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ESPN digs into the origins and beauty of Detroit's singular sport, feather bowling

The Cadieux Café on Detroit's east side is one of only four places outside of Belgium where the sport of feather bowling is played. The sport's objectives are similar to those of bocce or horseshoes or curling or shuffleboard, but its instruments are unique. Feather bowlers hurl heavy wooden balls shaped like cheese wheels down dirt trenches toward a single pigeon feather sticking out of the ground. Whoever's ball lands closest to the feather scores.
 
In a beautifully written longform piece for ESPN, writer Chris Koentges digs into the idiosyncratic traditions kept alive on the east side of Detroit through the sport of feather bowling, documenting the specialness of the Cadieux Café and its community of feather bowlers and celebrating Steve Gosskie, the unlikely feather bowling champion who passed away last year from cancer.
 
Read more: ESPN

70 Knight Arts Challenge finalists anounced


On June 15, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced the 70 finalists it is considering for 2015 Knight Arts Challenge grants in Detroit. Over 1,000 ideas were submitted to the challenge.

The Knight Arts Challenge first launched in Detroit in 2013. According to its website, the Detroit program "is a $9 million initiative [designed] to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals seeking to engage and enrich the community through the arts."

Winners of the 2015 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit will be announced on Oct. 27, "once the finalists’ detailed proposals are reviewed by a panel of local artists and arts advocates."

To learn more about this year's 70 Knight Arts Challenge finalists, click here.

Ponyride seeks artists for new residency programs


Corktown's Ponyride is many things – a co-working space, a business incubator, a production space for social enterprises, and a carpentry workshop, to name a few. This summer, you can add artist residency program to the list.
 
According to a press release, Ponyride's Applebaum residency, which is geared towards artists already living and working in Detroit, will include "a $2,500 award, free accommodations, and a materials budget," as well as "a professional practice stipend for travel to New York with the intent of making connections with galleries, art spaces, and collectors."
 
The residency is not a completely free ride, however. Each resident is expected to "host public programing based on their art practice."
 
Additionally, three artists will be selected to take part in the Knight Artist Residency Program at Ponyride. One established artist will receive a $4,000 award and two emerging artist will each receive awards of $1,000.
 
To apply for a Ponyride artist residency, click here.
 
All applications are due by noon on Monday, June 29. Awards will be announced the week of August 3, 2015.
 
Learn more at ponyride.org.

Model D talks about re-imagining I-375 on Michigan Radio

Last week, Model D editor Matthew Lewis and contributor Beth Szurpicki appeared on Michigan Radio's Stateside program to discuss the possibility of re-imagining I-375, America's shortest signed Interstate that runs through the near east side of downtown Detroit.

Click here to listen to their June 3 conversation with Stateside host Cynthia Canty.

Could city ID cards make Detroit more inclusive?

 
Last week, Newark, NJ became the latest U.S. city to issue local ID cards to residents.
 
In a recent story in CityLab, Vicky Gan writes: "In 2007, New Haven, Connecticut, became the first city in the U.S. to offer city IDs, followed by several cities in California (including San Francisco and Los Angeles), Washington, D.C., New York City, and a few others."
 
The thinking goes that city IDs help people who have difficulty presenting documents typically required for obtaining state IDs, namely undocumented immigrants, the recently incarcerated, and homeless people. More recently, however, city ID cards have become ways for municipalities to express gender sensitivity to their residents.
 
In 2009, San Francisco became the first city to issue ID cards that did not specify the holder's gender. In 2014, New York City became the first municipality to issue ID cards that allowed holders to specify their own gender identities.
 
Writes Van, "In a 2013 report on municipal ID programs across the U.S., the Center for Popular Democracy wrote that 'cities that offer ID to their residents regardless of immigration status are making a powerful statement of welcome and inclusion.' The same goes for cities who do so regardless of gender identity."
 
Currently, no cities in the Midwest offer municipal ID cards. Could Detroit become the first?
 
Read more: CityLab

Celebrate the 100th birthday of legendary Detroit activist and philosopher, Grace Lee Boggs

 
Grace Lee Boggs is a name most Detroiters should know. For the last 75 years, Ms. Boggs has been a leader in the labor, black power, and civil rights movements in the city and beyond, influencing generations of activists along the way.
 
On June 27, Ms. Boggs turns 100. Her birthday will be celebrated with a party on June 26 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Midtown.
 
Born in 1915 in Providence, Rhode Island, Grace Lee Boggs earned a PhD in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College before eventually moving to Detroit. She and her late husband James, a former auto worker and revolutionary author, rubbed shoulders with the likes of C.L.R. James and Malcolm X as they developed their own political and social philosophies.
 
