Aquarium Gallery

Past City Galleries

Location: Ashley Street, near the intersection with Liberty, in downtown Ann Arbor

The Aquarium Gallery is comprised of a large window space measuring approximately 6′ x 6′ x 1′ located near the corner of S. Ashley and W. Liberty in downtown Ann Arbor. The mission of the Aquarium is to provide an accessible venue for artists to experiment and create site-specific installations. Artists are invited to fill the gallery in its entirety, and create a work of art that can engage with a street-level audience. Support for the Aquarium Gallery generously provided by the Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation.

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Check out some of our past installations:

Within / Without by Cody VanderKaay

December 16, 2019 - February 1, 2020

Dirtbags and Champagne by Aaron Hillebrand

October 21 - November 30, 2019

Heart of Glass by Carolyn Reed Barritt

September 22 - October 19, 2019

What Would a Glitch Be Like? by Chelsea O'Hayer

August 19 - September 21, 2019

Large Blue Thing by Jane Reiter

July 14 - August 17, 2019

Silence, by Mônica Lóss

May 16 - July 13, 2019

Carne Mysterioso, by Paul Valadez

May 13 - June 15, 2019

The Sun Gospel, by Leanna Hicks

April 15 - May 11, 2019

Pictures Under Pictures, by Tory Wright

March 16 - April 13, 2019

Tall Grass Fractals, by Allison Svoboda

February 11 - March 10, 2019

The Moon Was A Stones Throw, by Dylan Strzynski

January 10 - February 7, 2019

Rabbit Terrarium, by Elyse Gambino

December 4 - January 2, 2019

Silkie, by Lavinia Hanachiuc

November 5 - December 3, 2018

A Room in a Window, by Moritz Lehner

July 8 - August 4, 2018

Suspended Ideation, by Kari Thurman

June 10th - July 7, 2018

Display Series No. 9, by Jing Ouyang

May 13 - June 9, 2018

U awake?, by Maria Giancola (Bloomfield Hills, MI)

April 15 - May 12, 2018

Uppercase O in Franklin Gothic Demi red and black, by Tohru Kanayama (Dexter, MI)

March 18 - April 14, 2018

Tiny Universe, by Emily Schnellbacher (Royal Oak, MI)

February 17 - March 17

No Exemptions, by Caroline Del Giudice (Detroit, MI)

January 14 - February 10, 2018

Family Album, by Ani Garabedian

December 17 - January 13

Untitled, by Cathy Jacobs

November 19 - December 16

Untitled, by Jacqueline Upshur

October 22 - November 18

Blue Space, by Amanda Joy Brown

August 5 - September 9

Blue Space is a continuation of a body of pattern-based landscapes. These pieces flow from a recalled consciousness. Memory reduces, embellishes, and reconfigures, creating an internal reality that draws from tangible experience. Working from memory tends uncover the most poetic characteristics of a moment, synthesis of sensory experience, a record of having been present. from Having grown up in Michigan, I was inspired to create a piece that drew from its landscape, particularly its Great Lakes.

The Iguana House, by Tom Carey

June 25 - August 5

Moving Mindset, by Michelina Risbeck

June 4 - June 23

... In Translation, by Barbara Brown & Howard White

April 30 – June 3, 2017

In the Rocky Mountains, I wept, by Jennifer Belair (Detroit)

March 26 to April 29, 2017

"This installation pays homage to the great American West through a personal lens. As a born and raised Midwesterner, the Rocky Mountains and western United States struck a special chord. For two summers I have retreated to the magical land to pursue different unconventional employment opportunities."

Nature In Our Image by Elize Jekabson & Jessica Tenbusch

January 23 to January 28, 2017 - Humans are animals that alter the environment for their own survival. The human habit of building is just as natural as the bird who creates a nest to raise it’s young or the ant who along with her sisters creates a teeming insect city. Humans, like other animals, are embedded in their ecosystem. Our interest in animal architecture led us to examine human-made materials and reintroduce them into the natural forms from which they were created. We reclaimed and recombined these materials to reflect the rest of the natural world in our image.

Elize Jekabson and Jessica Tenbusch share studio space at Ypsi Alloy Studios and began combining their practices in the summer of 2016. In that shared space, they began to see similarities between their work which led to working together. Both artists root their practices in material exploration and reflecting on the environment that surrounds them. Elize and Jessica both graduated from Eastern Michigan University and live and work in Ypsilanti, MI.

