The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Pop Up Detroit is back. The temporary art gallery that periodically pops up around town started building a reputation last year as a showcase for Detroit's young artists and overlooked spaces. It premiered last fall in the Kresge Building downtown, followed by a Midtown Noel Night appearance in a vacant Art Deco auto showroom. This time, organizers Michelle Tanguay and Nina Marcus-Kurlonko are setting up shop at 71 Garfield, a recently redeveloped, green live-work space for artists in the Sugar Hill Arts District.
Eighteen visual artists, from the emerging to the established, are participating in the show, which opens Saturday, April 9. I asked Tanguay and Marcus-Kurlonko about their project, the upcoming show, and the space.
Matthew Piper: What were your original goals with Pop Up Detroit? Have they changed since the first show?
Michelle Tanguay: Our original goal was to bring awareness to the beautiful vacant spaces and the talented artists of Metro Detroit. Our goal remains the same, but with time has become more polished and refined. Pop Up Detroit's first show was the first art exhibition that either of us have ever thrown, so it was a trial and error approach.
Nina Marcus-Kurlonko: Our goal is still the same: to make a connection between the arts and the vacant buildings. But it has started to develop into utilizing not only vacant buildings, but also spaces that may have been overlooked by others. We always hope to exhibit a variety of art work while bringing people to a place they may have been curious about.
MP: What should people expect from the opening reception and the show?
NMK: People will continue to see the same high quality of work they have come to expect from us. A range of student work to professional work. This time around, we will have a few more installation artists coming in to utilize the space. At the reception, we will have our resident DJs, Drew Pompa from Blank Artists, Joe Vargas from Tour Detroit, and Robert-David Jones.
MP: Why did you choose 71 Garfield this time?
MT: I fell in love with the building, it's beautiful. I can't believe that Sugar Hill Development took a building that was falling apart and renovated it to the degree that they did. The building was designed to achieve day-to-day energy reduction below 50 percent of current ASHRAE standards. There are giant solar panels on the roof, geothermal heating and cooling, a rooftop water collection system that utilizes a 3,000 gallon cistern, and many other "green" amenities. They are currently looking for renters and we wanted to bring awareness to the great work they are doing in the city.
* * *There's so much great work going on in Detroit right now, on the part of thoughtful developers, talented artists, and young entrepreneurs like Tanguay and Marcus-Kurlonko. Come see it all intersect at Pop Up Detroit.
The Pop Up Detroit opening reception takes place from 5 - 11 pm on Saturday, April 9, at 51 Garfield, Detroit; popupdetroit.com. The exhibition will be open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 am - 4 pm until May 1, or by appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org or (810) 417-2510. Artists interested in submitting work for the next Pop Up show should email email@example.com.