Later in life Boggs founded Detroit Summer, "a multi-racial, inter-generational collective in Detroit that has been working to transform communities through youth leadership, creativity and collective action since 1992." In 1995, she served as a founding member of the Boggs Center, an organization whose mission is "to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities."
 
Most recently, the Boggs School on Detroit's east side was named for Grace and James.
 
You can celebrate the life and legacy of Grace Lee Boggs at her 100th birthday party from 6 to 10 p.m. on June 26 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Midtown.
 
Click here for details.

We're hiring!

 
Looking for some extra work, or know someone fabulous who is? Issue Media Group, Model D's parent company, is hiring a program manager to assist with the delivery of a few strategic custom content and underwriting programs. 
 
This person will serve as a liaison between clients, project teams and IMG leadership to ensure client expectations are met while contract deliverables are completed at the highest quality, on time, and within scope and budget. The role is tied to a few specific content programs, but there may be opportunities for this role to grow as we bring on more projects that require extra support.
 
Here's a complete job description. We prefer a candidate based in southeast or mid-Michigan, but we're open to the right remote candidate, so all are welcome to apply.
 

Small business in Detroit: a romantic notion, but no picnic

In a recent feature for the Detroit Free Press, John Gallagher reminds us that "it takes more than a clever idea or catchy product to make a go of a small business in Detroit." Highlighting three stalwart businesses – Russell Street Deli in Eastern Market, Lovio-George in Midtown, and White Construction in New Center – Gallagher points out the challenges to being an entrepreneur in Detroit.
 
Despite operating in different sectors, each of the featured business struggled in the years following the economic downturn of 2008, experiencing declining revenues that made them reconfigure their operations. Owners also site challenges unique to the city, such as higher taxes and increased competition.
 
"These firms show that running a small business in Detroit requires both smarts and stamina – and can offer lessons for those hoping to start their own firms," writes Gallagher.
 
Read more in the Detroit Free Press.

Deadline to apply for $10k NEIdeas small business challenge grants is June 4


Last year, the New Economy Initiative and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation teamed up to award 32 existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park a combined total of over $500,000 for their ideas for growth.

This year, a whole new group of time-tested Detroit businesses will receive NEIdeas challenge grants. The deadline to apply for the challenge is June 4.
 
Instead of focusing on startups like other Detroit business competitions, NEIdeas is designed specifically for small businesses that are at least three years old and have had a lasting impact on their neghborhoods -- established businesses like Touch of Class Restoration, a Brightmoor-based construction and remediation company that used its 2014 NEideas award to buy new equipment and hire a marketing manager, and G + C Style, a 50-year-old storefront barber shop that used its award to expand its services to repairing and sharpening clippers for other barber shops.
 
In 2014, 30 small businesses each received awards of $10,000, while two businesses with high growth potential each received $100,000.
 
Visit neideasdetroit.org for more information.

New Center Park's summer series returns with movies, music, 'Macbeth,' and more

Since it opened in 2010, New Center Park has hosted free events every summer, from free concerts to movie screenings. This year is no exception. The summer season kicks off on Wednesday, June 3, with a screening of local film "Detroit Unleaded" in conjunction with the Cinetopia International Film Festival.

This year's movie series, which traditionally took place on Wednesday evenings, has been expanded to two nights. Films for adults will play on Wednesdays and Films for families will play on Fridays.

A series of special events are also scheduled for New Center Park this summer, ranging from a performance of "Macbeth" by Shakespeare in Detroit to musical performances by local artists like Thornetta Davis to a celebration of Motor City Brew Works' 20th anniversary.

For a full schedule of New Center Park's summer series, click here.

Tour homes in two of Detroit's most iconic historic neighborhoods, Corktown and Palmer Woods


This summer, historic homes in two of Detroit's most iconic neighborhoods will open to the public thanks to a concert series and a home and garden tour.
 
On May 30, the Palmer Woods Music in Homes series kicks off for the 8th year with a performance by Orquesta La Inspiracion, an Afro-Caribbean Latin Jazz ensemble. According to a press release, the event will take place "in the gardens of a historic Streamline Moderne home." The exact location of the event will be revealed with the purchase of tickets ($45 each or $40 for groups of 10 or more). Tickets can be purchased at palmerwoods.org or by calling 313-891-2514.
 
The May 30 concert, which begins at 8 p.m., will be the first of several musical events hosted in different Palmer Woods mansions over the course of the summer. For a complete list of performances, click here.
 
Additionally, a Palmer Woods home tour is being planned for the fall in conjunction with the neighborhood's centennial celebration.
 
