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Arts : Detroit Development News

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The Lorax comes to a historic Woodbridge home

At what is sure to become known as The Lorax House, developer Alex Pereira of Secure Realty, LLC has commissioned two artists to liven up Trumbull Street as it runs through the Woodbridge neighborhood. A mural and a sculpture inspired by the Dr. Seuss book The Lorax are being placed in the front lot of 4759 Trumbull. The sculpture installation is planned for today.

A mural painted by artist Matt Hebert will serve as the backdrop for Scott Kuefler's Lorax sculpture. The sculpture, made from wood, was carved by chainsaw. The mural is being painted on a retaining wall and features the famous line from the book, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Pereira feels that the quote reflects what is happening in Detroit right now. He's currently rehabbing the building at 4759 Trumbull with hopes of having it ready for renters by May. Pre-leasing has already begun for the five-unit building built in 1900.

"I think art is an important component in the revitalization of Detroit," says Pereira. "It's taking something that's not the prettiest and, with minimal work, you add value."

The redevelopment of 4759 Trumbull marks a shift in focus for Pereira and Secure Realty, one from suburbs to city. Pereira plans on purchasing and rehabbing more properties in the city. Detroit's structures, he says, are invaluable character pieces that can't be recreated today.

Pereira purchased 4759 Trumbull in the 2012 Wayne County tax auction. 15 years vacant with a roof ravaged by the elements, the owner of the neighboring building thought 4759 Trumbull was too far gone and planned on purchasing it in order to demolish it and turn it into a parking lot.

In May of 2013, Pereira began construction on a building that was nearly demolished.

Source: Alex Pereira, developer at Secure Realty
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here.

Group uses public art to improve life in Lindale Gardens

Bleeding Heart Design, a community and arts organization, has put out a call for entries from Detroit-area artists. The group is soliciting submissions for a mural contest in the Lindale Gardens neighborhood in northeast Detroit. Entries will be accepted through March 16.

Bleeding Heart Design is based in Lindale Gardens, a neighborhood bounded by State Fair Rd. to the north, John R Rd. to the west, 7 Mile Rd. to the south, and I-75 to the east. Founded by Rebecca Bucky Willis, the group was formed while she completed her Master of Architecture degree from University of Detroit Mercy. The mural project, just one of many public art projects for the group, is designed with the neighborhood in mind.

"Any time you bring more art and culture into a neighborhood, it's a great asset to enhance the quality of life," says Willis. "It's a call to action to increase the value of the neighborhood. Even if it's not the best house or the nicest neighborhood, it still deserves value. We're trying to create value and a sense of belonging. We want residents to have ownership of the neighborhood."

Willis identifies a number of themes that the winning entry must incorporate into their mural. The mural must inspire unity, inspire altruism, be a call to action, and convey love and forgiveness. Entrants are encouraged to review the goals and values of the Fetzer Institute, the organization providing the grant money. The winner will be provided a $1,000 dollar supplies budget and an additional $1,000 as an honorarium.

The mural will be painted on the north wall of 325 E. State Fair Rd. The wall overlooks a community space already engaged by Bleeding Heart Design. The lot contains a stage and is regularly maintained by the group.

The winning artist will be announced March 28.

Source: Rebecca Bucky Willis, founder of Bleeding Heart Design
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here.

Pop-up theater turns permanent in Midtown

After a brief hiatus, the old Burton School in Midtown is a movie theater once again. Paula and Tim Guthat have moved their Cinema Detroit into the former Cass Corridor school building. The married couple feature art house, indie, and local films Thursdays through Sundays. Classic movies such as the occasional film noir are also shown.

Cinema Detroit started as a series of pop-up theaters. The move to a permanent location allows the company the ability to show first-run films. The theater first started showing films at another pop-up that has since gone permanent, Coffee and (____), on the city's East Side -- a "pop-up within a pop-up," as Paula tells it. The Guthats then lugged their projection gear across the city, showing movies at Corktown's Ponyride and New Center's Jam Handy Building.

