FUN at UMMA This Summer!

School is out, summer is in full swing and so is FUN, a unique project at University of Michigan’s Art Museum, UMMA. 

Mark Tucker, Art Director, instructor at the U of M Lloyd Scholars for the Writing and the Arts, and founder of Ann Arbor’s popular Festifool Festival, is holding his U of M class FUN at UMMA. Under his guidance and inspired by works of art from the museum’s collection, the students are creating large sculptures in the Irving Stenn, Jr. Family Gallery. 

But that’s not all. Audience participation is encouraged, by visitors of all ages, to help with their construction and painting. Through these interactions, and by connecting people within the community and the museum, the gallery has been transformed into a bustling creative hub where visitors can learn about materials, collaboration, and the process of making art, all in an informal (and…well, fun) environment. 

The curator of the FUN exhibit and of UMMA’s Museum Teaching and Learning, Grace VanderVliet, states “Many […] people feel intimidated by art and museums and aren’t sure how to talk about art, what it means, why it’s expensive, and how they should act around it. The curatorial idea behind FUN was to attempt an “exhibition in reverse.” Instead of having everything figured out and perfect when the show opened, we wanted to let visitors in on the process and learn together.” 

The Stenn Gallery has always held contemporary art exhibitions but more recently it has included performance and interactive exhibits. Ms. VanderVliet says “We’ve been discussing a shift toward co-curating projects with community partners; FUN is a step in that direction, inviting contemporary artists to imagine an outcome with the public.” 

It is in that capacity that Ann Arbor artist and educator Lavinia Hanachiuc became involved. Ms. Hanachiuc was invited, as a guest artist, to create a public event that would tie in with the exhibition, and be a part of the museum’s Feel good Fridays. 

Inspired by the Jaume Plensa sculpture (an enormous face with hands standing outside the museum entrance), Ms. Hanachiuc created a 12 foot tall sculpture that event visitors could carry. She also constructed colorful painted strips that participants could use for making their own sculptures, and wearable pieces such as hats. The event on June 10th was a big success, with 400 attendees, and culminated with a parade that marched to the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. 

Fun will be in progress throughout the summer. Go see for yourself what it’s all about or read about all UMMA has going on this summer, HERE

The Irving Stenn, Jr. Family Gallery, UMMA 525 S State S.t, Ann Arbor. Now through September 4th. Free and Open to the Public. 

Tuesday – Wednesday 11AM to 5PM
Thursday – Friday: 10AM to 8PM
Saturday – Sunday: 11AM to 8PM

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