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The Plastic Bag Store Set to Open in Ann Arbor

The Plastic Bag Store Set to Open in Ann Arbor

Location announced for three-week pop-up that is part installation, part film…and all plastic bags

Image courtesy of Rundle Mall

A grocery store with products made entirely of plastic bags is coming to Ann Arbor’s prominent 777 building, as part of a partnership between the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), University Musical Society (UMS), and the Graham Sustainability Institute

The installation will turn the unoccupied first-floor space of the building on South State and East Eisenhower Parkway into a colorful, immersive exhibition that slyly doubles as an eco-warning. 

The Plastic Bag Store is a custom-built public art installation and film experience that uses humor, craft, and a critical lens to question our culture of consumption and convenience — specifically, the enduring effects of our single-use plastics. 

A work of activism and art, The Plastic Bag Store features shelves stocked with thousands of original items meticulously sculpted by hand — produce and meat, dry goods and toiletries, cakes and sushi rolls — all made from discarded single-use plastics harvested from streets and garbage dumps.

The Plastic Bag Store opens Tuesday, January 17 and closes Sunday, February 5. Several times a day, the store transforms into an immersive, dynamic stage for a series of short films in which inventive puppetry, shadow play, and intricate handmade sets tell the darkly comedic and sometimes tender story of how the overabundance of plastic waste we leave behind might be misinterpreted by future generations — and how what we value least may become our most lasting cultural legacy.

On Saturday, January 21 and Saturday, January 28, The Plastic Bag Store will offer special family hours, including drop-in activities for kids, from 10 am to 12 noon. 

Award-winning theater and film director Robin Frohardt is known for her rich aesthetic and highly detailed constructions. Her narrative-based film, puppetry, and sculpture create richly detailed worlds that make the magic of the mundane and highlight the trivialities of daily life. 

This theatrical experience,which uses humor and satire to shed light on the pitfalls of conspicuous consumption, is made possible by a number of generous sponsors: Title Sponsors Rachel Bendit and Mark Bernstein, as well as the U-M Arts Initiative; Principal Sponsors Max Wicha and Sheila Crowley, the University of Michigan Credit Union Arts Adventures program, and an anonymous gift to support programming focused on a sustainable environment; and Supporting Sponsor Destination Ann Arbor. The 777 space is provided courtesy of principal sponsor Oxford Companies.

The Plastic Bag Store launches UMS’s No Safety Net 3.0, a three-week festival that uses performance and installation art to address issues relevant to our time, including the environment and climate change, forced migration, and our unspoken private lives.

Tickets and additional information are available at umma.umich.edu and ums.org/PlasticBagStore. Student ticket pricing is also available. 

The Plastic Bag Store

Part Installation. Part Film. All Bags.

View Exhibition