Not long ago, an art show popped up in the old Canton Laundry on Broadway. Theoplis Smith, aka "Phresh Laundry," is a primarily self-taught Fort Wayne artist and was the star of the exhibition. The "laundry" hanging around the empty building was colorful, bright and brought life back into a long neglected location.
The event was hosted by ARCH (Architecture and Community Heritage), who own the building and want to sell it to someone who will preserve the iconic downtown spot. ARCH has already restored the building, but they are doing more than that, they are working on rebuilding historic sites and reinvesting in Fort Wayne.
Creative use of an old space for the pop-up gallery made it the perfect combination of art and history. Somewhat ironically, the show was also unique in that it was only advertised via social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc).
All the artwork was available to purchase, except for the painting of a man standing under a bright red umbrella. This painting has special meaning for Theoplis. "For me, it signifies that even when the world isn't going my way, even in the darkest storm, you can still look on the bright side, and create your own color, your own oasis."
Art wasn't the only thing to pop-up that evening. The Bravas food truck was parked outside offering sustenance, Starbucks provided drinks and a musician or two provided live music. More of Theopolis's work can be seen gracing one of the outside walls of Wunderkammer. Although we will have to wait and see where Phresh Laundry will hang next, you can watch an interview with him at Canton Laundry here.