Downtown Plymouth to activate alleyways with public art installations

What’s happening: The underutilized spaces of downtown Plymouth are receiving some much deserved attention this winter and spring, this thanks to local artist Tony Roko and his Art Foundation, as well as financial support from the Plymouth-based Community Financial Credit Union. The artist plans ten art installations in the city’s downtown, two of which have already been installed at CFCU’s headquarters there. The remaining eight art works will be installed in three downtown alleyways, activating otherwise unused spaces.

Tony Roko’s first two art installations can already be found at the CFCU HQ in downtown Plymouth.What it is: This latest round of art installations marks Phase Two of Art Foundation’s Plymouth ArtWalk. Phase One, which was completed in May 2021, also activated underutilized areas in downtown Plymouth with public art. Community Financial Credit Union contributed $50,000 to this iteration of ArtWalk, and two of Roko’s pieces were installed at their headquarters late last year.

And what’s to come: Eight additional artworks from the artist will be installed by April in the alleyways connecting Penniman Avenue, Main Street, and Ann Arbor Trail to the parking deck located at 333 S. Harvey St. The installations will feature QR codes that direct passers-by to a podcast-style audio tour of the ArtWalk, as well as additional information about the artist and his work.

What they’re saying: “Activating unutilized areas of Downtown Plymouth with interesting artwork is part of the Plymouth DDA’s five-year strategic plan,” says Sam Plymale, downtown development authority director for the City of Plymouth. “Creating community partnerships is critical to the success of Downtown Plymouth, and this next phase of the Plymouth ArtWalk would not be possible without the great community partnership with Community Financial Credit Union and Tony Roko’s Art Foundation.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.