithson, Edward Burtynsky, Joel Sternfeld


Name:Colin Blakely

City:Ann Arbor

Favorite place to eat:

Zingerman’s Road House

Favorite place to drink:

Bill’s Beer Garden

Favorite shop:

Downtown Home and Garden

Local Tip:

Don’t swim in the Huron River.

Must Do:

Walk inside Michigan Stadium. Take strolls down Main Street and State Street, eat lunch at Zingerman’s Deli. Have a beer outside at Dominick’s.