Lately I’ve been spending a whole lot of time on the hot, hot streets of Ann Arbor, looking at some cool traffic box wraps that have just been installed all over town. After the chaos and cacophony of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs last week (which features the work of excellent and not-so-excellent artists from around the country) it’s a pleasure to see work by accomplished local talent while walking leisurely down the now-deserted streets.
The PowerArt! project is sponsored and managed by Arts Alliance in co-operation with the Downtown Development Authority and Ann Arbor Public Arts Commission. Not only do these easily cleanable vinyl-wrapped traffic boxes add interest to the urban streetscape, they also -sneakily- discourage graffiti and tagging. I’ve seen projects like this in my travels, most recently in Seattle and Minneapolis, and now power box wraps have come to our fair city. The project features images from Washtenaw County artists, some of whom I know (I’m one of them) and some I’d never heard of.
I was curious so I googled them. Where have I been? What I discovered was that Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County is home to an amazing group of accomplished arts professionals that are keeping a very low profile. There’s a science illustrator, an accomplished museum conservator, a comic and children’s book author and a caricaturist (just to name a few). There are also numerous artists who teach at all levels as well as working hard on creating their own art.
I think it’s some kind of a crime that many of these creatives haven’t (up to now) been widely known and appreciated in their home town. So in the coming months I will be periodically interviewing them for RustbeltArts.com. Stay tuned!
I will be going on vacation in the next two weeks, and since this is a one-horse operation there will be a short hiatus in my posts. If you want to read about Michigan arts and artists while I’m gone, there’s a good story by former MLive arts reporter Jenn McKee about PowerArt! project from Culture Source . There’s also an interesting interview with Bruce Worden (the afore-mentioned science illustrator) here