POP-X Ann Arbor Community Art Initiative

by | Sep 28, 2016 | Michigan, Travel

POP-X may sound like some crazy new energy drink, but it is actually a brilliant exhibit that pops up each year at Liberty Plaza in Ann Arbor.

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POP-X – What is this all about

Located in downtown Ann Arbor at the corner of Liberty and Division is where you’ll find the annual POP-X community art exhibit. Ten pavilions with dimensions of 10 feet by 10 feet are popped up around the plaza. Each pavilion provides a different artist (or group of artists) a space to engage the audience with their art and creativity. The exhibit runs for 10 days. Do you get the theme around the number 10?

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The pavilions are open to the public each day of the exhibit from 12 noon to 8pm for free. This fun-filled 10 day art extravaganza is orchestrated by the fine folks at the Ann Arbor Art Center. The idea is pretty simple. Bring the art to the people and give them a chance to engage with it. In the process, POP-X turns into yet another great reason to journey into downtown Ann Arbor. You can roam around the pavilions, have a beer at the POP-X pub, and then grab some food at any of the fantastic restaurants that Ann Arbor has to offer.

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One last fun fact, if you are in need a 10 x 10 shed, POP-X sells the pavilions for a nominal charge that basically covers the disassembly. Check out the POP-X website for details.

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2016 Artists

Lisa Waud

This exhibit was an explosion of green life with hints of flowers.

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FLY Children’s Art Center

The kids from FLY Children’s Art Center used various collages to tell the story of Ypsilanti native and cartographer, Marie Tharp. Her maps of the sea floor helped us to learn that the it was not flat, but full of canyons, mountains, and volcanos. This exhibit was a wonderful learning experience.

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David Zinn

The chalk art of David Zinn is amazing and highly entertaining. Visitors to his pavilion were encouraged to share their own chalk art.

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Ann Arbor Women Artists

The Ann Arbor Women Artists paired up with community members over the summer to create portraits in the form of masks. You could spend hours exploring the fascinating details that were poured into each piece.

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Beth Billups

This was one of my favorite exhibits. The idea is so simple and yet so creative. Beth created “talking blocks” which visitors could then arrange into single sentence stories. The results were fun and imaginative.

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Donald Harrison & Martin Thoburn

This exhibit is a highly entertaining and unique glimpse into life in Ann Arbor. The video images streamed on four screens showing different scenes from Ann Arbor. A paddle board perspective of the Huron River, a rainy day at the Arb, and roving around the streets while walking the dog.

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Andrew Thompson

Andrew created a pavilion to prompt visitors to explore the poetry of Detroit poets David Blair and Philip Levine by transcribing their work upon the walls of the pavilion. Whether you transcribed or admired, you are part of the experience.

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Jodi Stuart

Using filament used for 3D printing, the artist created these wild sculptures that look a bit like a brightly colored spiral graphs in three dimensions.

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Alex Schweder

The “Hotel Rehearsal” wasn’t actually a pop-up pavilion. However this pop-up room on top of a van was at the opening day and drew quite a few interested patrons who engaged the artist in conversation.

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Technically not in one of the pavilions, the artists of Synecdoche created walls of water balloons and emergency water rations that you traveled through in the middle of the plaza. The water balloons were colorful and a bit of a hazard as they can spontaneously burst. I thought of it as art with a thrill factor.

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Music and more

Besides immersing yourself in all the dazzling contemporary art, POP-X includes a diverse music line-up of musicians performing each day in the plaza. When we attended the opening day the Will McEvoy Trio were treating the crowd to some jazz.

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In addition to music, there is a full calendar of programs ranging from meet and greets with the artists, to discussion panels, and much more. POP-X ends up being much more than an art exhibit and lives up to its goal of being an immersive community experience.

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Share the News

Be sure to check out the gallery for a few more pictures of the opening of POP-X at Liberty Plaza in Ann Arbor. If you enjoyed our post, then please share it on your favorite social media venue or send it as a link to your friends and family. If you’ve got a story to share or just want to say hi, please leave a comment.

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