MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — It’s a different kind of way to show art. You can walk through it, look through and feel what’s on display. 

What You Need To Know

  • Organizers created "Portopia" as a new attraction to bring people to Middletown 

  • Organizers came up with the name because the art display sits at what used to be a canal port in Middletown

  • The art features unique displays designed to make you feel like you're traveling to another space, it'll be on display until December

Artist Chase Melendez took an empty room and made it his canvas. 

“You come in, you think you see one thing and you turn around, and it’s a different experience,” said Melendez.

The long-time artist said it took him about four weeks to create his biggest piece of artwork yet.

“That’s at the very very root of why I do it. I get excited about doing it, and I hope someone gets excited about doing it or experiencing it," said Melendez. 

It’s all a part of Portopia, an art exhibit in Middletown where artists take something ordinary and turn it into art that you can see, hear and feel.

Artist Roscoe Wilson used old equipment from an old TV station to build his masterpiece. 

“This used to be TV Middletown on this floor, and they left all the objects, cameras, lighting, computers, file cabinets, and I just gathered up everything I could find and put it in this room,” said Wilson.

Now, there are multiple rooms created by 14 different local artists. Each room is very different from the next.

“We wanted guests and visitors to kind of escape reality and travel through the experience to all different types of different dimensions,” said Project Manager and Middletown Visitors' Bureau Executive Director Mary Huttlinger. 

Huttlinger lead the effort to turn this a space that's been through several changes before, into Portopia.

“Portopia is derived from port Middletown, historic Middletown. That’s actually when the canal system was used to transport goods and services, and we just combined port with eutopia and came up with the name,” said Huttlinger. 

Now through December, it’s all filled with art, and you’ll get a chance to see for yourself what art feels like in Portopia. 

For more information about times and tickets to see the display, follow the link.