Palmer Woods is located north of 7 Mile Road at Woodward Avenue and is home to an eclectic mix of historic homes, from mansions of industrial magnates dating to the 1910s and '20s to mid-century modern residences.
 
On the other side of town on Sunday, June 7, check out some more modest, but equally interesting historic homes during the annual Corktown Home and Garden Tour. Detroit's oldest neighborhood, Corktown is home to charming workers' cottages and row houses, as well as a variety of new and historic businesses.
 
The Corktown Home and Garden Tour will take place June 7, from noon until 5 p.m. Tickets, which cost $15, can be purchased the day of the event at the Gaelic League, located at 2068 Michigan Ave. Take a break from the tour to catch a vintage baseball game at 2 p.m. on Navin Field, the site of the old Tiger Stadium.
 
To learn more about the tour, click here.

Policy Lab conference to tackle regional transit issues June 3-5 in Port Austin

Last year, a group of young Detroiters hosted Mackinac(ish), a conference in Charlevoix billed as an affordable, accessible alternative to the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Policy Conference (MPC). Registration for MPC costs Chamber members $1,950 and non-members $2,725 to attend. Mackinac(ish) was open to anyone who applied and cost participants a modest sum to cover food and other event expenses.
 
The idea was to get young Detroiters involved in policy discussions relevant to the future of the city and region, as well as build a sense of camaraderie that would be carried back to Detroit. Sessions from MPC were live-streamed at Mackinack(ish), and the group was even visited by Sen. Carl Levin, who stopped by on his way to Mackinac Island. Click here to read Model D's recap of Mackinac(ish).
 
Organizers of Mackinac(ish), now calling themselves After the Storm, are holding another summit June 3-5, this time in Port Austin, Mich. The event has been renamed Policy Lab and will focus on transit and mobility issues facing the metro Detroit region.
 
Friday, May 22, is the final day to apply for a spot at the conference. Those accepted will be asked to pay an $80 registration fee. To apply, click here.
 
For more information on After the Storm and Policy Lab, click here.

Neighborhood Exchange, a new resource for Detroit communities, launches Thursday

On Thursday, May 21, Michigan Community Resources (MCR) will celebrate the launch of Neighborhood Exchange, a new online resource for empowering Detroit communities, during an event at Gleaner's Community Food Bank.
 
"The idea for Neighborhood Exchange originated from members of our Vacant Property Coalition who noticed community organizations tackling common needs and issues without knowledge of each other's work or valuable resources," says Jill Ferrari, CEO of MCR, in a statement. "So we saw the need for a tool that shares that work and combines it with the resources that MCR and other providers have for everyone to use and learn from."
 
Key features of Neighborhood Exchange will include monthly features highlighting achievements in Detroit's neighborhoods, an events calendar of community happenings and volunteer opportunities throughout Detroit, a directory of neighborhood resources, and a discussion board for neighborhood issues.
 
MCR hopes that community groups and residents will engage with and submit their own resources to Neighborhood Exchange.
 
Issue Media Group, which publishes Model D, partnered with Michigan Community Resources to develop the web platform for Neighborhood Exchange.
 
To RSVP to Neighborhood Exchange's launch event happening Thursday, May 21, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Gleaner's Community Food Bank (2131 Beaufait), email Janai Gilmore at jgilmore@mi-community.org.
 
 

Detroit to be featured on Esquire TV's "Best Bars in America"

On Wednesday, May 27, the rest of America will find out what many Detroiters already knew: that Detroit is home to some of the best bars in America. Esquire TV visited Detroit in October of last year to shoot an episode of its series "The Best Bars in America," now in its second season.
 
Among the bars featured is PJ's Lager House, a classic Corktown watering hole and rock and roll venue. According to a press release, PJ's is "throwing a big party" for the episode's debut: "Our kitchen will be open, the episode will play, and we'll party with sets from the Royal Blackbirds and Doop & the Inside Outlaws after the show. Come watch PJ's on the TVs inside PJ's."
 
The Detroit episode of "The Best Bars in America" will air at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, and feature a number of Detroit's favorite drinking establishments.

Urban agriculture moves indoors


Back in May of 2014, we reported on Jeff Adams' plans to develop a then-unnamed indoor urban agriculture operation in an industrial park in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood. Today, that operation, which is now known as Artesian Farms, is in full production mode, growing leafy greens and other vegetables in vertically stacked hydroponic trays.
 
John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press reports on how Adams and others are introducing indoor, "vertical" farming to Detroit's urban agriculture scene. Click here to see a video of Adams' operation.
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