Though the couple enjoyed their series of pop-up cinemas, the grind of loading and unloading the projection equipment became tedious and the Guthats began to search for a permanent location. At the same time, the owner of the Burton school building was searching for a new group to operate the theater there. It's a fit that has allowed the Guthats the ability to plan ahead. Permanence should do the former pop-up well.

"It's easier to get the word out because we know we're going to be in one place," says Paula. "It's easier to promote because people know it's going to be there. I'm starting to book movies as far ahead as I can."

Cinema Detroit should eventually operate seven days a week, as the business settles in and stabilizes. The Guthats, who are currently the only people operating the cinema, plan to hire part-time workers once business hours expand.

Source: Paula Guthat, owner of Cinema Detroit
Writer: MJ Galbraith


Station Walls, a new mural project from Grand River Creative Corridor founder, covers 2000-foot wall

Derek Weaver, founder of the Grand River Creative Corridor public mural project, is behind a new street art project in Corktown.
 
Called "Station Walls," the project is located at the corner of Vernor and Newark behind Michigan Central Station on a 2,000-foot-long wall that local business owners claim hasn't been repainted in the past 30 years.
 
"We're taking the Grand River Creative Corridor concept and doing a project in Corktown behind the train station," says Weaver. Though he says that it will not be as elaborate at the GRCC, he jokes that "it will probably end up evolving into something more because it always does!"
 
27 local street artists donated their time to paint murals along the massive wall. The wall is owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which granted Weaver and his team permission to paint the murals. Supplies for the murals were purchased with private donations. Local business Arrow Chemical Products, which has been in business since 1933, contributed some money and also commissioned the group to paint a mural on their building as well.
 
Participating muralists include well-known local artists FEL 3000ft, TEAD, and Sintex. The mix of murals ranges from fine art to straight graffiti, from professionals to "vandals." "We tried to incorporate everybody," Weaver says.
 
Source: Derek Weaver, founder of Grand River Creative Corridor
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

The Dissertation, an artists' collaborative and micro art-based business, heads to ArtPrize

Catherine Watson and Sabra Morman are the team behind "The Dissertation." It's difficult to define what exactly the Dissertation is – even when it was explained to you by one of the founders. But here goes.
 
The Dissertation is a blog. It is an arts portfolio. It is an online store. It is an art project that can be found this year at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids (Sept. 18-Oct. 6). It was even going to be a brick and mortar teashop, but Watson and Morman ultimately decided against it.

"We wanted to have a physical space to connect with like-minded others and we started studying holistic lifestyles and tea," says Watson. "But we're holding off on that because we're not really sure how financially stable it would be."
 
Ultimately the Dissertation is potentially a DIY arts career in the making. "Initially we just wanted a creative expression outlet to figure out what we want to do," says Watson, who previously worked at an ad agency. "It morphed together and we pursued everything. We use it as a teaching tool for ourselves…and to figure out different ways to bring in different streams of revenue. We really want to make a living doing this." 
 
To clarify, "this" is art and the Dissertation is an artists' portfolio. "We started off by creating a portfolio of artwork. We wanted to use that to shed light and highlight the struggles of our generation. The goal was to use the blog as motivation, a tool for positive growth capturing the entrepreneurial spirit of the city."
 
At ArtPrize, the Dissertation has a mixed-media installation piece on display. (You can vote for the Dissertation here starting Sept. 18.) After ArtPrize, their focus is on how to turn their portfolio into a profitable business. They are already working with fashion designers to put their designs on T-shirts to sell in stores, in addition to selling art prints through their Etsy site.
 
Both Watson and Morman still work part time jobs as they continue to define and grow the Dissertation, but their DIY efforts at transforming a hobby and personal passion into a portfolio and profitable business by starting on a micro level, as opposed to rushing into a big brick-and-mortar investment, is an interesting cultural experiment if nothing else. Can it work? It's probably too soon to tell, but if it's going to work anywhere, it will be in Detroit.

