Debut of Artist Robin Frohardt’s First Major Public Art Installation and Immersive Puppet Show to Coincide with New York’s Plastic Bag Ban

The Plastic Bag Store: Wednesday, March 18 – Sunday, April 12, 2020
Open Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm, with Nightly Performances at 7pm & 9pm

Free & Open To The Public

(New York, NY – February 11, 2020) – Times Square Arts is proud to present The Plastic Bag Store, an immersive, site-specific public art installation and three act puppet show by Brooklyn-based artist Robin Frohardt, with original music by Freddi Price and produced by Pomegranate Arts. The Plastic Bag Store will be on view from March 18 – April 12, 2020 at 20 Times Square.

Free and open to the public, The Plastic Bag Store employs humor and craft to examine consumption, convenience, and the enduring effects of single-use plastics. The project coincides with New York’s plastic bag ban, which goes into effect this March (March 1, 2020).

"The Plastic Bag Store is a visually rich, tactile, and humorous experience that hopefully encourages a different way of thinking about the foreverness of plastic, the permanence of the disposable, and that there is no ‘away’ when we throw something out,” said artist Robin Frohardt. “It is my attempt to make something authentic and human from that which is mass-produced. There is great humor to be found in the pitfalls of capitalism and I find that humor and satire can be powerful tools for social criticism especially with issues that feel too sad and overwhelming to confront directly."

The Plastic Bag Store artistically reinterprets a typical New York grocery store, but its colorful aisles will be stocked with products created with single-use plastics. The artist has upcycled thousands of plastic bags to hand make everyday supermarket products, from pints of ice cream and whole rotisserie chickens to deli items, and cleaning supplies. In the evenings, the store becomes the set of an original theatrical performance and puppet show written by Frohardt. The darkly comedic, sometimes tender story of how the plastic waste we leave behind might be misinterpreted by future generations.

“Robin has created the quintessential New York City public artwork — satire, smarts, local politics, global concerns, challenging Times Square’s love affair with consumerism and spectacle, and all within a beautiful project quite literally made for and by New Yorkers, specifically from our trash,” said Times Square Arts Director Jean Cooney.

The Plastic Bag Store will be free and open to the public to browse. Performances will be free, but prior registration is required due to limited seating. The store and theater will be run by the Times Square Arts Public Art Ambassadors, a new initiative that employs artists, arts educators, and Times Square Alliance public safety officers and sanitation workers to engage with the public around artists’ projects in Times Square.

“Amidst society’s relentless cycles of consumption and destruction, this project drives us to create and re-create — rather than just destroy — so that hundreds of years from now we find that it is our cultural products which endure: our plays rather than our piles of plastics, our shows rather than our scraps, our imagination rather than our excess. Frohardt’s work is one of the most significant and ambitious Times Square Arts public projects to date, combining environmentally-conscious art, immersive installation, and live performance,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance.

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. Anne’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, Maritime Film Festival, and the Parish Museum. 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. She has received a Creative Capital Award and a DisTil Fellowship from  Carolina Performing Arts for The Plastic Bag Store; has been the recipient of Made In NY Woman’s Fund Grant Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, MacDowell Colony Fellowship; and was the first artist in Residence at Olson Kundig, a renowned design and architecture firm in Seattle. In addition to directing her own work, Frohardt’s puppetry and props have also appeared in TV shows such as Orange is the New Black and 30 Rock, as well as Radio City Music Hall’s Spring Spectacular.

Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborates with contemporary artists and cultural institutions to experiment and engage with one of the world's most iconic urban places. Through the Square's electronic billboards, public plazas, vacant areas and popular venues, and the Alliance's own online landscape, Times Square Arts invites leading contemporary creators to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the Arts Program ensures these qualities remain central to the district's unique identity. Generous support of Times Square Arts is provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @TSqArts.

Founded by Linda Brumbach in 1998, Pomegranate Arts is an independent production company based in New York City dedicated to the development of international performing arts projects. As a creative producing team, Pomegranate Arts works in close collaboration with contemporary artists and arts institutions to bring bold and ambitious artistic ideas to fruition. With a hands-on approach, Pomegranate creates unique structures and partnerships in all performance mediums. Whether creating a new work with established artists at the peak of their career or introducing the vision of a younger artist, Pomegranate specializes in producing provocative performance events of the highest quality.

The Plastic Bag Store would not be possible without the generous support of Mark Siffin, CEO of Maefield Development, which owns 20 Times Square. For more than a decade, Siffin has delivered passionate support for the Times Square community and the Alliance. As a life-long artist himself, Siffin consistently embraces the importance of young artists being presented to the 127MM-person pedestrian audience that Times Square delivers every year. 20 Times Square is at the epicenter of this activity and serves as the show case stage in our daily celebration of our shared humanity. “47th and 7th is a corner where the arts have lived for over a century,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance. “Mark Siffin’s significant commitment here supports Broadway, the live arts and the visual arts in Times Square. These are the life blood of our community, and they also happen to enrich the largest concentration of consumers in the world. There is no better place to democratize art than Times Square. In his support, Siffin drives our mission, understanding that innovative culture and vibrant commerce are the essential elements that make Times Square one of the most enduring entertainment, hospitality and retail destinations in the world.”

The Plastic Bag Store is commissioned by Times Square Arts with generous support provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, as well as Maefield Development and Mark Siffin at 20 Times Square. Additional commissioning support has been provided by Carolina Performing Arts, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was developed with support from: MANA Contemporary, The Made in NY Women’s Film, TV & Theatre Fund by the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in association with The New York Foundation for the Arts;  Olson Kundig; The Jim Henson Foundation; and is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). The Plastic Bag Store is a project of Creative Capital. Produced by Robin Frohardt and Pomegranate Arts.

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Ali Rigo
Senior Account Executive, Cultural Counsel

Catie DeWitt
Account Coordinator, Cultural Counsel