New HOMES Campus gallery space to highlight local artists

In addition to a new coffee shop, taproom, and distillery, the new location of Ann Arbor's HOMES Brewery also features a gallery space where owner Tommy Kennedy hopes to highlight local artists and build community engagement. 

HOMES Campus, which opened at 112 Jackson Plaza in Ann Arbor on Dec. 13,  provides HOMES with 27,000 square feet of space in addition to its original brewery at 2321 Jackson Ave. in Ann Arbor. The gallery exists as part of the Campus' Can Shop and Smooj Lab, where guests can order HOMES' signature beers or the latest HOMES project: Smooj Hard Seltzer Smoothies, made in the building next door. 

"The whole space is about meshing together community and programming in a lot of different ways," says Lisa Sauvé, co-founder and CEO of Ann Arbor's Synecdoche Design Studio, which designed the Campus. "This is not a coffee shop gallery. It's prominently and intentionally displayed. We've got lighting set up. We've got art rails and things like that, but it's also not primarily a gallery either." 

"It just seemed like there needed to be a space and an outlet for artists, and there are so many great artists in Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan that we would love to showcase here," Kennedy says. "... If people are coming here for creative culinary experiences, then it just seemed like the visual aspect was an intuitive partner to that."

The gallery's inaugural featured artist is Detroit-based Mike Han, whose striking black-and-white work is influenced by Korean calligraphy, graffiti, and modern design. In addition to canvas paintings and paintings that Han made on top of salvaged blueprints, the centerpiece of the gallery is a collection of 120 different wooden panels that make up one large centerpiece titled "Together We Are Whole."

The piece is a collaboration between Han and Synecdoche, and is meant as a nod to both new-school digital artmaking and traditional Korean woodcraft. It was designed by Han and created using CNC manufacturing equipment in Synecdoche's workshop. The tiles are all available for purchase as individual pieces or smaller group sets.

Han says his work is "very focused on how to illuminate the idea of connectedness."

"As people, we're individuals, but we're each part of a community or multiple communities, we're part of a society or multiple societies, we're part of the country, and we're part of the world. We're part of the human race," Han says. "So I think it's fascinating that in one painting, one piece is an individual, and it stands alone as an individual, but then it can be combined with an adjacent one to make something different and new that's larger. So then it's a group. It's a community."

The tiles, priced at $125 each, also represent a more accessible option for patrons than some of the larger paintings, which are being sold from $3,000 to upwards of $5,000 apiece. 

"We want it so that people can count on it to be a place where really high-end stuff can pass through, but also there are things like this that are more approachably priced," Kennedy says. "It gives people a chance to get the best of both worlds."

The main show will conclude on Dec. 18 with an artist's talk by Han at the gallery. Two large-scale murals by Han that cover the Campus' two bathrooms and hallway area will be on permanent display. 

Kennedy says the gallery's next featured artist will be announced soon, and he's still seeking to schedule even more local artists for the coming year. 

"We're really open to different mediums," he says. "I've already talked to a sculptor."

Sabine Bickford Brown is a freelance writer and editor based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at sabinebickfordbrown@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of Synecdoche Design Studio.