Artist Robin Frohardt stands in front of grocery store items made out of plastic bags from one of her exhibits

The Spark with Tift Merritt: Robin Frohardt

Virtual Event
Thursday, May 6, 2021
7:30 PM EDT

Registration for this event closes at 12 PM EDT on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Available on-demand for all ticketholders for 72 hours, beginning on May 6, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT. 
Suggested ticket donation (per household) is $15. Tickets available starting at $0.

Join us for the seventh episode of The Spark with Tift Merritt, featuring Robin Frohardtaward-winning artist, puppet designer, and 2017/2018 Carolina Performing Arts/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation DisTIL artist-in-residence.  

In this livestreamed series, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and UNC alumna Tift Merritt returns to Carolina Performing Arts to take us behind the scenes in artist-to-artist video interviews that delve deep into the creative process. 

How do you light a spark? How do you make something true? How does art happen? What is mumbled on the way in the studio and how can we hear it? 

Welcome to The Spark.

Tift Merritt

On May 6, Tift will sit down with Frohardt for a livestreamed conversation about her boundary-pushing creations, her residency at CPA, the evolution of her work, and more. An innovator in every sense of the word, Frohardt takes everyday items and experiences, adds her creativity and unique sense of humor, and transforms them into thought-provoking art, including one of her most lauded works, Plastic Bag Store, which she developed during her time embedded in Chapel Hill. The full-scale installation debuted at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio in 2018 and was recently installed in Times Square to much acclaim.  

Her collaborations through her DisTIL fellowship at CPA led to numerous events, including Plasticon in spring 2018, a day-long festival to bring together UNC and the local community to collectively acknowledge and understand the effects of disposable plastic on our planet. 

Runtime: approximately 60 minutes, including audience Q&A. Recording of CPA virtual events is not permitted. Registration for this event closes at 12 PM EDT on May 6, 2021. If you have questions or concerns related to accessibility, please contact us. You can also check out our livestream events guide

The Spark with Tift Merritt logo

About The Spark

Based on the series Merritt produced for the acclaimed Marfa, Texas Public Radio, The Spark peels back the polished performance to reveal the elbow grease, risk, fire, and courage behind the art—and artists—we think we know. Each month, Tift will welcome a new artist for a 45-minute  livestreamed conversation that gets to the heart of their work, followed by a 15-minute audience Q&A. 

About the Artists

Artist Robin Frohardt stands in front of grocery store items made out of plastic bags from one of her exhibits

About Robin Frohardt

Robin Frohardt is an award-winning artist, puppet designer, and director living in Brooklyn, NY. Frohardt’s performance and puppetry-based work has been presented at St. Ann’s Warehouse and HERE in New York City, as well as national venues including the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts and the NEXTNOW Festival in Maryland. Her films have been screened at the Telluride Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, Maritime Film Festival at the Parish Museum and Puppets on Film Festival at BAM. 

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Her original play The Pigeoning, which debuted in 2013 and was hailed by the New York Times as “a tender, fantastical symphony of the imagination,” continues to tour in the US and abroad, and has been translated into German, Greek, Arabic and Turkish. Along with her CPA/Mellon DisTIL Fellowship, she has received a Creative Capital Award for the Plastic Bag Store, which premiered in partnership with Times Square Arts in 2021. In 2018 she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. 

Artist Tift Merritt looks to the side with a slight smile.

About Tift Merritt

Called “a diamond in a coal mine” by Emmylou Harris, Tift Merritt has been compared to Joni Mitchell and James Taylor in a proud tradition that reaches back to Dusty Springfield and Bobbie Gentry. A Raleigh native, Merritt played local haunts like Cats Cradle and The Cave before her debut album Bramble Rose soared to the Times and New Yorker top ten lists.

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Since then, Merritt has toured world-wide, opening for Joan Baez and appearing on Austin City Limits, the Grand Ole Opry, and NPR. She returned home to make her Carolina Performing Arts debut in the 17/18 season with a sold-out performance. She began hosting The Spark in over a decade ago for Marfa Texas Public Radio, where it garnered instant acclaim from artists and audiences alike.

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