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National Performance Network brings unfamiliar art through POD Installation

TAMPA — Inside three storage units set along a downtown street Wednesday, artists cut and glued and stapled.

In one, Margie Livingston of Seattle built a table to hold colorful bins of dried acrylic paint objects.

In another, Rachel Falcone and Michael Premo, of New York City, smoothed prints that stories about housing rights onto poster boards.

Jono Vaughan pasted black and white stripes onto the floor that's destined to be a hair salon.

The POD Installation that opens Thursday is a creation of the Visual Artist Network, part of the National Performance Network. The group's annual meeting is this weekend at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts but is not open to public.

But guests are welcome to view the Visual Artists Network Pod Installation outside the Straz Center.

Pick up Livingston's paint pieces, feel their weight, texture and a sponginess.

"It's like a petting zoo," she said of her leftovers from art projects, made to look like wood scraps, chips, and shavings.

It includes what she called her "gnarliest" pieces: pieces of dried paint that look like colored sawdust.

Next to her, Vaughan, of Carrollwood, was selected for the exhibit as a local artist.

Haircuts and makeup will be free in the 'salon' for those who sign up by e-mail and accept Vaughan's hairstyle.

"As long as they realize the object is to turn them into me," Vaughan said.

The artist is experimenting with distorting form, camouflage and gender anonymity. Those who get a haircut will get a bob in the back, and their photo taken for Vaughan's website.

In the last POD, green turf covered the floor where Premo and Falcone worked on a poster titled Occupy Your Home: Housing is a Human Right.

They unfurled the poster showing Mary Lee Ward, 82, who took out a subprime loan to get custody of her great granddaughter, using her Brooklyn, N.Y. home as collateral.

A 16-year battle ensued with the loan company and to keep Ward in her home, Premo said. She finally won.

Another photo shows new construction next to an existing building with the title: You say Gentrify We Say Occupy.

Premo said it addresses the displacement of people, often of color, for new housing.

Two dozen such photos collected over the past two years from New York City, New Orleans and South Africa tell such stories on the POD walls.

"Our role as artists is to use the weapon of empathy through storytelling," Premo said.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at eparker@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3431.

About the POD Installation

The Visual Artists Network's display is at the Jaeb Plaza by the entrance of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. It will be open for viewing from 6 to 8 p.m. today, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

To sign up for a haircut, e-mail Jono Vaughan at britpainter@gmail.com.

National Performance Network brings unfamiliar art through POD Installation 12/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 9, 2011 12:06pm]
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