Prjct OMNi is raw. Emotional. Difficult. Imperfect.
The art installation inside downtown Traverse City’s Warehouse MRKT is the first project by art curator and dealer Chris Sims. “Initially, my main goal was just to create a dialogue,” he says, “but I realized I couldn’t have a dialogue without experience.”
So Chris worked on building the Prjct OMNi brand online and did a series of interviews with artists from around the world. As his project gained a following on social media, he wanted to take it a step further. He met with Dan and Meredith Falconer, owners of Warehouse MRKT, and proposed a contemporary art installation to showcase work outside of art galleries.
They loved the idea.
“I wanted to bring in artwork that’s challenging, edgy and powerful,” Chris says. “Artwork that you’re not going to find anywhere else. My goal was to influence a different taste for art. Whether people hate it or love it, are inspired or disgusted. I wanted people to have a reaction.
Photo by Tyler Franz
Similar to an art museum, each piece is accompanied by a description of the work. Chris worked with Kim Hänninen, the registrar at The Dennos Museum Center, to design and create the labels. A price sheet and booklet about the artists are also available for visitors to use while exploring the installation. “I wanted everything to be available from the artists themselves to the work,” Chris says.
Walking through the exhibit with Chris, it’s easy to see and hear his passion. He talks about each piece and artist as if he’s known them for years instead of a few months. Bradford Lynn likes to mesh the real world with his dreams; Veronica Mortellaro has chronic pain and uses watercolors to create a sense of freeness; John Reuss highlights the dark sides of our psyche like loneliness, anxiety and alienation. Their stories are intimate.
“I had something I wanted to say but didn’t know how to bring it out,” Chris says. “I realized this wasn’t something I could say alone. I needed other artists. They help me express what I want to do for the city. We’re in this together.”
Photo by Tyler Franz. From left: Meredith Falconer, Chris Sims, Dan Falconer
All of the artwork shown in Prjct OMNi is available for sale. As pieces sell, they’re replaced with new work by the same artist. On November 30, the current exhibit will rotate out and a new group of artists will be featured in the ongoing installation.
Over the next several months, Chris will also be working on a new project. Though he isn’t revealing his idea yet, Chris did say it will be more extensive than the warehouse project. “It’s going to take a lot of communal effort and push from the city,” he says. “I want to try and turn people’s heads in a different direction. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Take a tour of the Warehouse MRKT in this MyNorth Media video!
A free raffle is being held by Prjct OMNi for “Together Alone,” a piece by Cinta Vidal Agulló of Barcelona, Spain. See her work and enter here.
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