Ann Arbor Art Center seeks proposals for alley art installations

The Ann Arbor Art Center (A2AC) is currently accepting proposals for innovative spatial art installations in Ann Arbor alleys, seeking to activate pedestrian space and increase public art.

"The Alleyway Project: Activating Ann Arbor’s Alleys Through Art" is the first initiative from A2AC Alleys, a project of A2AC's Art in Public program. A2AC Alleys was designed to highlight and beautify often-neglected pedestrian-centered areas in downtown Ann Arbor.

After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response to its murals initiative last year, the center's Art in Public committee decided to expand its program by implementing more experiential and interactive art in alleys throughout downtown Ann Arbor. 

“The next step we really talked about from the beginning was to do things beyond murals,” says Jason Ennis, owner of Center Design Studio and consultant to A2AC. “We wanted more sculpture. We wanted more experiential art. I personally practice design and architecture, and I have kind of an affinity towards this blur between art and architecture. I wanted to really bring more of that to Ann Arbor specifically.” 

A committee of nationally and internationally recognized urban-planning professionals, designers, and artists, and a local committee composed of a representative of the city of Ann Arbor, an A2AC staff member, a local artist, and a local architect or landscape architect, will select up to four winning designs. Winners will each receive $10,000-$15,000 to fund installation of their designs, which can be displayed in the city for up to a year. The deadline to submit proposals is Sunday, July 11th. Winners will be announced in the last week of July.

The design challenge is open internationally and free to enter, aiming to eliminate barriers new artists may encounter while trying to establish themselves. 

“One thing Ann Arbor does have that could be a valuable asset to artists is that we’re willing to try something like this,” says Ennis. “There’s a culture here of the arts that is prevalent and is just starting to kind of be discovered with this idea of this creative district in downtown. And there’s people here willing to kind of go out on a limb and try to get these kinds of things accomplished, which can’t be said for every city across the states.” 

Interested artists can submit proposals and learn more about the Alleyway Project by visiting A2AC’s website.   

Maria Patton is a lifelong Ypsilanti resident. She is currently a student at the University of Michigan, working towards a bachelor’s degree in communications and media. You can find more of her work in The Michigan Daily, where she is a columnist for the Michigan in Color section. She can be reached at