Creativity under Pressure: The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts Host Urbanity 24 Hour Challenge
My husband and I love the Food Network – in particular, Chopped. We even have a running competition to guess the mystery ingredients, pausing the DVR to yell “maraschino cherries,” “grape jelly,” or my go-to “figs” at the screen. I’ve been right only once – catfish. He’s never been right, but will claim partial credit for 3 or 4. What we love about the show is the challenge of producing something amazing under such short time restrictions. Homemade pasta in 30 minutes? Risotto in the appetizer round? Madness! One organization adopts this same idea with their artists: 24 hours to create a masterpiece.
The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, which promotes understanding and creation of contemporary art, is celebrating their 35th anniversary this year with a multidisciplinary series, “Urbanity” This series runs from April 13 to July 5 and features exhibitions, seminars, films, workshops and more – exploring what it means to live in an urban setting.
Co-Curator Stephanie Wooster talks about the Urbanity exhibition, as part of a multidisciplinary series investigating the complex dynamics of living peacefully and sustainably together. In celebration of UICA’s 35th anniversary, the Urbanity exhibition is inspired by the fact that nearly 80% of Americans now live in urban areas. With the advent of suburban sprawl through the middle/latter part of the 20th century, we have lost the skill for co-habitation. One result is the messy discourse framed and exacerbated by a host of socio-economic issues. Urbanity reflects on these complex dynamics of living together in an urban environment, asking the question: What does it mean to be a city-dwelling species? -Source
Patrons can watch films about a homeless community formed in a train tunnel or the urban farming phenomenon, design their own custom sneakers or create their own street art. Regional artists are involved, participating in a “24 Hour Challenge” in which teams will be given 40 feet of vertical space and 24 hours to create a piece of art that will remain on display throughout “Urbanity.”
What will they produce with this unlimited creativity, fueled by a lack of time and eventually, lack of sleep? It’ll be interesting to see what teams of artists and caffeine can come up with. Will they play it safe and create something good, but not necessarily great? Or maybe they will push themselves to produce something striking, where the observer thinks, “there’s no way they made this in a day;” because if you can pull off a pineapple and gorgonzola cheese ice cream in the dessert round, you’re a shoe-in to win the show.
The mission of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts is to stimulate transformative human experiences fueled by extraordinary creative activity.
The New UICA
The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts’ brand new facility is Michigan’s largest contemporary arts center and a dynamic laboratory for the advancement of the art of our time. Through compelling exhibitions, presentations, studio programs and youth development, the UICA actively challenges both artists and audiences to new levels of dialogue, creative pursuit, reflection, and illumination.
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