Nick and Yen Azzaro are producers of ephemeral art with emphasis on social activism.
Sticks and Stones, an orchestrated street happening, took place on the evening of August 5th, 2016 near the intersection of Washington and Ferris Streets in Ypsilanti. A response to negative vitriol about the city and its inhabitants, the event sought to put a face to the disparaging comments found on MLive collected for almost two years. Nearly 30 participants held posters of quotes, copied verbatim, from various articles in a line formation on the sidewalk and later in the street. The responses from participants and viewers alike were wrought with emotion.
The Learning Studio is a commercial photography studio housed in Ypsilanti Community High School, exposing students to the professional practices of the photography industry. Students have the opportunity to participate in product, portrait, food, and event photo shoots as well as learn about art direction, styling, make up and more. In addition to offering students and staff free and low cost portraits, the Studio is also dedicated to collaborating with businesses and organizations to produce marketing campaigns and fine art imagery.
The Azzaros have created and exhibited a number of community driven events ranging from transforming their previous studio into a camera obscura, to holding readings and panel discussions for partners like 826michigan. In 2015 and 2016, they held 10 exhibitions of works by regional painters, photographers, printmakers, sculptors and illustrators.
As a recipient of the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs grant with additional support from Engage at EMU in 2016, Yen obtained twelve adult tricycles from the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit (which were likely used on automotive factory floors). Over five months they were refurbished at Chapelle Elementary School in Ypsilanti by representatives from Washtenaw Sheriff's Department, Ypsilanti Community Schools Automotive Repair, Cultivate Coffee and Taphouse, Ypsilanti District Library, DIYpsi, Shortpunk Cycleworks, Eastern Michigan University and FLY Children's Art Center.
The completed fleet of tricked out trikes were introduced at the Ypsilanti Heritage 4th of July Parade and won the Peoples' Choice Award. Each trike now belongs to the organization that worked on it.
Pop X 2015 was the inaugural launch of the outdoor art festival at Liberty Plaza in Ann Arbor organized by Ann Arbor Art Center. As a hub for transient activity, Nick focused on highlighting the people who normally inhabit the Plaza.
Nick Azzaro received the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs grant in 2015. He taught the photography exhibition process to a student from elementary, middle and high school levels. From photographing a thematic set of images to curating, editing, framing and marketing, Front Street showcased the talents and learned skills of three driven students.
Nick Azzaro continues to work on a series of photography and mixed media addressing the experience of African-Americans and marginalized populations in this country. For more information, please contact Nick here.