Essential arts events for June 2017: Apps in the gallery, immigration, and a living wall

Washtenaw County provides artists and arts enthusiasts with wide-ranging settings for seeing, hearing, and sensing the world in new ways that make us move, laugh, recover, reflect, or act. In this monthly column by Ann Arbor Art Center external relations director Omari Rush, Concentrate spotlights events that are moving the county's art scene forward in innovative and exciting ways.


Remix: Art and technology collide

June 8-July 22


Remix, a new exhibition of post-internet art that remixes expectations of the physical and digital worlds, will be supplemented by multiple related events during its June 8-July 22 run at the Ann Arbor Art Center. First, the show opens with a free party on June 8 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Brooklyn-based juror Andrew Rosinski (a Traverse City native) selected 22 artists' work from a pool of over 300.


Rosinski's own work will be featured in a virtual exhibition, also launching June 8 via a beta augmented reality app by ICON Interactive and the Art Center. With a smartphone or tablet, Art Center visitors can download the Remixed Reality app for free to see Rosinski's digital artwork interact with the physical gallery space. This virtual exhibition is the pilot for an ongoing series of augmented reality experiences to be released by ICON and the Art Center.


On June 8, Remix's themes will also flow through the latest edition of the Art Center's immersive POP-IN open house event series. This year's first POP-IN will be presented in conjunction with Intermitten, a two-day conference of curated talks about innovations brewing at the intersection of tech and art. The POP-IN event will provide community members with hands-on, up-close engagement with ideas expressed on stage by Intermitten speakers, from floristry to cinema to electronic music. POP-IN is free and open to the public. (Intermitten finishes June 9 with a public dance party at the 17th annual Mayor's Green Fair, enlivened by DJ Roman Martinez's bicycle pedaling-powered sound equipment.)



Waiting for the Past: Building empathy on immigration

Through June 23


Ypsilanti Experimental Space (YES) has a wonderfully unpredictable schedule of multimedia, multidisciplinary activities that pop up in its downtown Ypsi space (8 N. Washington St.) when its managers realize yet another creative use of the venue. The art installation Waiting for the Past, currently running through June 23 at YES, is an empathy-building commentary on immigration. As visitors engage with elements of this timely exhibition, they ideally move from a theoretical to a visceral understanding of the process of traversing borders in pursuit of home, love, or freedom. The creators of this installation, Parisa Ghaderi and Ebrahim Soltani, are themselves immigrants from Iran.


Ghaderi is a visual artist and filmmaker who graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design and whose films have been featured in film festivals around the world. Soltani is a faculty member in Eastern Michigan University's political science department and has research interests in comparative politics in the Middle East.


Ghaderi and/or Soltani will be at YES with the installation from 7 p.m.- 9 p.m. on June 9, 10, 16, and 17. For additional information about exhibition hours, visit YES's Facebook page. You'll also find information there about the range of projects happening at YES, including micro-cinema, workshops, and other exhibitions.



CAN Art and Design Exhibition: Kids design living wall mosaics

June 9


Artistry is not limited by age, though it is sadly sometimes inhibited by the self-awareness that buds with adolescence. These days, though, it flows freely through Community Action Network's (CAN) art and design program. On Friday, June 9, at 5:30 p.m., the program's students will have their second annual year-ending art exhibition at Mitchell Elementary School (3550 Pittsview Dr., Ann Arbor).


Open to youth at Mitchell Elementary and the CAN community centers at Hikone and Green Baxter Court, CAN Art and Design provides after-school opportunities for creative expression as well as personal and academic development. Working with artist and educator Laura Amtower, students' projects feature artistic discovery, problem-solving through design, and community relevance.


While the program's pilot project was about designing aesthetically rich and functional shelters for cats, the project on display June 9 will be a living wall mosaic that brings together environmental sustainability, mosaic arts, fabrication, and community. Beyond Amtower, this project has received support from Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Michigan Architectural Foundation, Mitchell Elementary staff, Motawi Tileworks, and the program's advisory committee.


CAN does a different project each school semester. One of its primary challenges now, though a glorious one, is accommodating growing demand from families wanting to participate, given how the program empowers youth to think creatively about their community and about their potential to make change in the world.


Omari Rush is the external relations director for the Ann Arbor Art Center

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