Installation by Camilla Oldenkamp

November 27, 2016 to January 7, 2017 - The divide separating theists and non-theists is growing stronger. As theists remain a part of the continuation of our world’s religious history, non-theists turn instead to science and humanism. Religion is a thread that runs through the millennia. It connects early Mesopotamia to modern humans and, on its way, transforms through ancient Egyptians, Early Hindus, and the Mayan Civilization. This thread never changes form, only appearance. It has maintained the same foundation since its beginning but transforms for each era it passes through. The tiny space allows for a unique twist on such an overwhelming topic. The limiting space allows for exciting new possibilities.

The Aquarium Gallery has been transformed into a beautiful glowing space that resembles the walls of a mosque; gold taking over the walls with depictions of patterns, both floral and geometric. The patterns, created with fragile gold leaf, glisten behind the window pane. The sacred purity of 24 carat gold leaf and sacrilege imitation gold leaf exist side-by-side, unable to determine the imposter. While the geometric patterns that decorate Islamic mosques are unique to its religion, the use of gold is an embellishment every religion is guilty of.

Nothing But Blue Skies by Carolyn Reed Barritt

October 9 - Nov 28, 2016 - This sculpture is approximately 6 x 6 x 2.5 feet and is made of wood, wire, mono filament, gesso, ink, Molotow Urban Fine Art spray paint, blue LED bulbs and a fan.


Sept 4 - Oct 8

Qu’ils Mangent de la Brioche (Let Them Eat Cake) by Mike Sivak

August 2, 2016 - This piece, an installation in the Aquarium Gallery at the Ann Arbor Art Center, reflects my impressions on the current political and cultural situation in the United States. I’m not going to get into detail regarding my views (they’re most likely obvious) as I prefer to let the piece speak for itself.

Fortune Favors the Brave by Julie Renfro

June 24, 2016 - Who knew making art could be so exhausting? Today was installation day for the Aquarium Gallery window at Ann Arbor Art Center, and after four hours of lifting, placing, touch up painting, and hanging stuff, my feet hurt, the dodgy right knee hurts, and pretty much the whole bod is just plain ol’ tired. But, drum roll please, Fortune Favors the Brave is finally UP! - Read about the entire installation process in Julie's blog...

A050216-242 by AJ Cooke

On Monday, May 2, 2016 at 2:42 PM (A050216-242), photographs were taken of the white walls in the Aquarium Gallery. These images were digitally decoded from the light and shadow that fell on the [blank] walls, and reconstructed into a taxonomy of color. The series of visual information demonstrates an objective collection of data which has been subjectively altered by the viewer, the artist, the camera, and even the time of day from which the initial information was recorded. Click on the button below and read AJ Cooke's entire artist statement.

The Art of Surprise by Art Camp kids

Scale Invariance by Joshua Mason and Brittany Stecker-Mason

A window onto the street is a useful model where the arrangement can be viewed as a layering or sedimentary deposit. By making abstract geology objects constructed out of industrial materials we call attention to humanmade ‘techno-fossils’ as artifacts of the anthropocene. Stratigraphy informs the approach to ideas, methods and forms. We use the color black as inspired by the ‘black mat’ layer of the Younger Dryas impact: color provokes the question of whether or not we are living in an age that is just as geologically ‘instantaneous’ as the catastrophic transition points of the past. We want to open up questions bearing upon the archive, the non-human, catastrophe and extinction.

"Where the Boys Are" A Video Sculpture by Scott Northrup

An installation in collaboration with the Ann Arbor Film Festival

"Baby, it's cold inside," by Dagmara Genda

Ann Arbor Art Center's Aquarium Gallery was transformed into a freezer filled with snow. Flipping the title of the 1944 duet inside out, Baby, it's cold outside, the piece alludes to the often alienating interior space of the gallery and its various attempts at using public address to reach a wider audience.

"An Unchartable Truth," by Mike Sivak

An Unchartable Truth incorporates many processes including mold making, casting, woodworking, using found objects, digital printing, and lots of painting.

Sculpture Installation by Rebecca Pugh

"The Party," by Robin Wilt

Sculpture installation by Kate Robertson

Installation featuring the work of the Ceramics Instructors of the Ann Arbor Art Center

Installation by Tim Haley