Dearborn will officially cut the ribbon at 5 p.m. Wednesday to open to the public the “12 on 12” Pop Up Art Gallery; a showcase for painting, sculpting, weaving, ceramics, cartoons, and more art forms at 13742 Michigan Ave.
The temporary gallery will be open from 5-10 p.m. on July 17, 24 and 31 directly across the street from Dearborn City Hall. The “12 on 12” Pop Up Art Gallery” is being funded by the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, and the Dearborn Community Fund is helping manage the gallery, according to Dearborn Community Fund Executive Director EmmaJean Woodyard.
“It’s been a good relationship (between the authority and fund),” Woodyard said. “We approached different artists, and they were receptive to this because most artists like the opportunity to show off their work.
“We looked for artists who like to do demonstrations, who will not be bothered if people ask them questions. We wanted artists who are outgoing, with an interest in sharing information with the public,” she said.
The name of the event refers to its 12 participating artists doing their demonstrating on U.S. 12 (Michigan Avenue). This is certainly the first pop-up art gallery to open in Dearborn, Woodyard said, with a couple others that might have opened already in Detroit, “but these are going on nationally” as a growing phenomenon. She thinks there will be more in Dearborn if this first pop-up gallery is successful.
“Personally, I’ve wanted to do this for a while now, because it makes use of empty space in business districts,” Woodyard said. “We look at it as an economic development tactic.”
Setting up pop-up galleries in vacant buildings gives people new ideas on how that space can be used, she said, and they add “another layer of interest” to an area, helping it make an attractive destination where people will want to come.
At the very least, Woodyard believes, this first “12 on 12” Pop Up Art Gallery will help prepare the way for the eventual planned conversion of Dearborn City Hall to Artspace when the city government moves to a new site down the road. It shows the east Dearborn area has active artists, she said, and that people there have an interest in the arts. That is why a symbiotic relationship is being promoted with the “Jazz on the Avenue” summer concert series in City Hall Park, by planning the concert performance dates and gallery opening hours to take place simultaneously.
“The concerts have been a large draw,” Woodyard said. “And we thought doing a tour of the gallery would be a thing for people to do while they’re waiting for the concert to start.”
Admission is free to the public. Visitors to the gallery will be able to interact with the artists, observe the creative process in action, purchase art works, and vote to select a People’s Choice Award.
Featured artists include painters Mohamad Bazzi, Daniel Cascardo, Lindsey Harnish, Ralph Hashoian, and Martine MacDonald. Other artists featured include sculptors Mark Beltchenko and Keith Coleman; cartoonist and graphic artist Sean Bieri; mixed-media artists Gwen Joy, Elise Mesner and Michael Ross; and the Henry Ford Community College Ceramics Club.
For more information on the “12 on 12” Pop-Up Gallery, contact the EDDDA office at (313) 943-3141 or visit www.EastDowntownDearborn.com. For more information on the Dearborn Community Fund, call (313) 943-5478 or visit www.dearborncommunityfund.org.