Nominee’s nameAnthony (Tony) Zambelli

SEEN Changemaker CategoryArt & Entertainment

A picture of the nomineeA picture of the nominee
Nominee’s job titleManaging Director Seneca Partners
Nominee’s cityBloomfield Township
Please describe why the nominee is a SEEN Changemaker:

Tony was recruited about five years ago by the Board of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original. Tony loved the art fair from his college days in Ann Arbor and through a retired art teacher (and artist) member of the Board, he was asked to join the Board to add more business acumen and new perspectives. He is now President of the Board and balancing both a human interest and business approach to help the art fair prosper and fulfill its stated mission.

Since his acceptance to the board, Tony realized how important the art fair is to the Ann Arbor area. The Fair began in 1960 and enabled residents to have easy access to one of the top art fairs in the country. 80% attend from the Michigan area, but 20% are drawn from outside Michigan. The art fair provides income opportunity for thousands of Michigan artists and it adds $12Million dollars to the community for this 4 day event.

Tell us about the individual’s accomplishments:

Tony currently serves on several other boards including GreenPath Financial Wellness, a number of privately held companies, and was previously the Oakland University / Oakland County representative for the State of Michigan’s Pre-seed funding program which grants money to business startups in Michigan. He is currently Managing Director of Seneca Partners which made investments in more than two dozen companies around the U.S. involved with manufacturing, business services and health care.

How is he/she impacting the community or the lives of people in Metro Detroit or across the world.

By further advancing the efforts of the Ann Arbor Art Fair (Original), Tony has helped in many ways. He has taken to heart the efforts of the Organization and is deeply and passionately involved in keeping the Fair alive and well.

Impacts to the community, the lives of people in Metro Detroit and around the world:

Mission statement: the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization whose mission is to increase public knowledge and appreciation for contemporary fine arts and fine crafts by creating opportunities that connect artists, the community and the general public to their mutual benefit, including a top quality juried street art fair.

Provide a world-class art fair in our region since 1960, which was only one of a handful in the entire country at that time. And, was one of the first art fairs to implement a jury system to select artists which helps to increase the quality of art at the fair.
Enables residents of SE Michigan easy access to one of the top art fairs in the country.
20% of visitors are from out-of-state; 80% of visitors are from the State of Michigan

Introduce and raise the value of art in people’s lives, while allowing people to experience art in a less intimidating way. At the fair people can easily talk to the artists and learn about their inspiration and process. Many people never step foot in an art gallery that view art in an art fair.

The AASAF puts on many programs throughout the year to introduce art to young students, and to provide support and encouragement for teens choosing to become artists. The organization also puts on a Kid’s Art Fair on the Monday evening of art fair week that is attended by many thousands of people as part of the Townie Street Party celebration that day.

Over the years, we’ve provided an income opportunity for thousands of Michigan artists, both established and aspiring. Such an opportunity helps to support a community of artists, helping to further enrich the lives of people and businesses all across the State.

A recent tourism survey conducted by the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau shows that the Ann Arbor Art Fair generates at least $12 million in net new spending in Washtenaw County.


The SEEN Changemaker Awards are brought to you by

Peter and Danialle Karmanos