Pod Rules

Adrienne Newman's pod. Photo by Sarah McDonald.

What’s a Modular Art Pod?

Modular Art Pods are micro art galleries connected together into a tunnel.  Most are 4′ wide by 4′ long by any height, but some are larger.  Popular material choices include foam sheeting, cardboard, and pvc pipe frames draped with plastic or canvas.

Attendees can elect to crawl through the tunnel or walk around the perimeter on a “backlot tour.” Think of the crawlers as the lab rats and the backlot tourers as the scientists peering in on the experiments!

Why 4 foot by 4 foot?

Popular pod-making materials such as foam sheeting are sold in 4′ by 8′ pieces. This means you can make four walls out of two pieces of board. Add another piece if you want to create a roof and floor.

Where to Buy Materials?

Home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowes abound with pod materials. We have guides for building pods from foam sheeting and pvc pipe. You can also build pods out of layers of cardboard glued together — the more layers, the sturdier the pod.

1/2" PVC Pipe Frame

1/2″ PVC Pipe Frame


  1. Choose your pod length and width:
    * 4′ wide by 4′ long. This is the most popular footprint.
    * 4′ wide by 8′ long. When you want to make a tunnel effect.
    * 8′ wide by 8′ long. For performances.
    * Custom.We’re open to other sizes, as long as they fit into the gallery.
  2. Choose your pod height:
    Around 4′ high. This is the most popular height.
    * 6′ to 10′ high. When you want people to be able to stand or walk through.
  3. Your length and width can vary by 1 inch for 4′ pods. 2 inches for 8′ pods.
    * For example, 4′ pods should be no shorter than 3′ 11″ and no longer than 4′ 1″.
    * 8′ pods no shorter than 7’10” and no longer than 8’2″.
  4. Choose a straight or a corner pod.
    Your pod’s entry and exit doors will either be parallel to each other (i.e. a “straight” pod) or perpendicular (a “corner pod). Decide which configuration will work better for you.
  5. Your pod must have entry and exit doors of the minimum size outlined below:
    * Pods 4′ wide and/or any pod with ceilings lower than 6′ must have entry and exit doors at least 28″ wide x 38″ tall. The doors should be centered on the wall. These pods are “crawlable” pods and are not accessible to wheelchairs or walking. If your walls are made from a flexible material, such as fabric, it’s ok to cut a slit as a door. In that case, the slit should go all the way to the top of the pod wall and be able to open at least 28″ wide at the bottom.
    * Pods wider than 5′ and most pods with ceilings 6′ and higher must have entry and exit doors at least 33″ wide x 66″ tall. The doors should be centered on the wall. These pods are “walkable” pods and are accessible to wheelchairs. Be mindful of anything that would prevent a wheelchair from getting through. The only exceptions are the wide pods placed in “crawlable” levels. Since these are connected to non-accessible pods, they should conform to the 33″ wide by 66″ tall door standard.
    * No obstacles inside your pod should narrow the path any smaller than the minimum door size.
  6. Floors are required for the crawling pods. Be mindful of floors in accessible pods.
    If you’re going to make people crawl, give them something soft to crawl on. Foam wall insulation or interlocking foam flooring work great. Rugs don’t work so well because they tend to slide around. If you are building a walkable, accessible pod, make sure that your floor choice will not prevent wheelchairs from getting through.
  7. Ceilings are optional.
    With a ceiling, you can better control your pod’s lighting and ambience. Ceilings also help dampen outside noise and make your pod’s own sounds easier to hear. If you choose to forgo a ceiling, be aware that the ambient light in the room may be too dark or too bright for your liking.
  8. Cover your doors in drapes, curtains, beads, etc.
    Unless the adjoining pods agree otherwise, we encourage curtains or beads to cover your doors. This will keep your  pod’s lighting contained and avoid prematurely revealing the next pod.
  9. The tunnel will be divided into segments, averaging 5 pods each.
    In order to provide entry and exit points throughout the tunnel and to prevent traffic jams, the tunnel will be split into segments, averaging five pods each. Open space between segments might be 4′, 8′, or whatever length appropriate for the room dimensions. Markings on the ground will help guide crawlers from section to section.
  10. Pods must be easy and quick to break down and put back together.
    The time to assemble the tunnel will be limited, so your pod must be quick and easy to assemble. In the pod guides, we show you some ideas on how to break down and transport your pod.
  11. Power is available. Bring an extension cord.
    We’ll have electrical outlets close to your pod, but you should bring an extension cord 8 feet or longer to reach one. We are limited to how much power we can draw, so please try to conserve energy. No electrical heaters. Projectors may be used if approved.
  12. Your pod’s exposed outer walls must have content. Interactivity HIGHLY recommended.
    Some of your outer walls will be hidden, pressed next to the walls of other pods. You don’t need to decorate these walls. But other outside walls, anywhere from one to three, will be visible to those taking the backlot tour. These exposed outer walls must have something to engage the backlot tourers. This could be additional art, a peephole looking inside, an artist statement describing how you made your pod, or interactivity. We LOVE outside pod walls that interact with the crawlers. For example, you could have a button that turns lights on or off inside the pod or a telephone that lets the outside guests speak with the inside guests. You could also install a nightvision camera in the pod and let the outside guests watch!
  13. Light your pod. Use LEDs if possible. No battery-powered lights.
    You are responsible for providing adequate light for your pod’s interior AND exposed outer walls. Assume the room’s ambient light will be very dark. Because of power consumption, heat output, and overall toughness, we strongly prefer LED lighting. Incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs are too fragile and too hot. You can get dimmable LED lighting that fit into regular sockets for as low as $3 per bulb. For multi-day events, battery powered lights are not allowed because of the trouble involved in turning them on and off and the possibility of the batteries running out. 
  14. Bring an extension cord 8′ to 15′ in length and run your power through it.
    * If you have multiple devices requiring power, plug them into an outlet strip and output one single cord. We’ll take it from there.
    * Cables and outlet strips are unsightly. Figure out how to hide them in or around your pod.
  15. No glass, glass mirrors, sharp edges, flames, or uncontained liquids.
    Please use safe materials when designing your pod. Don’t use tiny things like packing peanuts that can track into other pods.
  16. No Freebies / Give-Outs
    We learned this the hard way. No flyers, candy, stickers, glow sticks, or any other thing that attendees are supposed to take with them. They’ll take them … to the next pod and leave them there!
  17. Make sure your pod is tough and durable.
    Stress-test your pod to make sure it can withstand hundreds of people interacting with it. Make it child-proof. You may not have a chance to make repairs if something breaks.
  18. Arrive at scheduled set-up and breakdown times
    The pods need to be set up in start-to-finish order, so participants must arrive at scheduled call times. (ex. Groups 1-5 at 2 p.m. Groups 6-10 at 2:30 p.m. Etc)
  19. If you have to cancel, find an alternate
    Because the pods are linked together in a certain order, a cancellation can be hard to work around. For this reason, try to make absolutely sure you can follow-through before submitting. If you have to cancel, please find a back-up artist to take your place.
Straight Configuration

Straight Configuration

Corner Configuration

Corner Configuration


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