Source: Catherine Watson, co-founder of the Dissertation
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

REVOLVE Detroit's Art + Retail on the Ave winners announced

Arguably the largest single transformation project of any neighborhood in the city of Detroit, REVOLVE Detroit's Art + Retail on the Ave – a program designed to revitalize Detroit's once-prominent Avenue of Fashion shopping district (located along Livernois between McNichols and 8 Mile) – has announced all of the winners of permanent and pop-up retail spaces, as well as art installations and programming, after issuing a call for entries in June.
 
They received nearly 100 proposals and worked with members of the community and other community organizations to make their final selections. The retail stores and art projects will make their debut on Friday, Sept. 20, when the Avenue of Fashion hosts the Detroit Design Festival, and will include four new permanent retailers, eight pop-up retail concepts, nine art projects, and nine additional programming and events concepts.
 
"We're really trying to return the Avenue of Fashion back to its prominence," says Michael Forsyth, REVOLVE Program Manager at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. "This is one of the city's great business and cultural districts, and there's a lot of great businesses to build on here." Forsyth explains that the goal is really to fill in the gaps between all of the great businesses that already exist here – like Baker's Keyboard Lounge, Simply Casual, Jo's Gallery, and 1917 American Bistro – and work collaboratively with these existing businesses as well as existing community organizations, institutions for higher education, and residents in the surrounding communities of Palmer Woods, the University District, Green Acres, and Sherwood Forest.
 
"This is huge," Forsyth says, "This is crazy in the best possible way. In terms of REVOLVE, Livernois has always been a high priority of ours. It has the greatest potential purely from an economic standpoint; there are amazing neighborhoods surrounding this district with some of the most beautiful homes in America…whether (we're) talking about community leadership, active residents who want to be engaged, (or) existing businesses, it's a natural progression to want to be here."
 
Art + Retail on the Ave is part of a much larger investment portfolio taking place on Livernois, which includes $1.7 million in beautification and streetscape upgrades in addition to other programs like the Living for the City initiative, a partnership between the Detroit Lions and Hatch Detroit that is currently focused on the Avenue which will improve façades and signage and activate vacant storefronts.
 
To see the full list of what's coming to the Ave, click here.
 
Source: Michael Forsyth, REVOLVE Program Manager at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

Live Coal Gallery in Woodbridge getting renovations, reopening in September

The Live Coal Gallery has been open in Woodbridge since April, but the owner has been steadily making improvements to the two-story duplex on Trumbull as she prepares for a new exhibit opening in September.
 
The first floor of the two-family house at 5029 Trumbull is the home of the gallery and museum. There is a gift shop in the front and a small permanent collection along with rotating exhibits. Yvette Rock, owner and curator of Live Coal Gallery, says 99 percent of the work shown is by local artists. The gallery also tries to show emerging artists on the scene. Its last exhibit on Modern Impressionists featured works by well-respected Detroit artist and professor Gilda Snowden.
 
Rock has not received any grants or funding to build her museum or its collection. "I've had to make a lot of sacrifices," she says. "I'm an artist and I love art. As an artist I want to support other artists." As a visual mixed media artist, Rock has always worked with youth, running art workshops at schools and nonprofits, and has a vision of eventually having a huge collection of artwork created by Detroit high school students.
 
Though the museum itself has never received funding, Rock received a grant from the city to do some exterior work to the house this spring. As part of the city's lead abatement program, this grant enabled her to replace the windows and build a new deck. The grant was not for the gallery itself but for the owners of the home, but any improvements done to the home also helps the business. "We would love to have a commercial space but we don't have the capital backup. I'm glad we can start at this level."
 
The gallery is currently closed through August as Rock does more "priming and scraping" to get the space ready for a new three-person photography show opening Sept. 6, featuring the work of Detroit photographers Stanley Larry, Rashaun Rucker, and Mohan Karulkar. The public reception opens at 6 p.m.
 
