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Empowering Detroit's powerless with design

We're always happy to dig up press on Veronika Scott, who was featured in our recent IdeaLab speaker series in Ann Arbor. This time the words attached to her good deeds come courtesy of the New York Times. Here's an excerpt: 

Having graduated this past December, Ms. Scott has now founded the Empowerment Plan, a nonprofit company, where she is training and paying recently homeless women to produce the coats for those living on the streets. Already they have made 275 coats -- 100 of which have been given to homeless people in Detroit and two of which Ms. Scott gave to Occupy Wall Street supporters she met while visiting New York this winter.

Read the rest of it here.

Video stars: DetroitUnspun tunes into Data Driven Detroit

The pictures say it all. Well, no: Data Driven Detroit's Kurt Metzger and his charts say it all during episode 11 of DetroitUnspunTV. Plan to spend a good half hour getting an education on proper council re-districting that manages to keep the integrity of neighborhoods intact. Metzger knows his stuff.

Watch the video, commercial free, here.

'9 Businesses' highlights indie Detroit entrepreneurship

Screened last week at Eastern Market's Signal Return, the short film 9 Businesses aims to give a taste of how small business energy can help catalyze, revitalize and inspire neighborhood life.

Need some inspiration? Watch this.

Giddy up: Pony Ride nurtures creative life in Corktown

You heard? A group of outside the box investors, including Phil Cooley of Slows, purchased an 80-year-old factory on the corner of Vermont and Porter streets last spring and created a community empowerment project that enables artist and social innovators to get massive amounts of space at an affordable price. You probably did, since we ran this story about the Corktown incubator in November.

But that's OK, because it looks even better in this video clip. Roll the tape and check it out here.

Video: Phil Cooley's Pony Ride incubator hits the ground running

A dance group, a furniture-maker and an old-school typesetter from New York City -- they're all the newest tenants of Phil Cooley's Pony Ride, the Vermont St. space he bought for $100,000 with the idea of hatching an incubator for creators and innovators in Corktown.

Check out this video to hear Cooley talk about the 30,000 sq. ft. building -- and the community they're building inside.


But perhaps the most interesting aspect is watching this patchwork group of entrepreneurs pitch in to restore the building, a microcosm of what could potentially save the city.

Click here to watch.

Upstart Boat Magazine creates Detroit issue

It was a lazy month for London ad agency owners Davey and Erin Spens. The pair, fascinated by magazines and travel, took an unusual vacation -- renting an office in Sarajevo, bringing their two coworkers along to pen a magazine offering readers a true glimpse of the formerly war-torn city.

After some help from writer Dave Eggers, who introduced the first issue of Boat Magazine with one of his short stories, the pair are at it again. They came to Detroit to produce their second issue -- a $12 "antidote to lazy journalism," printed on beautiful matte paper, with an article from Jeffrey Eugenides and interviews with Ben Wallace, Alex Winston and Jessica Hernandez.

We found one excerpt, a photo essay on Detroit food, in The Guardian:

We headed down there on a Saturday morning to find a bustling area filled with vegetable stalls, and thousands of people from all over Detroit and the surrounding states shopping for produce for home or business. The must-haves are the ribs from Berts, but we were as taken by the market across the freeway, with its walls painted in murals of meat, fish and cheese, which are sold inside.

Buy it here

Detroit, an artistic paradise

This LA Times' trip to Detroit found an "artistic haven" of old structures, committed art dealers and vibrant examples of how community and culture intersect.

From the DIA, which the writer calls "America's most overlooked major museum," to the sculpture park outside the College for Creative Studies, and even a stop at Heidelberg, this travelogue details a city teeming with creativity. Russell St. Deli, Cafe D'Mongo's, Cass Cafe, and yes, Slows, were a few of the destinations the LA Times raved about.


When I asked his inspiration, Guyton responded with questions of his own: "What is art today?" "Does it have to be in a museum?" "How do you revitalize a neighborhood?" "How do you get people to come to Detroit despite what they've heard?"

One of Guyton's motifs is New York taxis, painted on plywood boards. "A lot of people think you have to go to New York to make it," he said. "I'm saying I can make it right here, and I will. Watch me. I'm just getting started."

Find out more here.

Imagination Station outpost skirts demolition -- for now

Tensions between city officials and artists over building demolitions are at heart in this article chronicling the Imagination Station's continued work to save a blighted Corktown property near the Michigan Central Depot from demolition.

The home in question featured an installation by artist Catie Newell, which was deconstructed for Grand Rapids' annual Art Prize competition (it won a juried award). The city's given Imagination Station more time to create a plan to fix the property before it's scheduled for demolition.


