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Durham’s Carrack Modern Art Gallery hosts PoPup3 show

Adrian Schlesinger is putting a creative twist on thesis research.

PoPuP, a non-profit project which displays art in nontraditional places, serves as Schlesinger’s honors thesis as well as an innovative community outlet.

Each show takes place in a different location, varying from art galleries to barber shops.

The third installation, PoPuP3, will open Friday at the Carrack Modern Art Gallery in Durham.

“‘Pop up’ implies a guerilla-style art show,” Schlesinger, a UNC senior studying studio art, said.

“I’m creating a mobile gallery with an infinitely evolving body of artists displaying their work.”

The art selected for each PoPuP show is chosen indiscriminately on a first come, first serve basis, she said, allowing aspiring artists to display work alongside more reputable artists.

“At times it can take the ego out of what they do,” she said.

“Because it’s unjuried, it can even the playing field.”

Schlesinger began PoPuP in 2010 after helping execute an idea proposed at a Durham Arts Council meeting to host impromptu art shows that illuminate local artists.

As a non-profit project, PoPuP does not ask artists to pay a display fee. Instead, Schlesinger said she suggests artists give a percentage of their proceeds to a community beneficiary.

“The relative impermanence of the show, the lack of insurance and the fact that no one is getting paid for what they do allows for artists to get together and give back to themselves and the community,” Schlesinger said.

The first PoPuP gallery took place at Excelsior Barbershop in Durham, with proceeds benefitting the shop. The second was hosted by Monkey Bottom Arts Collaborative to benefit the Scrap Exchange of Chapel Hill.

This third installation will benefit the non-profit Carrack gallery, established in June to promote local artists.

John Wendelbo founded the Carrack after noticing the opportunities to exhibit art in Durham were limited to commercial galleries and museums.

“I set up the gallery the way I wanted a gallery to be, as an artist,” he said.

“I wanted a space for artists to have a show of their own with zero commission, no strings attached.”

The Carrack hosts only short-term art shows and is supported solely by donations.

“People who like the concept and idea donate enough to get the rent paid,” Wendelbo said.

“If we get more funds, we live another month.”

Wendelbo, whose original pieces will be featured in Friday’s show, said PoPuP3 will help the Carrack become more involved in the local art scene and the community at large — and bring in revenue to keep the gallery alive.

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“The support we’ve received has made it clear that this is a space that the community needs, and I am honored to be a part of it,” said Laura Ritchie, the Carrack’s gallery director.

Ritchie graduated from UNC in 2010 after studying studio art and art history.

She said she is excited to be able to help out a fellow Tar Heel.

“Adrian’s enthusiasm and work ethic are undeniable and she is someone I am thrilled to work with,” Ritchie wrote in an email.

Schlesinger said she may continue PoPuP after graduating, either as a for-profit business model, a grant-funded research project or a non-profit organization.

“With each show, I learn more and more,” she said.

“I haven’t reconciled the process yet — it’s an exploration.”

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