First Posted: 5/15/2012
The Pop Up Studio, a newly formed local association of creative professionals, is finding opportunity where few others would: The Pothole. Michael Muller, Ruth Koelewyn, Valerie Kiser and David Bosley formed The Pop Up Studio in September 2011 with the goal of having a different kind of art event every month. "The idea is that we would pop up in a different location for one night each month to offer guests a unique, creative, interactive experience," said Kiser. The group has held three events so far this year, titled "Sugar," "Soft" and "The Hunt". The group wanted to create another event in which everyone in the community could participate. "Everyone who has driven around NEPA can relate to potholes," said Bosley. "In a way, talking about potholes is a bonding experience for local residents," he said. "We want to take what is generally a negative word - pothole - put it into a different context for one night, and then celebrate that context," said Muller. He said this Saturday's all- ages, free Pop Up event, titled "Pothole: Positively Filling Negative Space," will take place at 8 p.m. in Sherwood Court, an alley between Olive and Vine Streets, and Colfax and Wheeler Avenues. It is recommended to park at nearby Nay Aug Park. To prepare for and promote the event, members of the group have been staging photo shoots at area potholes. That process evolved into a fun homework assignment for The Pop Up Studio, as well as their followers. Their very first picture was a pothole filled with ice cubes and beer bottles, transforming a lamented eyesore into a sudden oasis. "It was in front of a local nursing home. There was a woman waving to us from her room, laughing and beaming from ear to ear. She was obviously amused that something so utterly silly was happening outside," said Kiser. That picture was posted on their Facebook page to positive reviews, inviting others to follow suit. Since then, the group and fans have been posting photos of their own personal pothole arrangements to social media website Facebook. Koelewyn said that the pictures "help to momentarily disarm some of the negative connotations people have with potholes." She hopes that this makes the event "a little more light-hearted than our daily encounters with potholes, which are mostly frustrating." She said the May 19 event "will certainly not be a high-brow art function." Muller agreed, describing the event as more "down- to- earth experience than a typical gallery opening, as it will engage the guests and encourage movement and interaction."