Source: Yvette Rock, owner of Live Coal Gallery
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

New murals in Eastern Market celebrate changemaking and all things Weird

Eastern Market has a new welcome mat: behold one of the new murals on Gratiot entering the market, courtesy of German and Austrian artist collective "The Weird," recently in town for their group exhibition at Inner State Gallery. After spending some time absorbing the history and the "characters" of the Market, the Weird created this mural, which offers their interpretation of the people and places they saw. (And, yes, it's kind of weird.) 
 
The Weird's murals (they did a few) are the latest in an ongoing public art effort spearheaded by the guys behind Inner State (formerly 323 East in Royal Oak) and 1xRUN. "We've been engaged in public arts projects for many years," says Jesse Cory, who founded 323 and 1xRUN along with partners Dan Armand and Ryan Brogan. "It has always been in our blood and something we thought was important."
 
It started with the mural on their 323 building. They then moved on to Woodward Windows, a public art project that took over vacant storefronts along Woodward Avenue and included works from local artists like Malt, Sintex, Hygienic Dress League, and the Detroit Fashion Collective. Then, last summer, 1xRUN produced the Detroit Beautification Project in collaboration with Matt Eaton. This project yielded dozens of murals throughout Hamtramck and garnered national coverage (and controversy). It was during this project that Cory and his team were approached by Plymouth Educational Center instructor Allie Gross to collaborate with her 5th grade ChangeMakers class.
 
The ChangeMakers are a civically-minded group of students that had already put together a winning proposal at Detroit Soup. A crowd-funding campaign was launched to cover the cost of supplies, and 1xRUN brought San Diego-based artist Persue in to work with the students on creating a mural using his signature Bunny Kitty character. Persue worked with the kids for three days last month to create the mural on Russell between Mack and Warren in Eastern Market on the side of an abandoned juvenile detention center.
 
1xRUN's/Inner State's focus this year is all on Eastern Market, their new home since May. They have produced nine murals in the market so far this year. The murals serve several purposes: first, they are public works of art for all people to enjoy, taken outside of the confines of a traditional gallery and put out in front of the public. Second, the murals are from internationally-renowned street artists; petty taggers are deterred from destroying them (there is a strict street art code at play) so walls previously full of junky tags are remade into actual works of art. Third, since 1xRUN/Inner State self-funds all of these projects (with occasional help from sponsors like Montana Cans) and works with artists they're already collaborating with on limited edition print runs or an exhibition, the murals give them a chance to further showcase their artists and their brand. Cory says, "It gives traveling artists the same opportunity to leave behind something better."
 
Source: Jesse Cory, co-founder of 1xRUN and Inner State Gallery
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Photo credit: Sal Rodriguez

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

The Detroit Wood Type Co. set up shop inside Signal-Return

Signal-Return is a letterpress workshop, retail space, and…business incubator? In a manner of speaking, yes. The old-fashioned (and nouveau trendy) letterpress studio in Eastern Market is also home to Detroit Wood Type Co., producers of historic wood types and letterpress goods.
 
Detroit Wood Type Co. formed about eight months ago after partners Don Kilpatrick, Joe Benghauser, and Christian Mulligan had been collaborating on other types projects. Kilpatrick is the illustrator, Benghauser is the type designer, and Mulligan is the project manager.
 
"It's really just us doing this," says Kilpatrick. "We're bringing back historic typefaces that were designed over 100 years ago and creating them in wood." They also design new typefaces inspired by historic type. "The primary focus is making unique typefaces that are affordable."
 
Unique letterpress typefaces are typically very expensive, so if a person who is professionally and financially established can't afford them, it's highly unlikely a recent graduate or young person with an eye for design can. So Kilpatrick and Benghauser got all the equipment, restored it, learned how to print on it, and found processes to make it more affordable. The standard pricepoint is $299 for both historic and original designs, and they can also do custom designs.
 
"If you want to explore the (letterpress) medium and push yourself as a designer, it's great to buy wood type because it gives you all sorts of possibilities," says Kilpatrick. "Letterpress printing is one of those things that allows you to slow down and think, to take the time to learn the history of your craft as a designer. Wood type is part of that."
 
