Have you heard about the PoPuP art shows?

Artist: FRANCO, top left: Uhura, digital art, 28” x 22”, top right: Kidney Beans, digital art, 16” x 22”, bottom left: No Droids Allowed, Digital Art, 24” x 20”, bottom right: Sriracha, digital art, 16” x 20”
For sale, 1-Night Only: At PoPuP 3 Community Art Reception to benefit The Carrack Modern Art Gallery

One more sign of the artistic and cultural renaissance that is flourishing in Durham: have you heard about the PoPuP art shows? If the answer is no, it is not too late. The third PoPuP art show is in Durham this Friday, October 21st, at The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, 111 West Parrish Street.

Read about the Carrack’s current exhibit, up for two more days, here.

These wonderful PoPuP art shows are coordinated by Durham resident Adrian Schlesinger. They are designed to benefit either the venue hosting the work or another cause. Ms. Schlesinger takes no commission. But there is so much more to this art crowdsourcing brainstorm, read the whole story below from Clarion Content special guest columnist, Rebecca Yan.


Impromptu art shows at barber shops are a rarities, but they exist.

Excelsior Barber Shop in downtown, Durham hosted, PoPuP
, a curatorial project designed to benefit its venue.

Rory Golden, a visual artist from New York, got a haircut from Excelsior during his visit to Durham and saw that the barbershop could benefit from community arts support. Wanting to help, he came up with the idea to put together an art show to benefit the barbershop.

Golden met Durham based artist, Adrian Schlesinger, for the first time through an event at the Durham Arts Council (DAC) later that evening. Golden presented his popup idea to artists at the DAC and asked Schlesinger if she would assist him in organizing the show, as he would be out of town during until the day of the event. Adrian Schlesinger, a Bachelor of Fine Arts student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, agreed to take on the project and organized the show with Golden in only four days. The show successfully raised money for Excelsior and gathered the local community for a cause.

Schlesinger never would have thought that this single event would morph into her personal curatorial project and current thesis.

“I thought it was a one-time event, but people wanted it to continue,” said Schlesinger. “It took me almost a year before I thought I was ready for the second show [as the first show was organized in such a rush].”

She hosted the second show at Monkey Bottom Collaborative in downtown Durham to benefit The Scrap Exchange after the non-profit lost its space at the Liberty Arts Center due to an infamous roof collapse in May.

“I wanted to do something to help,” Schlesinger said.

She contacted Joe Galas, the founder of Monkey Bottom, about hosting a benefit show for The Scrap Exchange.

“Adrian approached us about it… [The show was to] benefit The Scrap Exchange, which we support too,“ Galas said.

Schlesinger said that the shows are open calls to artists and are usually made up of artists who “want to show their work in the community [and] beyond the confines of a museum or traditional gallery.”

PoPuP2 included both two-dimension and three-dimension art forms that ranged in price anywhere from $1 to $200. Artists freely price their own work and choose the percentage of the proceeds they want to accept and the percent that they wish to donate to the events’ selected cause.

“PoPuP is different in the sense that [it’s made up of] a variety of artists [that want] to show their artwork,” said Luis Franco, a visual activist based in Durham. “It [gives] people a chance…[especially the] young artists.”

Franco participated in the second show and donated 100 percent of his profit to help The Scrap Exchange.

“I just wanted to help out The Scrap Exchange,“ Franco said. “He sees the non-profit as an integral part of the Durham community and wanted to support it during its difficult transition to its new location.

Ann Woodward, the executive director of The Scrap Exchange, said that Schlesinger contacted the non-profit to do the fundraiser.

“She was passionate about helping us,” said Woodward.

The second show tripled in size, in terms of the number of art pieces, participants, musical performances and funding raised.

“Everyone was super excited about it, “ said Nicole Hogan, the assistant manager of The Scrap Exchange. “The art was amazing…. I was really pleased to see so many people interested in displaying their art and offering. I was surprised by how much of the community feel it had…[everyone was] introducing themselves and people were [coming from all parts of] Durham. “

“I would love to have future collaborations with her,” said Woodward. “I’m interested in people who are creative. I consider what she did… helping to keep us in operation… that’s why Durham is so great.”

Franco also helps Schlesinger with graphic design work such as flyers and posters to spread the word and plans to continue his voluntary support.

“As long as she keeps doing it, I’m interested in staying involved… especially because there’s a cause behind it.”

Schlesinger said that the shows are not confined to the Triangle, but can take place anywhere in the country, and that she is working to put on a show in New York City next year.

What started as a benefit show in a local barbershop in downtown Durham with thirty attendees might “pop up” in San Francisco one day. And why not? Durham is renown the world around, one of the New York Times “Forty-one Places to go in 2011, ours is an artistic culture on the move.

Schlesinger recalls Golden telling her that PoPuP was “her calling.”

“He was so encouraging and so supportive of me,” said Schlesinger. “It was magical…and I’m so thankful that we met that day.”

PoPuP3 will be a one-night only reception on October 21, 2011 in one of at The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, 111 West Parrish Street, inside the downtown Durham Loop. The show will benefit the venue and will be part of Durham’s Third Friday Art Walk events. Works by more than thirty artists will be represented and there will be musical performances by Shana Tucker, Kim Arrington, and Jeghetto (Tarish Pipkins). The event is free and open to the public.

ASHLEY FLORENCE, untitled work.
For sale, 1-Night Only: At PoPuP 3 Community Art Reception to benefit The Carrack Modern Art Gallery

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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