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The Alleyway Project


We are accepting submissions through July 11th at 11:59 PM EST.


The Ann Arbor Art Center’s (A2AC) Art in Public program has launched an open invitation to architects, designers, engineers, and artists from around the world to take part in The Alleyway Project: Activating Ann Arbor’s Alleys Through Art design challenge.

The Alleyway Project: Activating Ann Arbor’s Alleys through Art is a community outreach project presented by the A2AC Art in Public Program’s newest initiative, A2AC Alleys. It is a public art, architecture & design exhibit focusing on the urban fabric that exists in the space between our city’s buildings. The intent of the exhibit is to exemplify the potential of these spaces and the benefits they have in creating a healthy urban environment throughout Ann Arbor.

Alleyways throughout the United States are often disregarded as solely service corridors, lined with dumpsters, mechanical units, and fire escapes, with just enough room for a vehicle to pass between buildings. Historically, alleys were thought of much differently than the contemporary model. The origin of the word alley is late Middle English, stemming from the Old French word alee meaning “walking or passage”. In large cities predating the automobile, these “passages” were intended as a path for the ambulatory human being. Often times the scale and design of these spaces reflected this as well as the rich activity that occurred daily within them. Today, rarely do we find an alley that focuses on the human scale of walking from one place to the next. Even rarer is it that these pathways are a place for human activity.

We want to re-imagine Ann Arbor’s alleyways; to breathe life into these auxiliary spaces, to create a place, a destination in itself, and to demonstrate the value, the importance, and the potential of these between spaces and the significance they have to our built urban fabric.