Fifth Annual Free City Festival Opens August 18 at Chevy Commons With Pink Smoke

The fifth annual Free City festival launches August 18 at 5 pm with the lighting of 200 fused pink flares, creating a gigantic puffy cloud of pink smoke by Brooklyn-based light artist Raphaele Shirley, a protégé of the pioneering Fluxus artist Nam Jun Paik. This is the last year the event takes place on the final undeveloped parcel of the Chevy Commons, expected to be completed in 2018. For a brief weekend, Free City turns this rough former industrial site into an enchanting place of discovery, filled with live music by all local bands, beer and wine, food trucks, unexpected works of light art, ecology-based installations, experimental vehicles, and inflatable structures, and surprise performances.

The 2017 festival features the biggest line-up of local bands to date, including Mercy Beach (Rock), Olivia Millerschin (Indie), Your Gracious Host (indie power pop), Noah Bruner Band (Rock), Mad Anthony and the Dead Serious, Lunar (experimental ambient) on Friday night; and Damnsel (punk rock), Five Ninety Five (Alternative/Indie), Waiting For Rain, Wax//Wane (post rock instrumental), Big Donut, Antonio Padilla (classic rock, country), and Goldblum on Saturday.

This year’s festival invited musicians, artists, designers, scientists, ecologists, and engineers to explore the theme of Ecology + Technology through interactive installations, metabolic projections, murals, inflatable structures, screen prints, dance, citizen science, home-made vehicles, and other emerging fields at the intersection of art, ecology, and technology.

Artists and engineers contributing work are Tzarinas of the Plane (Detroit), Matthias Neumann (Brooklyn), Pauly Everett (Flint), Nick Tobier (Detroit), A2D Dance Company (Detroit), Sandra Branch (Flint), Ryan Gregory (Flint), James Everhart (Flint), Michael Flynn (Ann Arbor), FIG Projects (Montreal), Pierre Jean Giloux (Paris), Raphaele Shirley (Brooklyn) Amelie Marzec (New York), Jim Cohen (Flint), Rodney Campbell (Flint), Steve Coy (Flint), Spencer Lippert (Detroit), Adam Frelin (Troy, NY), Peter Pawlicki (Sterling Heights), Virginia Melnyk (Buffalo), Paolo Pedini (Detroit), Melisa Morgan (Detroit/ Flint), Desiree Duell (Flint), Jonathan Rule (Ann Arbor), Tomie Seo (Japan), Jan Tichy (Chicago), Dennis Summers (Torrean, NM), Michael Styczynski (Detroit), Stanzi Vaubel (Buffalo), Ariel Sammone (Flint), Jay Rowland (Flint), and Rebecca Smith (Ann Arbor).

Dates: Aug. 18 – 19, 2017, 5 pm – 11 pm
Where: Chevy Commons at Stevenson

For more information, contact:
Joe Schipani, 810-820-0275
Stephen Zacks, 917-412-1926

With support from Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts, Greater Flint Arts Council, and Black Rock Arts Foundation.

Free City 2017: Ecology & Technology

Tzarinas of the Plane, Procession Home
Raphaele Shirley, Pink Smoke
Brightmoor Makers, Water Cycle & Company
Mike Styczynski, Sensing Bicycle Project
Pierre-Jean Giloux, Invisible Cities # Part 1 # Metabolism
Matthias Neumann, Pavilion (basics)
Pauly Everett
Adam Frelin, Breathing Lights
Ana Morcillo Pallares + Jonathan Rule, Deploy
Stanzi Vaubel, Indeterminacy Festival
Melisa Morgan, Libertea
FIG Projects, Flint World
Rebecca Smith, Color Tactics
Tomie Seo, The Chamber of Bottled Mankinds
Jim Cohen, Plant Communication, Personified
Spencer Lippert, It Begins With a Bench
Jan Tichy, Beyond Streaming
Dennis Summers, The Crying Post
Electric Bulldog
Peter Pawlicki, Beacon, 2016
Peter Pawlicki, Labyrinth, 2015
Rodney Campbell, Three-Wheeled Electric Vehicle, 2016
Paolo Pedini, mural, 2016
Ryan Gregory, Sound Object Found Object, 2014
Roland Graf, Michael Flynn, Nick Tobier, Flint Runway
Amelia Marzec, Weather Center for the Apocalypse
Antonio Padilla
Wax/ Wane
Waiting for Rain
Five Ninety-Five
Big Donut
Mad Anthony and the Dead Serious
Noah Bruner Band
Your Gracious Host
Olivia Millerschin
Mercy Beach


