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Project Team: Grace Vandervliet, Mark Tucker, U-M Students, and You!

Gallery: Irving Stenn Jr Family Gallery

Open: May 14–September 9, 2022


What Can ‘A Pile of Stuff’ Truly Become?


Unlike any art museum exhibition you’ve seen, FUN will transform before your very eyes as it becomes what you — our community, our students, and our visitors — make of it.

Over the course of this exhibition, UMMA’s glass-walled Stenn gallery will become a creation space. Piles of materials and supplies will form the backdrop of a collaborative, summer-long free artists’ workshop. A place to create, experiment, glue, paint, and get messy.

What goes on here?

In this experimental space, you can play and create alongside resident artists, who are bringing to life paintings and other objects by turning them into huge, interactive sculptures. We are working together to decide the exhibition’s design and concepts as we go. Come join in the fun!

What Can I Do?


Observe how artists choose and combine materials

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Join in and try a task! Everyone can do it, and guides will be onsite to chat about the process

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Get curious. Ask questions — about the art, about the process, about the people

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Take your experience with you to other galleries, find inspiration, ask questions, and keep having fun with creativity

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What, exactly, will I be doing?
You are welcome to drop by the FUN workspace anytime the UMMA galleries are open. Student and community artists are reinterpreting objects in UMMA's collection as interactive sculptures. You can pair the FUN object with its inspiration and then explore the gallery to find the match. You're also invited to create a wearable sculpture out of colorful cardboard strips or add to our ever-growing communal luminary. No art experience necessary. All ages are welcome. Note that some tasks, such as stapling, require strong hands. Each task will be explained and guided by our resident artists.

What is the age range? Can my young kids come?
FUN is for everyone and guests of all ages. Some of our more complex tasks will need to be completed by older kids or adults. We recommend our Quick Visits for our youngest guests, who may not be able to concentrate on tasks for long stretches of time.

About Mark Tucker

Mark Tucker is the Art Director and visual arts instructor for students in the Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts program at U-M. He is also the founder of FestiFools and co-founder of FoolMoon, two annual public art festivals in Ann Arbor. For the past fifteen years Mark and his students—assisted by hundreds of community volunteers—have created the signature giant “puppets” and magical luminary sculptures for these two beloved events.

About Grace VanderVliet

Grace VanderVliet is the Curator for Teaching and Learning at University of Michigan Museum of Art. A former high school English teacher and art history instructor at Michigan State University, she enjoys thinking about how learning happens outside traditional classrooms. Through campus and community partnerships, she designs museum experiences for more than 6,000 visitors per year.


Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the U-M Office of the Provost, the UMMA Docent Program, the U-M Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts, the U-M School of Education, and the University of Michigan Credit Union Arts Adventures Program, UMMA's Lead Sponsor for Student and Family Engagement.