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All eyes on Art X: Photographer Marvin Shaouni zooms in on creative week in Midtown



The idea was brilliant; the execution even better. The Kresge Foundation asked nearly 40 grant award winners to show their works, do special live performances, lecture, read, sit on panels, engage each other and the public with the clear intent of moving Detroit forward. After five days of extraordinary showcases, with standing room only (and some turn away) crowds at nearly every event on the schedule, mark Art X down as a fabulous addition to the city's cultural landscape.

The highlights were so numerous it's hard to know where to begin. Opening night at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) was jammed from wall to wall in all three main galleries -- and that was at 6:30 p.m. People kept coming until museum staff had to kick us out at 11 p.m.

Kristin Beaver's massive, lovely painting of Sandra Kramer and husband Jim Shaw, who died last December, stirred all who walked into the specially-designed gallery, where it took up an entire wall. There were unveilings of new public works by Charles McGee and Tyree Guyton, two titans of the art scene for decades; performances by Invincible with Waajeed, Marcus Belgrave and his space-jazz mates from Tribe, Monica Blaire, Spencer A. Barefield, Joel Peterson, Frank Pahl and Timmy Lampinen (aka Tim Vulgar); Chido Johnson's wire car cruise, a mixed-media presentation by Louis Aguilar, a dance performance by Valeria Montes, readings by Craig Wilkins, Vaivee Francis, Rachel Harkai, Lynn Crawford and Steve Hughes. And much more. Our pardons go out to those we did not see or hear.

An incredible array of talent was on display. The city was energized. Creative workers were recognized and honored. Supporting innovators in the community meets every definition of growth, with major ripple effects to come. Someone has to say it, so we will: take a bow Kresge Foundation, take a bow painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians, dancers and writers. Encore!

Photographer Marvin Shaouni was in multiple places at once. Enjoy his essay above.
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