A weekend of fun and fundraising in Hamtramck

Arts / Article

Racers on their marks, for the 3rd Annual Pinewood Derby at Popps Packing.

Hamtramck was a hub of fun and fundraising last weekend, as two of the city’s venerated art institutions held head-to-head group shows in support of their innovative arts programming.

Popps Packing was the scene of the 3rd Annual Pinewood Derby—a chic update to the car race that was traditionally the mien of Boy Scouts fundraising. More than 200 base kits were distributed amongst Detroit and Hamtramck art stars, handy folks and children, and dozens of them returned to the mothership on Saturday, July 11th for a day of racing and an evening of silent auctioning to raise money for Popps.

The popular event remains a showcase of the most active and generous members of the creative community, as well as an opportunity for artists to boil their signature style down to race-car size. Cars of all sorts and materials were storming the track—some crashing and burning, and some cruising to victory and bragging rights. Bids were flying thick and fast for Clint Snider’s couple in a rowboat, Graem Whyte’s lucite-and-multimedia creation, and “Damien Hearse”—a dot-motif racer featuring a shark behind the wheel.

Artist Cedric Tai’s car wins its first lap at the 3rd Annual Pinewood Derby.

The range of high- and low-concept contributors included Jonathan Rajewski, Chris Riddell, Andrew Krieger, Michael McGillis, Scott Hocking, Shoshanna Utchenik, Ben Hall, Kylie Lockwood, Mary Fortuna, Tsz Yan Ng, Dylan Spaysky, Cedric Tai…and that’s just to name a few.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Hatch Art Collective was holding WAAATERMELON!!!,  an event curated by Alice V. Schneider, a follow-up to last year’s BANANA!  show at Public Pool. Twenty-three artists contributed works to the show—sharp eyes will notice a number of artists lending their talents to both organizations, including Andrew Krieger, with an amazing watermelon vessel housing a canoe floating in space; Mary Fortuna, with a hilarious melon-themed hula doll; and Cedric Tai, who contributed a highly conceptual deconstructed piece to WAAATERMELON and a derby car at Popps, despite being tasked with chaperoning five Glasgow-based artists in a group show over at Simone DeSousa gallery, which held its opening reception on Saturday night, as well. PD Rearick, better known for his exceptional photography, contributed a kinetic seed-spitting piece, which featured a series of ceramic watermelon seeds suspended on fishing line, creating a kind of stop-motion arc of a watermelon seed across the back of the gallery.

“Watermelon Girl” by Mary Fortuna.

If all that weren’t enough, there was also an artist talk and gallery tour for “Tensions” by Lynn Bennett-Carpenter at 9338 Campau. Her installation, which runs through July 18th, pushes the boundaries of fiber arts and expectations—not to be missed.

Let’s hope the good artistic people of Hamtramck took Sunday for some much-deserved rest, after all that action!