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Kick some cash over to Hamtramck creatives converting cop station to art center

Hatch: A Hamtramck Art Collective purchased an abandoned building from the city of Hamtramck for $1 with plans to convert it into an art center.  The building was initially a dormitory for nuns from the 1920s to the late 1960s, then became a police station (complete with jail cells and the rumor of ghosts).

The group is close to being able to occupy the building, which will feature low cost studios for artists, an art gallery, a workroom that will include Detroit’s only public darkroom, a classroom, and more.

They need some help to finish the rehab. You can be part of that help by supporting the project on Kickstarter. Give Hatch some ($$$) love here.

Commissioned murals transform Hamtramck streets

Metro Times associate editor and ace blogger Michael Jackman nails this illustrative report on all the visually exciting stuff going on in Hamtown (the author himself lives a half block from the city limits) and how some locals are debating the very definition of art. An excerpt:

The murals in Hamtramck were done with the cooperation of individual building owners and the city’s department of community development, with Contra Project’s Thewes taking a lead role in that city within a city. Many of the works there are what Thewes calls effective "gateway pieces," especially a piece -- by the artists Reyes -- that sprawls all over the western wall of PAVA Post 113 at 2238 Holbrook, greeting motorists arriving from I-75.

We love that one, in particular, but they're all plenty awesome. Check out the story here.

Hamtramck writer's collab with Matthew Barney gets some love

Steve Hughes is plenty rad. His Stupor project, a series of barstool-inspired tales, was recently published to critical acclaim. The book came on the heels of a Kresge Arts Foundation Grant in 2010. The author is also one of the prime movers behind the Public Pool art space in Hamtramck. 

In the journal Deliberately Considered, critic Vince Carducci reviews Hughes' latest Stupor installment. Check it out here.

Plant your vote for Hamtown Farms in Communities Take Root project

We chanced upon this little gem when cruising the interwebs the other night. It's all about green space, public space and density--all near and dear to our hearts.

Best of all it's about a project called Hamtown Farms, which is competing with other worthy projects as part of the nonprofit Communities Take Root program, which aims to plant fruit-bearing trees in parks and low-income neighborhoods.

If you like what looks like a cool reuse of long vacant land on the south end of Hamtramck, vote for Hamtown Farms here.

What, it's Paczki Day already?

Yup, as you read this, if you are reading on the day we publish, it is indeed Paczki Day, Detroit's version of Mardri Gras. This pre-Lenten celebration is also known as Fat Tuesday, the last day for Catholics to go nuts before trimming their diets for about six weeks (ending on Easter Sunday).

Hamtramck, whose population was once overwhelmingly Polish Catholic, is party central for Paczki Day. We recommend you just hit the town running, get a few dozen berry-filled paczki at local bakeries like New Palace and New Martha Washington or at markets like Srodek's, Bozek's, Stan's or Polish Market. Then find a party at just about any bar in town; or hip retailers like Detroit Threads and Lo & Behold, which will be rolling out DJs and bands. 

Behold this, from the Hamtramck Review. 

Knight Arts picks up Carrie Dickason's 'beautiful trash' at Public Pool

Since opening in late winter 2010, Hamtramck's Public Pool has hosted one edgy and different show after another, usually alternating group with solo exhibitions. The most recent solo show is by Cranbrook-trained Carrie Dickason, an Indiana native now living in the same neighborhood as the gallery.

We like the show, up through Feb. 25 (the artist is adding more elements to the works every Saturday, 1-6 p.m.) at the space at 3309 Caniff Ave. So does Knight Arts. Read all about it here.

Kickstart Kresge grant winner Steve Hughes' 'Stupor' project with Matthew Barney

When writer-builder Steve Hughes met art world maverick Matthew Barney a few years back on a Detroit film set, who knew the two would hit it off and one day collaborate on a book project as part of Hughes' elegantly wasted 'Stupor' series? It's a match made in, well, some stinking, cinematic barroom in a town that is equal parts Hamtramck (where Hughes lives and gets plenty of inspiration) and Boise, Idaho, where Barney spent his formative years.

We don't really know, it's just a guess on our part. But we're eager to see the finished product, to be called Washed in Dirt. Help support it here. Then listen to WDET-FM's Rob St. Mary talk to Hughes here.

Detroit artists "Un-Dress, Re-Dress" clothing and fashion at Public Pool

Public Pool is in its second year of showcasing innovative visual and sound art on an international scale. Yes, that ambitious, that good. Not to mention becoming a transformative presence in its central Hamtramck neighborhood. It's nice to see people are noticing, including the discerning eyes and ears at Knight Arts. 

The current show, "Un-Dress Re-Dress," includes artists are Lisa Anne Auerbach, Olayami Dabls, Jessica Frelinghuysen, Anne Harrington Hughes, Sarah Lapinski, Mark Newport, Lauren Rassel, Cristin Richard and Sarah Wagner.

Richard, who created a dress made from hog intestines (you heard that right; it's an amazing piece that hangs from the ceiling to the middle of the floor) called "The American Dream," is hosting the remaining gallery hours Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, 1-6 p.m. 

Read all about it here.

Re:New Detroit to sponsor weekly Hamtramck ping-pong tourney

A pop-up ping-pong parlour invites paddle-wielding assassins to bring their best games to Hamtramck every Tuesday evening.

Each Tuesday at 8 p.m., SMASH! will invade Skipper's bar in Hamtramck (get there early to put your name up on the board for a match). Paddles, balls, sweatbands (natch), and plenty of food for veggies and carnivores alike are on the menu -- just bring your game face and a few dollars for the drink specials.

SMASH! is sponsored by Re:New Detroit, a sports therapy studio located at 155 W. Congress in the Murphy Telegraph building, suite #400. If you pick up a mean case of tennis elbow at SMASH, you'll be all covered.