In August 2017, the fifth annual Free City festival will address themes of ecology and technology, inviting collaborations between artists, designers, scientists, ecologists, and engineers that explore environmental remediation, interactive installations, citizen science, organizing tools, wearable technology, DIY robotics, and other emerging fields at the intersection of art, ecology, and technology. Free City 2017 will be the last year of the event at the Chevy Commons prior to its final phase of landscaping, which will transform this former manufacturing site into a shared public space for the entire city. Flint Public Art Project is proud to have supported the City of Flint‘s efforts to reimagine this EPA brownfield for the use of residents.

Dates: Aug. 18-19, 2017

To send proposals for projects, email us by March 1st, 2017 at with 100-word descriptions, sample photos, and budgets including artist’s fee, labor, and materials of no more than $1,000.

Free City is produced by Flint Public Art Project and Amplifier Inc. with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Greater Flint Arts Council’s Parade of Festivals.



Free City 2016: Motion and Play

The 2016 Free City festival takes motion and play as its theme, inviting installations, sculptures, projections, and performances employing movement of objects and people through unexpected, unexplainable, and uncanny means. In its investigation of the phenomenology of motion, Free City 2016 invites artists and participants to ask: How do we move? For what purpose?

Free City 2016: Motion & Play is supported by the Greater Flint Arts Council’s Festival of Parades and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Warhol Foundation’s objective is to “foster innovative artistic expression and the creative process by encouraging and supporting cultural organizations that in turn, directly or indirectly, support artists and their work,” according to its mission. “The Foundation is focused primarily on supporting work of a challenging and often experimental nature…The Foundation is committed to the precept that the arts are essential to an open, enlightened democracy. It therefore seeks to advance an inclusive cultural dialogue by providing resources to organizations that support artists reflecting a diverse society and by affirming that freedom of artistic expression is fundamental to such a society and must be vigorously protected.”

Now in its fifth year, Flint Public Art Project began as an experimental program to activate vacant spaces, connect local artists and innovative contemporary practices, amplify the local culture, and transform the image and identity of the city of Flint. Flint Public Art Project has received support from ArtPlace, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ruth Mott Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and hundreds of individual donors and volunteers.



Being in Space and Time: Free City 2015

The third annual Free City festival takes place on July 3rd during Flint’s Independence Day fireworks through July 4 during commemoration of the Declaration of Independence. Free City 2015: Being Here draws attention to the affects of media on consciousness, at times commenting on our dislocation from physical places, at others seeking transcendent connections by means of chips and wireless devices.

Being Here features projects by Emily Puthoff (Kingston, NY; traveling film series), Garret Linn (New York; minimalist sound wave installation), Eric Barry Drasin (New Jersey; audio-visual performance), Paige Barnett (Detroit; large-scale photo installation), Peter Pawlicki (Sterling Heights; meditative labyrinth), FIG Projects (Montreal; Dial-a-City telecommunications performance), Melisa Morgan (Detroit; social media performance), Kriss Gaynes (Detroit; video and live performance), Gregory Hatch (Columbus, OH; textile performance), and musical performances by MOG, Apollo’s Din, Handwringer, and Saturday Night Gypsies curated by Jay Rowland.

July 3: 6 pm – midnight
July 4: 2 pm – midnight

Where: Chevy Commons, Stevenson St. between University and Kearsley, Flint, Michigan

2014 Free City festival receives support from Greater Flint Arts Council

Free City 2014 has received additional support from the Greater Flint Arts Council Parade of Festivals Program made possible by generous support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Free City Receives Support from German and Flint-based grants

Cologne, Germany-based Peter Moennig Foundation for Innovative Thought and Share Art Flint have awarded grants to support the Free City festival in 2014.