Right now Signal-Return is their studio, retailer, and distributor. All their types and letterpress goods are available there. Their long-term goal is to have their own studio and storefront, and they are also eager to collaborate with other artists.
 
Source: Don Kilpatrick, Co-Founder of Detroit Wood Type Co.
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

The DIA's Cultural Living Room in the Kresge Court opens June 14

After being closed the last two months, the Kresge Court inside the Detroit Institute of the Arts is about to reopen this Friday at 10 a.m. as the Cultural Living Room.
 
The Cultural Living Room is a concept that came about through Bradford Frost, a fellow in Wayne State University's Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program and special assistant for community and economic development at the DIA who wrote the ArtPlace grant that secured the $268,500 in funding for this project.
 
"(Basically they) wanted to (figuratively) break these marble walls down and open up to the community a spot where people come to meet, have coffee, meals, work meetings, or sit and read, learn about art, and be inspired," says Patrick Thompson, whose Detroit-based design firm was selected to lead the project. "They wanted to really maximize the potential of the space."
 
The DIA wanted Kresge transformed into a comfortable and collaborative space – a well-designed, welcoming living room free to the public and open to all. Thompson describes his design as "a modern living room with a traditional English garden." There is a lot of greenery in the space and different seating groups throughout, "different vignettes and very symmetrical leading through a traditional English garden with furniture and greenery. We wanted to make it the grandest living room in Midtown."
 
There are dining tables for meetings and social gatherings that will accommodate 4-10 people, one and two person seating spaces, and areas for people to sit in a corner and read a book quietly. "The idea is there is something here for every type of experience people are looking for."
 
There will also be coffee and tea service, an elevated menu of small plates, wine and beer. Initially the Cultural Living Room will have the same hours as the museum, with the hopes of extending the hours beyond the museum's in the future.
 
Thompson's design blends the modern and the traditional, with modern pieces from designer Patricia Urquiola for Coalesse, classic mid-century modern chairs by Euro Saarinen for Knoll, and Danish designer Hans Wegner's iconic Wishbone Chair, along with traditional Chesterfield chairs and wingbacks. The selection of the furniture is also a reflection of the museum itself: these are classic pieces of design, functional art in their own respect. There is also custom woodwork carved from oak throughout the space, as well as a new audio system and new lighting.
 
All of the furniture has power outlet access for meetings and personal use. The large library tables also have built-in iPads, which have an interface that links to the museum's collection so guests can learn more about the art around them. "It's basically a humongous, beautiful hotel lobby right in the middle of DIA," Thompson says.
 
The space will still be heavily programmed with events. There is also an outdoor extension of the Cultural Living Room, a seating area on the DIA's South Lawn with large concrete community tables, that will be completed mid-August.
 
Thompson says, "This is the project of a lifetime. It is a true honor to work with the DIA."
 
Source: Patrick Thompson, owner of Patrick Thompson Design
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Ocelot Print Shop is a collaborative workspace and commercial screen printer and design studio

The Ocelot Print Shop at 3535 Cass Ave. in Midtown celebrated its grand opening this past weekend. Similar to a makerspace in that paid memberships fund the purchase of equipment and shared space, but also operating as a for-profit screen printing business and design studio, Ocelot is a new kind of community-minded business in Detroit.
 
Co-founders Kinga Osz-Kemp, Bayard Kurth, and Stacey Malasky envision this as both a business and something of an experiment. It is a collectively-owned business. Interested parties can purchase memberships by the month or even by the hour, which grants them access to all of the shop's equipment, including an automatic screen printing press, a dye cutter, a guillotine cutter, and eventually an "ink bank" that members can contribute money towards and share collectively for more elaborate color print jobs.
 
"The idea is to share the resources and run it so it's not a nonprofit," says Osz-Kemp. "We decided to further explore the meeting place of arts and commerce." Ocelot will offer design services and commercial screen printing. They plan to offer screen printing classes and to eventually embrace other kinds of printing, including letterpress. In the future they would like to establish a local printer's guild and partner with Detroit youth organizations to teach students print-making and offer classes to people who couldn't otherwise afford them, turning their profit to also support the community.
 
