Artopia, an immersive art pop-up experience, is coming to Phoenix
For two months in 2021, more than 20,000 people lined up outside a 32,000 square foot warehouse in Chicago for a new exhibit: Artopia.
Now the immersive pop-up art experience is coming to Phoenix. Tickets are on sale now for the March 2022 exhibition on the Fever event page.
The concept – created by Superfruit LLC owners and entrepreneurs Dominque Brown and John Schroeder – will feature more than 15 local artists from across the valley in a large-scale, immersive, technological experience. Murals, interactive projection mapping, and sound-reactive LEDs are all part of the Phoenix installation.
Brown said Phoenix’s burgeoning art scene makes the city a logical next step for Artopia. The facility is coming to town in March at a location yet to be announced.
“Artists here are booming,” Brown said. “Roosevelt Row is exhilarating. We wanted to go to a city that we thought was super strong and that was it. Phoenix is growing so fast.
Brown said the immersive exhibit would be relevant to Phoenix’s art scene and culture.
“The last thing we want to do is walk into a city rich in culture and showcase what we think is art,” Brown said. “We want to be true to this city. We want to elevate the artists in the city and amplify their messages.
What is Artopia?
It’s like stepping into another world, Brown said.
It’s a mix of arts, technology and immersion, where cocktails and creativity meet. After a self-guided tour of the facility, guests can step into the Artopia Lounge to enjoy craft cocktails and get to know the artists.
“Artopia is how we envision a planet,” Brown said. “And this planet was inhabited by really creative people and artists and it’s bright and colorful and its culture. Those people were wiped out of this planet and taken over by nature, but the technology remains. We wanted to create an environment in which people can walk and move around and which looks like this.
More than 15 local artists will present works in the installation, with street artists, light installation creators, muralists, projection mapping artists and sculptor artists leading the event. Local performers will be announced in mid-February, Brown said.
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Large-scale art installations produced by Superfruit will showcase local artwork. Divided into seven different “environments,” the pop-up will include, among other things, a 360-mirror projection tunnel and a 12-foot black-light mushroom installation. At least 15 artistic installations will be presented in “Artopia”.
The pop-up will also feature “After Dark,” a separate experience that kicks off at 9 p.m. After touring the facility, guests can enjoy burlesque, poetry, and fire performances accompanied by a craft cocktail menu.
Artopia creators started producing events in Chicago
It all started 10 years ago when Brown produced his first event, “Porn and Chicken.” The concept – “a haven for all things” – has gone global. The Monday night party loaded with chicken and world-class live DJs toured all 50 states – and even made it to China.
“Being a person of color and queer identification, I’ve always felt the need to create spaces for people to feel safe, uplifted, and free from judgment,” Brown said. “That’s sort of when I started producing events.”
Schroeder, Brown’s business partner, has also fabricated art installations across the country, Brown said. The event planner and facility creator joined forces, making them the perfect partner to start Superfruit LLC.
They have worked together to create art installations and pop-ups for some of Chicago’s biggest brands including Lollapalooza, Spring Awakening Music Festival, North Coast Music Festival and Red Bull.
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How a conversation about the pandemic got things started
One night during the pandemic changed everything. While having a drink with Brown after months of self-isolation, Schroeder brought his idea for a pop-up event joined by artists from the local community.
“We sat in that kitchen, drinking and talking and chatting for hours and hours and hours,” Brown said. “I slammed my hands on the table and said, ‘I’ve got $25,000, let’s do this. “”
The next day they went to the bank and took the money out, Brown said with a laugh. The goal was to help artists get back to work, while exposing communities to local creatives. Their first pop-up in Chicago featured 15 local artists.
“Big conglomerates take these things as pop-ups and they come and they just come to a city and they don’t consult with anybody in the city or build what they do around the specific culture of that city,” said Brown. “It was important that we add to the city rather than take away from the city. Artopia’s true identity is to enrich the artistic community.
“Artopia: the immersive artistic experience”
What: Immersive pop-up exhibition.
When: Begins March 18. Expected to run through May.
Or: Location to be determined.
Tickets: Starting at $29. VIP tickets available.