DeBruyn was among the group of community activists who bought the Imagination Station homes on 14th Street, next to Roosevelt Park, at the request of the Wayne County Nuisance Abatement Program. They paid $500 apiece, plus back taxes. "So much of the art inspired in this town is inspired by the blight," DeBruyn said. "We are part of the movement that's trying to do something positive about it."

Get more here.

Honor + Folly bed and breakfast -- coming soon

Detroit's newest bed-and-breakfast will offer guests a dose of original style along with their pillow and key.

Meghan McEwen, founder of the amazingly cool DesignTripper blog, posted a few thoughts on her latest venture, Honor + Folly, which will bring the inn concept to Corktown's Michigan Ave.

Writes McEwen, "I’ve been so inspired by all the people and places I’ve been writing about for the past year, I’ve decided to join ‘em. I don’t have photos yet ... and you’ll have to bear with me while I paint, stock, source, sand furniture, adorn walls, make beds, knit pillows and hang a shingle."

While details are limited, McEwen tells us Honor + Folly will feature cooking classes and lotsa cool furnishings from local designers. It will open to guests in mid-November.

Click here to read McEwen's post, and keep tuning into Model D for more Honor + Folly.

Tour De Troit helps make Detroit more bike-friendly

Close to 4,500 bikers made the Motor City a two-wheeled adventure course for a day on Sept. 24; choosing a police-escorted 30-mile jaunt through Detroit's streets or a whopping 62-mile slog from the tour's home base at Roosevelt Park (check out Tour De Troit wrap-ups from the News, Freep and MLive).

Tour De Troit's explosive growth (it drew less than 50 cyclists for its first outing in 2002) mirrors the bicycle's increasing popularity as an accepted form of transportation in the D. A growing network of greenways and bike lanes, wide avenues and more tours have helped grow cycling by 192 percent in the past ten years.


"(Riding a bike) shows the city on a human scale, and you see a lot of detail that you wouldn't see when you were in an automobile," said Bill Lusa, 37, director for the tour. Lusa, who lives in Woodbridge, uses his bike to commute to places around the city. "It's not always about smashing the system and ending the automotive hegemony," he said. "It's about having fun and being in slightly better shape."

More available here.

The Irish Times writes their can't-miss-Detroit travelogue

Most every city newspaper has taken a crack at the "Detroit travelogue" this year -- a Lonely Planet-esque tour though the city, combining the D's often mercurial history with present rebuilding efforts. In Detroit, writes the Irish Times, we're successfully re-inventing 200 years of history into a tour for every traveler -- be it the Motown music-seeker, the Underground Railroad tracer or the merry Prohibition buster. Rather than dwell on ancient memories, IT also lauds Detroit's thriving downtown as a cosmopolitan attraction all its own.


Take a trip up to the restaurant on the roof of the Detroit Marriott hotel, officially the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the western hemisphere, and have a drink. It’s pretty jaw-dropping, on a par with my favourite, the rooftop restaurant in the San Francisco Hilton. Back on the streets – as they say in the cop shows – head to Midtown and the Detroit Institute of Arts, which, despite its prosaic name, houses one of the finest art collections in the US. Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry cycle of 27 fresco panels – gifted by another Ford, this time Edsel – is considered the best work of his career.

Keep traveling 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.


"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.

Detroit Restaurant Week is on again this fall

The fifth Detroit Restaurant Week will return from Friday, Sept. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 2, for the fall edition of the city's popular dining promotion, which offers restaurant-goers a prix fixe three-course meal for only $28. 

The spring 2011 edition of Detroit Restaurant Week was a record-breaker. 18 of the city's finest restaurants reported a combined total of 36,758 diners over the course of 10 evenings, a 19.6 percent increase from fall 2010. So far, over 120,000 people have participated in the first four installments, generating an estimated $2.1 million in receipts.

Visit DetroitRestaurantWeek.com to find out about participating restaurants, menus and events. 

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.


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.

Music, good times roll at Roosevelt Park thru end of August

Community members have worked hard to jazz up the green space at Roosevelt Park in Corktown, and there's something to be said for partying in the shadow of the Michigan Central Station. The new weekly CityBuild parties feature Slip & Slide, dodgeball, food, drinks and tons of great Detroit bands in the lineup.

Model D swung by the first CityBuild happening in Roosevelt Park and had ourselves a blast. See you there every Sunday in August, from 2 to 8 p.m.

Peep the flyer here.
246 Corktown Articles | Page: | Show All
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