When Robb Woulfe, the executive director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, approached me about displaying some of my Festival images in the Power Center lobby, my exact response was “Are you kidding me?” When I was running around photographing last year’s Festival, I figured the images would be used for publicity and development, but I never imagined them hanging in the Power Center.
It’s enormously affirming — I put my heart into shooting the Festival last year, and loved every minute of it. And the invitation to exhibit my images at a venue like the Power Center was totally unexpected (and thrilling). I can’t thank the Festival enough for the opportunities they’ve given me!
Robb’s vision was to transport the colors and life from Top of the Park to the otherwise Death Star–like walls of the Power Center; he was convinced that the photographs I took last year would fulfill that goal and bring an appropriately celebratory tone to the Festival’s 25th Anniversary. But the images, he warned, would need to be pretty large to make an impact in that space, which is a wee bit huge.
Of course I accepted this amazing honor and opportunity, even though I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d pull it off. Yes, I’ve put up shows at Sweetwaters and Kerrytown, but exhibiting at the Power Center is an altogether different animal. The available display area in the Power Center lobby is a long, curved, concrete wall; it measures 12 feet high by 82 feet long. After pondering that rectangular expanse of concrete for several hours, I finally came to the terrifying conclusion that my pieces would need to be about 4x6 feet — feet, I say!
Choosing and organizing the images in the show was the next challenge. I spent days (along with my trusty sidekick) pouring over the several hundred shots I took last year. Ultimately, we arrived at a collection of nine pieces that show some of the many peak moments from last summer. Most importantly, they convey the unabashed emotional connection between the performers and their audience.
Robb sure knows how to promote an artist. I love this copy he wrote for my reception postcard:
Through the lens of a camera, and with the eye of an artist, Myra Klarman captures the beauty and magic of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. This year, the Festival is pleased to present a special exhibit entitled outside.IN, a collection of large-scale prints by Myra Klarman that reflect the energy, vibrant color, and joyful spirit of the Festival.
If you’re still reading this, you deserve a special prize: Come to the artist reception (Friday, June 20, 2008 at the Power Center). You can see the exhibited works and join us afterward at Top of the Park! The exhibit will run from June 17 through July 6, 2008.
Penultimate plug: I’ll be shooting the Festival again this year. People have asked me whether Strange Fruit (the pole people) will be returning. The answer is no. But don’t despair! The Dream Engine will be this year’s special attraction at Top of the Park. Check out Heliosphere and Conedancers. (Get complete Top of the Park info.)
Last plug: My Dear Disco will be performing at Top of the Park on Opening Night, Friday, June 13 (7–8:30pm). Come shake your groove thing!