Get the spin here.

Hygienic Dress League antiheroes' chilling city portraits

Pairing anonymity-creating gas masks with the expensive suits, fur coats and boardroom tables of corporate America, the Hygienic Dress League is many things at once -- a licensed corporation that produces nothing but its own logo, an art project with murals and signs across the city, and a continuous discussion on the roles of marketing and branding in American culture.

They're also the stars of a new Public Pool exhibit, running through Oct. 22, entitled "Portraits of the Hygienic Dress League," which was shot by founders Steve and Dorota Coy, Scott Hocking, Gregory Holm, Dave Krieger, Nicola Kuperus and Tom Stoye. You'll find these art antiheroes posing in streets, by the river, in factory yards and old houses -- truly a one-of-a-kind slide show. We know one thing -- this city's never looked quite so sinister.

Click here for the gallery.

Art, bikes and a beautiful day at Anna Scripps Park

To celebrate its first year of work, the dynamo arts organization Forward Arts added a new event to its repertoire -- the donation-based Art Ride, which took 100 patrons to lesser-ventured city creations like Hamtramck Disneyland, Heidelberg satellite project Street Folk 2 and Power House Productions.

The bike ride culminated at Woodbridge's Anna Scripps Park, where Access Arts hosted seven installations and a number of workshops and showcases from its students. As the Knight Arts blog reports, over 15 organizations and stakeholders came together to put on the show.

Excerpt:

This is a clear example of why art improves the quality of our lives. On a sunny day, kids built forts with their family and neighbors, and a diverse crowd admired the art pieces, while mingling in the park and snaking on delicious treats from the Pink FlaminGO! food truck. It created a positive energy that people were attracted to, and everyone walked away with a little bit of culture, whether (sic) they expected to or not.

Photographs and more available here.

Downtown Detroit fights back

There's plenty good going on in Detroit right now, summarized in a recent article from the Washington Times. Whole Foods, the Live Midtown housing incentives and recent population growth in young professionals, well-covered, all receive their due. What's new is an interview with Nate Forbes, managing partner of Troy's Somerset Collection, which has opened the CityLoft retail venture in the downtown Woodward corridor. Forbes touts both the city's public-private partnerships and current leaders for creating an atmosphere that supports new businesses and entrepreneurs.

Excerpt:

"Of course Detroit has a lot of geography it's a large city. There's no telling how long it will take, but you have to start off in small chunks. You have a lot of businesses moving to the area that will spawn other investments hotels, retail, restaurants. It's one block at a time, but when you go down there now, you feel a renewed energy."

More to read here.

New doc: Detroit in Overdrive

The Discovery Channel's new miniseries, Detroit in Overdrive, appearing on Planet Green, digs in deep. While familiar faces like Motor City Denim's Joe Faris and Kid Rock get their due, this vid searches out the "tangible faces behind those big buildings" for the three-part special, which originally aired Aug. 4. That means Maria's Comida, the Sphinx Organization and CCS student and designer Veronika Scott are among the long list of the city's community members and do-gooders sharing the spotlight with Detroit's superstars. We like it.

Excerpt:

The Russell Industrial center functions as a community space for artists, craftspeople, and small businesses. Edith Floyd stands up for what she believes in by building an urban garden where abandoned houses once stood. Last, Kristyn Koth and Malik Muqaribu feed Detroiters in their 1956 Airstream, the Pink Flamingo, bringing fresh organic food to Detroiters in a unique mobile food truck, spearheading a local food movement.

Find out more about Detroit in Overdrive here.

Hamtramck: Michigan's most walkable city

Are there any benefits to a city making itself more walkable? Plenty, says walkscore.com, which ranks cities across the nation based on a patent-pending algorithm that gives points to amenities located within a quarter-mile radius. Residents of walkable cities typically weigh 6-10 lbs. less than their car-bound counterparts, for one. They also tend to be more involved in their communities and get more value from their homes.

Michigan's rankings are up, and the city of Hamtramck topped the state in terms of walkability (we're still scratching our heads over Madison Heights, which was ranked #3). Want to live a "car-lite" lifestyle where there is an Indian, Arab, Polish or Mexican-Asian fusion kitchen on three commercial avenues -- Jos. Campau, Conant and Caniff -- not to mention options for art and music, accessible via a few long strides down human-scale residential streets? Head for Hamtown.

Check out scores and more here.

Juxtapoz artists make permanent home in Detroit

Detroit News columnist Donna Terek says she wasn't thrilled with last year's Juxtapoz art project, in which the California-based mag turned six national artists loose in an East Side Detroit neighborhood to work their magic on a street of abandoned homes. But two of those "fly-by-night" creatives are making a permanent nest in Detroit, and brought five more with them.

Artist Ryan Doyle, along with his family, will continue working on the three-story art installation he calls the "Treasure's Nest" while running an informal artists' hostel and planting an urban garden. And Doyle already sounds like a resident: "I don't know why everyone doesn't want to move to Detroit," he says.

Excerpt:

In a way, what they're doing seems a hipster cliche by now: move to Detroit, buy a cheap house, plant an urban garden. But so what? Cliches develop because they are methods that work. Detroit could use more like these.

In fact, it can use a lot more. In a city bleeding population, can we afford to look askance at a transfusion of creative plasma like these enthusiastic Detroit-ophiles? We need as many of them as are willing to come. And, while I was skeptical about the magazine's helicopter artist drop, this is exactly the kind of thing that creates buzz about Detroit on the coasts where the majority of cultural opinion makers resides and publishes.

Check out the rest of the story here.

177 Hamtramck Articles | Page: | Show All
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