They welcome artists of all types, not just screen printers. They want to foster relationships with other Detroit artists and build a network that will facilitate design and print job opportunities – again, resource sharing, just in a different kind of way. 
 
This collective makerspace model is, Osz-Kemp says, "indicative of the times we're in: people banding together. The 'I can do it myself' mentality is no longer interesting or sustainable."
 
The shop is open for the public to browse Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Hours are extended for members' use.
 
Source: Kinga Osz-Kemp, co-founder of Ocelot Print Shop
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

Movement organizers reinvest into Detroit arts with CAMP Detroit

Movement, Detroit's electronic music festival happening this weekend at Hart Plaza, is about more than just the music. Movement is about creating and promoting the full Detroit city experience for tens of thousands of out-of-town guests, and that includes highlighting Detroit's tremendous creative community.
 
Sam Fotias, Director of Operations for festival producers Paxahau, says that they are always thinking of ways to create a more fully comprehensive Detroit experience and promote other Detroit subcultures at the festival every single year.
 
The arts community and the music community seem to have a natural overlap in Detroit. Exhibit openings at the Red Bull House of Art and the newly-opened Inner State Gallery attract a lot of the same audience members as Movement, and the two communities – street/pop/contemporary art and techno/electronic music – have matured in tandem over the last couple of decades.
 
CAMP (Community Arts Moving Projects) Detroit is the final evolution of several years of growing art installations and exhibits displayed at Movement since Paxahau took over in 2006. Now in its third year, CAMP Detroit brings in six teams of Detroit artists to create installations to be displayed on the festival grounds all weekend long.
 
There are certain constraints: materials used must be able to withstand the weather and the inevitable man-handling. Designs must suit the topography of Hart Plaza and not require special machinery to be transported. Teams must also be able to work within a $1,500 budget, awarded to them through Paxahau's nonprofit organization Detroit Techno Foundation in partnership with the Detroit Creative Corridor Center and, as of this year, Opportunity Detroit. But the project doesn't end there: when the festival is over, teams are challenged to find permanent homes in the city for their works, a lasting gift to the community and an arts legacy for the Detroit Techno Foundation.
 
"I know of no other festival that is doing this – commissioning pieces for the festival from local artists to be permanently displayed in the community after the festival is over," Fotias says.
 
Projects range from the crafty to large-scale steel sculptures. This year's projects include light and color sculptures and a vertical garden "bloom box."
 
Source: Sam Fotias, Director of Operations for Paxahau
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum now open to public after $2 million renovation

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle just completed a $2 million renovation that officially opened to the public this past weekend.
 
"The project was an ambitious project in that it touched everything we do there," says Bob Bury, Executive Director and CEO of the Detroit Historical Society. "Certain things were refreshed and re-enchanced; some things (are) brand new."
 
One of the new exhibits is called Built by the River, which documents the significance that the Detroit River has had in building this city. Integral to the growth of Detroit's major industries, the Detroit River was used to transport lumber during the early logging days, automotive parts in the modern era, and, yes, alcohol during Prohibition. The river still defines life for Detroiters in how we live, work and play.  
 
The museum encourages interaction – they want kids and adults alike to touch the displays and have a fully immersive experience, like in the S.S. William Clay Ford pilot house, the actual pilot house from the freighter, and the fully-restored Gothic Room, salvaged from the luxury passenger ship the City of Detroit III when it was decommissioned. On the grounds outside the museum rests the bow anchor from the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald.
 
The Dossin Great Lakes Museum attracted 1,000 people per day in its grand reopening weekend. Admission was free and will remain free for the forseeable future to encourage people to visit, whether they have a specific interest in Detroit's maritime history or not. The museum is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
Source: Bob Bury, Executive Director and CEO of the Detroit Historical Society
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

Inner State, formerly 323 East, opening May 17

You already know that the popular Royal Oak art gallery 323 East, which is behind the game-changing 1xRUN limited edition time-released online art "store" with an international audience, is moving to Detroit in a space adjacent to Eastern Market at 1410 Gratiot. What you might not know yet is that with the new space comes a new name.
 
