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Photo by Bailey Holiver

Robin Frohardt: The Plastic Bag Store 

Robin Frohardt
Co-presented by UMMA, University Musical Society, and the U-M Graham Sustainability Institute. In partnership with the U-M Arts Initiative.
January 17 — February 5, 2023

Part Installation. Part Film. All Bags.

The Plastic Bag Store is a custom-built public art installation and immersive 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.

Shelves are 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 literally collected from streets and garbage dumps. Several times a day, the store transforms into an immersive, dynamic stage for a film 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.

Creator Robin Frohardt poses inside the Plastic Bag Store, an art installation by Robin Frohardt at the 777 Building, 777 E. Eisenhower Parkway in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

About the Artist

Robin Frohardt

Known for her rich aesthetic and highly detailed constructions, Robin Frohardt is an award-winning theater and film director. Her narrative- based film, puppetry and sculpture, use recognizable materials, often trash, to create richly detailed worlds that make magic of the mundane and highlight the trivialities of daily life. Her theatrical work has earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Creative Capital Award and multiple Jim Henson Foundation Grants. The Plastic Bag Store premiered in Times Square in 2020 and has since toured to Los Angeles, Chicago, Adelaide and Austin. Her films have been the official selections at The Telluride Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, The One Earth Film


The Plastic Bag Store is co-presented by the University Musical Society and the Graham Sustainability Institute with support from the U-M Arts Initiative.

Title Sponsors: Rachel Bendit and Mark Bernstein

Principal Sponsors: Max Wicha and Sheila Crowley and an anonymous gift supporting programming focused on climate change and a sustainable environment.

Supporting Sponsors: Ilene H. Forsyth Theater Endowment Fund

Media Partner: WEMU 89.1 FM