PowerArt! is a public art & design project that wraps the traffic signal boxes in downtown Ann Arbor, MI with vinyl-printed replicas of local artists’ work.

In partnership with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (AADDA) and the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission (AAPAC), The Arts Alliance is facilitated the selection and installation of artwork by local artists on power boxes throughout downtown Ann Arbor.

With a commitment to artistic quality and including the public in its public art and design projects, The Arts Alliance implemented a two-step selection process. For each of the three PowerArt! rounds, a call for art was issued to Washtenaw County-based artists and  at the same time, a call for a jury of art professionals and community members to select the top works. The jury then chose the top finalists for each call before the general public made the final selections through an online public voting process.

The final artist selections were printed and installed on to the power boxes at street intersections. Each artist received $1,450 for their artwork.

Community members and visitors alike have had great things to say about PowerArt!

  • This is seriously cool. What a perfect canvas!
  • Great work by these artists!  This is art that can be enjoyed by everyone…at an affordable price!
  • Just love them….Also, why just downtown? City neighborhoods would benefit from some attention.
  • Really nice! Hope these don’t invite vandalism (graffiti). Maybe the vinyl will be easier to clean off if vandals try to spray paint them. In the meantime, they look nice. 
  • This is an AWESOME idea!

Participating artists have enjoyed the results and been impressed with the installations saying:

  • Thank you for including me in this wonderful endeavor! I had so much fun and thoroughly enjoy all the boxes every time I walk through downtown – they’re all so amazing! It truly feels like I was a small part in something incredibly special.
  •  I’m really pleased with how my artwork looks on its box and how wonderfully it’s held up to weather.
  •  I love the project. All the power boxes turned out beautiful!

Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Art & Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts and The Arts Alliance’s Members & Donors.


Canoe Imagine Art!

Canoe Imagine Art is a public art project that celebrates the history and attributes of the HuronRiver and the City of Ann Arbor park system using repurposed canoes as inspiration. Four works of art were selected through a juried and public vote process for installations in City of Ann Arbor parks along the Huron River during the summer of 2015. Each selected artist was awarded a $5,000 honoraria plus recycled canoes for their installation. Canoe Imagine Art is supported by the City of Ann Arbor’s Public Art Commission and Parks and Recreation Department and the Michigan Council for Art and Cultural Affairs.

Canoe Imagine Art includes four temporary installations along the Huron River in Ann Arbor. The photos below feature these installations:

  • Broadway Park: Turbine by Missouri State Western University artists J. Neil Lawley, Heather Andrews, Jake Proffit, Dustin Lafromboise and Hausman Metal Works.
  • Gallup Park: Canoe Fan by Victoria Fuller
  • Bandemer Park: Tulip by Ray Katz
  • Island Park: Canoe-vue by Jeff Zischke

Further collaboration for this project comes from: Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Department, Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Huron River Watershed Council, Stantec, Saladino Construction, Community Music School of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor District Library and Wolverine Rental.

Full Image Here
About J. Neil Lawley

Full Image Here
About the Artist

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About the Artist

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About the Artist

Reimagine Washtenaw Public Art and Design Plan

Commissioned by Washtenaw County, The Arts Alliance developed the ReImagine Washtenaw Public Art & Design Plan in accordance with the HUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grant as a part of the ReImagine Washtenaw Corridor Improvement Study.

The ReImagine Washtenaw Avenue Public Art & Design Plan was informed by 11 community focus groups and two public surveys administered by The Arts Alliance from 2013-2014 in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti Township, the City of Ypsilanti and Pittsfield Township.  More than 750 community members participated.

Outlined in the plan are the findings from the focus groups and surveys as well as recommendations for future art and design along the Washtenaw Corridor, including the following:

  • Public art & design is important. The surveys showed that 80% of participants believe that public art and design is an important element of a rich and vibrant community.
  • Community involvement and transparency for public art & design. A community driven project that allows individuals to have input and participate with the process is essential to the success of installed pieces and design elements. Future public art and design projects should also consider how local community members can and will interact with the [artwork or design elements] – both during the creation process and upon completion.
  • Identify and publicize existing public art & design elements. Community education through a variety of avenues… should strive to identify and celebrate the public art and design elements that currently exist and encourage community members, developers and designers to think more creatively about how unique design elements – from paint colors to bike racks – can enrich the county by making public spaces more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing.
The Ann Arbor Housing Commission

The Ann Arbor Housing Commission appreciates that everyone deserves to live with dignity, in safety and with beauty. As plans are made for the North Maple Estates and Lower Platt neighborhood redevelopments, the Commission contracted The Arts Alliance to help current residents impact the design of their future home: a pleasant, healthful, artful and green residential community that reflects their history, culture and dreams.

With the goals of being respectful and sensitive to the complexity of moving residents to temporary housing during construction, building trust and helping the residents impact the design of their future home, The Arts Alliance conducted resident gatherings, including cultural advisors, translators, storytellers, photographers, videographers and visual artists to allow residents to share their stories and provide input for the developments’ public art and design. Based on the residents’ input, The Arts Alliance created the Ann Arbor Public Housing Public Art and Design Infusion Plan, to inform the design and construction of the North Maple Estates and Lower Platt neighborhoods.

MI Art Tours App

MIart Tours App

Virtually explore public art throughout Michigan and navigate guided tours, including the Canoe Imagine Art and PowerArt! projects using the MI Art Tours app brought to you by The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA).

MI Art Tours will help you discover public outdoor works of art and culture in Michigan and show you the work nearest to you. It will provide information about the artists, as well as photos of the piece. The app will also give you directions on how to travel to see the work, by car, bike, or walking. MI Art Tours expert curators, like the Arts Alliance, have put together “tours” to help you discover work from around the entire state including Canoe Imagine Art and PowerArt! tours.

Download the app today.

Creative Washtenaw - The Arts Alliance