"We're in a new space and have a new identity," says Jesse Cory, founder of 323 East. "We needed a fresh new approach to it."
 
That new approach is called Inner State, a name which can be seen as both a semantic play on the extensive interstate systems that criss-cross the Motor City as well as an acknowledgement of the work of the exhibiting artists reflecting their "inner states."
 
After outgrowing their small space in Royal Oak, the 323 team began looking for spaces in the city. "The art world in Detroit is exploding right now," Cory says. "There's a consolidation (that's happening)," mentioning the Butcher's Daughter in Midtown and the Red Bull House of Art, Inner State's new neighbors located in the market district.
 
The three-story, 10,000-square-foot space has a more refined look designed by architect Tadd Heidgerken for et al. Collaborative, who also designed Astro Coffee and the House of Art. "(We knew he) designs spaces that are very comfortable and dynamic. I don’t know where else in town you'd look to get someone with that kind of aesthetic." Cory describes it as being less of a boutique and more of a traditional gallery – cleaner, much larger, and a fitting utilization of the building without "going overboard."
 
Inner State will be open Thursdays through Saturdays and will be more exhibit-oriented with private receptions as well as the grand opening fetes for each new exhibit that they became known for at 323.

"We definitely want to celebrate the efforts people put into these works and have a party," he says. "It's really a coming-of-age of the art world in Detroit. The stigma of galleries in the past has been removed. (Places like) 323 and the House of Art have really made the experience inclusive."
 
The new gallery opens May 17.
 
Source: Jesse Cory, founder of 323 East/Inner State
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

Mosaic Youth Theatre to move into old Miller High School, launching partnership with charter school

In 2001, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit was commissioned to write a play on Detroit history as part of the Detroit 300 celebration. The result was Hastings Street, a play about teenagers at Miller High School in the 1940s, which they identified as one of the most exciting times and places to be a teenager in the city's history. Two years ago Mosaic decided to produce this play during their 2012/2013 performance season. What they didn't know at the time was that they would also be moving into the old Miller High School in the fall of 2013.
 
Mosaic will relocate its offices to 2251 Antietam, formerly Miller High, while joining a new charter public K-5 elementary school called the University Prep Science & Math Elementary School: Sidney D. Miller Campus (UPSM). This will be a "STEAM" school – science, technology, engineering, and math ("STEM") plus arts. This new charter school purchased the building and is providing Mosaic with 12,600 square feet of dedicated space as well as an additional 31,000 square feet of shared space in the school. In turn, Mosaic is providing their students with arts instruction in a unique in-kind partnership that expands the reach and resources of both entities. Mosaic will pay $1/year for rent plus utilities, though they do have to raise over $1 million in funding for their portion of the construction costs.
 
"It's really better for an arts organization of our size to be part of this larger entity rather than owning our own building," says Mosaic Founder & CEO Rick Sperling. Small and medium-sized arts organizations face a real challenge when they own their own buildings, which inevitably takes the focus away from the organization itself.
 
This partnership between Mosaic and UPSM is also aligned with the Detroit Future City framework. Considered part of the Eastern Market area of the plan, this partnership addresses two of the strategic focuses: both finding a use for obsolete historic buildings (the school is national historic landmark that has sat empty since 2007) and also to promote the arts in residential and industrial areas. While Mosaic's main performances will still be at the DIA, they will hold training and smaller performances in their new home. Between the school and Mosaic, Sperling says there will be traffic at this site seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
 
Most of Mosaic's artistic staff works with young people from all over the city and suburbs on nights and weekends, so the added arts support to the elementary school will not disrupt other programs.
 
The old Channel 56 Building, Mosaic's current home, will be put up for sale and will continue to be used as Mosaic's tech shop and storage facility in the meantime so the building remains occupied. Hastings Street opens on May 10 at the DIA.
 
Source: Rick Sperling, Founder & CEO of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.
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