Teen Artists Create Pokémon-Go Inspired Experience for John Ball Zoo Exhibit; PikaZoo Open to the Public April 3 – April 30

Community News |Mar 10, 2020|4 min read

Community collaboration brings animal-inspired teen art exhibit, PikaZoo, featuring original and newly-designed ceramic Pokémon characters embedded within the Zoo; digital versions offer a highly interactive experience


Fans of Pokémon-Go have a chance to see original Pokémon characters and newlydesigned Pokémon characters at a John Ball Zoo exhibition called, PikaZoo on April 3 – April 30, 2020. From the imaginations of young artists from the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT) and Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities (GAAH), the ceramic characters will be embedded throughout the Zoo for guests to discover. Digital versions of the new characters will also be available to interact with during the exhibition via WMCAT’s website beginning April 3, 2020.


PikaZoo, an animal-inspired outdoor art exhibition, is a collaboration between GAAH, WMCAT and John Ball Zoo. Students from GAAH created original ceramic Pokémon characters such as Pikachu and Squirtle, and students from the WMCAT Ceramics Studio, part of the Teen Arts + Tech Program, imagined and created new characters based on the Zoo’s animals.


WMCAT teen artists from the Game Design Studio are in the process of making the new characters come to life through 3D modeling – offering new and seasoned Pokémon fans a chance to interact with newly-designed characters both in-person and digitally.


WMCAT teen artists from the Ceramics Studio were inspired by the animals and nature at John Ball Zoo and decided to collaborate for a second year with other WMCAT teen artists in the Game Design Studio to bring the characters to life in digital versions. In 2019, GAAH and WMCAT partnered to bring a similar Pokémon-Go experience to the trails at Blandford Nature Center.


PikaZoo Exhibit at John Ball Zoo

WHO: West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT), Granville Avenue Arts & Humanities (GAAH) and John Ball Zoo

WHAT: PikaZoo is a collaborative nature-inspired outdoor teen art exhibition that will feature original Pokémon and “new” Pokémon characters

The exhibition will kick off on John Ball Zoo’s opening day for the season on Friday, April 3, 2020 at 10:00am

PikaZoo is included in the cost of admission to the Zoo and includes a map.

WHERE: John Ball Zoo / 1300 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

WHEN: Friday, April 3 – Thursday, April 30, 2020 / Regular hours at John Ball Zoo John Ball Zoo admission hours can be found at jbzoo.org/hoursadmission

ABOUT GRANDVILLE AVENUE ARTS & HUMANITIES Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities (GAAH) operates the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center, two facilities located on the southwest side of Grand Rapids. Both facilities serve as community centers for the neighborhood, providing a range of programs for youth and families. GAAH uses the arts, education, and leadership opportunities as tools to foster creativity and curiosity, and actively support young people in being their authentic selves. The Cook Arts Center provides access to a variety of artistic disciplines, including dance, visual arts, and music. The Cook Library Center is a community resource focused on literacy and academic support. We strive to create a safe place for exploring the pleasures of reading, learning, and personal growth.

ABOUT JOHN BALL ZOO John Ball Zoo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded in 1891 and located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Guided by the four core values of Conservation, Education, Community and Celebrate, John Ball Zoo accomplishes the mission to inspire our community to be actively engaged in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment.

ABOUT WEST MICHIGAN CENTER FOR ARTS + TECHNOLOGY West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a culture of opportunity for people to create social and economic progress in their lives and community. Through after-school and summer arts and technology programs, WMCAT engages high school students in creativity and

civic engagement. WMCAT provides career training in medical coding, medical billing and pharmacy technician fields to under and unemployed adults. WMCAT also has two social enterprise businesses: Ambrose, a commercial screen printing business, and Public Agency, a design thinking consultancy. Learn more at www.wmcat.org