Check out A2’s new
arts festival: POP·X

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POPX illustration with dates and location Ann Arbor Art Center

We don’t often run press releases, but when the Ann Arbor Art Center approached us about its upcoming new festival, we readily agreed to at least run something online (we had already finished and sent off the October issue to the printer.) I’m a fan of what they do. There aren’t many venues in Ann Arbor for local artists to do their thing; AAAC is kind of it nowadays. Here’s to regrowing A2’s arts scene. — Jim

The Ann Arbor Art Center is launching a new annual festival of contemporary art: POP·X. The inaugural fest will happen Oct. 15-24 in downtown Ann Arbor’s Liberty Plaza Park (255 E. Liberty St.) Exhibitions will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Free and open to the public, the 10-day exhibition features nine 10-by-10 pop-up art pavilions. Architect and owner of Huron Building Company Kreg Norgaard designed this year’s pavilion. Each pavilion will be for sale, a yard installation for work or play.

Pavilion interiors will feature an art installation by an artist, or collective of artists, that encourages investigation and interaction by visitors as they move in and out of each structure. The artist exhibitions of POP·X are diverse in media and their creators are diverse in background.

Artists of POP•X, from top left: Joe Levickas, Nick Zagar, Brenda Oelbaum, Kate Robertson, Girls Group, Ann Arbor Women Artists, Chazz Miller, Nick Azzaro

Artists of POP•X, from top left: Joe Levickas, Nick Zagar, Brenda Oelbaum, Kate Robertson, Girls Group, Ann Arbor Women Artists, Chazz Miller, Nick Azzaro

Artists submitted installation proposals through an open call for artists and were chosen by a panel of four jurors: Yen Azzaro, Lily Cox-Richard, Harrell Fletcher and Nick Tobier. POP·X artists are the Girls Group, Joe Levickas, Brenda Oelbaum, Kate Robertson and Nick Zagar. With counsel from artistic advisors, we invited three others to exhibit: the Ann Arbor Women Artists, Nick Azzaro and Chazz Miller.

From discovering artists and collaborators new to us, to stretching ourselves to do something that feels big, we hope POP·X will continue to grow the Art Center’s community role as a hub for imaginative ideas, new artistic voices, and explorations in the arts,” said Marie Klopf, Ann Arbor Art Center president and CEO.

There will also be a series of community programs: music and theater performances, special dinners and pop-up picnics (with local celebrity mystery guests), drop-in art-making workshops and panel discussions about creativity and innovation. The program series calendar is online at popxannarbor.com.

“POP·X started as part of a long-term vision to encourage the visual arts in Washtenaw County. Seeing what other communities nationwide are doing to enrich their visual arts experiences, a small core group of people in Ann Arbor set long-term goals for our local cultural enhancement. Our intentions include enabling people of all ages and all demographics, artists and non-artists alike, to have opportunities to learn art skills, create things and work collaboratively with others to make shared community arts projects,” said Lucie Nisson, a founding partner of POP·X.

Program partners include the Ann Arbor District Library, Aventura, Isalita, Nerd Nite, CivCity, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ghostly International, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and others. The leadership sponsors of the initiative are the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Larry and Lucie Nisson, Old National Bank, and Gretchen Gardner and Josh Pokempner.

About the Ann Arbor Art Center:

For 105 years, the Ann Arbor Art Center has been sparking creativity in people of all ages and artistic abilities. Our mission is to be a contemporary forum for the visual arts through education, exploration, and exhibition, and to expand perspectives and ignite growth in students, artists, and the community. In this work we aspire to be a gathering place that serves artists and the community in four distinct, yet related ways: Exhibition, Retail, Education, and Community Engagement.

For more information please email at lpuentes [at] annarborartcenter.org. You can also follow POP-X’s Facebook event page, where we update weekly. Our hashtag for all Social Media: #A2POPX

Jim McBee

Founding partner, creative director and ink-stained wretch with The Ann magazine.