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What's happening in Detroit on almost every day of Black History Month

Looking for a way to engage with Black History Month in Detroit? We've got you covered. Here's a guide to events happening on almost every day in February this year. 

Be sure to comment below or tweet us @modeld to let us know what events we missed. 
 

Lecture by Dr. Na'im Akbar

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Tuesday, Feb. 6, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Na'im Akbar will give a lecture about how black men and women have been affected socially, politically, psychologically, and spiritually within society. 
Admission to this event is free. 
 

The Colored Museum

Wayne State University's Hilberry Theatre
Wednesday, Feb. 7 through 18 (various times)
A performance that explores African American stereotypes and what it means to be black in America.
Tickets range from $10 to $25 and can be purchased here.
 

"The Black History of the White House" with Author Clarence Lusane

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Thursday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. 
Author Clarence Lusane will discuss his book, "The Black History of the White House," which covers the generations of enslaved people who helped to build it to the Obamas. 
Admission to this event is free.
 

The Music of J Dilla

The Detroit Institute of Arts, Rivera Court
Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 and 8:30 p.m. 
Music from legendary Detroit hip-hop artist J Dilla has been rearranged by composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and will be performed by musicians from Rebirth. 
Admission to this event is free.
 

Reflections: Intimate Portraits of Iconic African Americans

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.
A showing of photographer and author Terrence A. Reese photography series of influential African Americans. The gallery "Reflections" is based off of Reese's book, "Reflections: Intimate Portraits of Iconic African Americans."
Admission to this event is free.
 

Black History Month Through Music

Metropolitan United Methodist Church, 8000 Woodward Ave.
Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. 
In a tribute to African American performers, local performers will be singing and tap dancing. 
Admission to this event is free.
 

Drink Detroit: Black History Month Edition - Black-Owned Bar Tour

Flood's Bar & Grille, Mix, Queen's Bar
Thursday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. 
The Detroit Experience Factory is hosting a tour of some of downtown Detroit's black-owned bars.
Participants must be 21 or older. $15 tickets can be purchased here.
 

The LEGACY Gala

Saturday, Feb. 17, from 7 p.m. to midnight
The Jam Handy
The Legacy Gala celebrates local black artists through of dance, music, and theater performances. Selections from Dreamgirls, The Wiz, The Color Purple, and Porgy & Bess will be featured in this fundraiser to support The Helping Hands Campaign for the Arts. 
$50 tickets, which include drinks and food, the reception, performances, and after party can be purchased here
 

Honoring African American Scientists

Sunday, Feb. 18, from 9 to 11 a.m.
The Masjid Wali Muhammad at 11529 Linwood St.
Mathematics and science accomplishments by African Americans will be honored during a community breakfast. 
$7 tickets can be purchased at the door.
 

A Conversation on History Education

Tuesday, Feb. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Detroit Historical Museum
Brenda Tindal, the museum's new director of education, and Alycia Meriweather, deputy superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, will be discussing the history of education. A reception will follow.
Admission is free. To reserve a seat, pre-register here.
 

Jazz on the Streets of Old Detroit

Thursday, Feb. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m.
The Detroit Historical Museum
Legendary Detroit guitarist Dennis Coffey will perform "Jazz on the Streets of Old Detroit." The event is hosted by the Black Historic Sites Committee.
Tickets are $20 at the door, or $15 in advance here.
 

Perception vs Reality

Saturday, Feb. 24, from 1 to 4 p.m.
The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, 111 E. Kirby St.
The Caribbean Community Service Center will host a panel to discuss how the world portrays African Americans.
Admission to this event is free.
 

Oh, Ananse!

Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.
Jazz Cafe in the Music Hall, 4841 Cass Ave.
PuppetART Detroit will perform the West African story of Kwaku Ananse. 
Tickets for children and adults can be purchased here.
 

A Flame Superior to Lightning, A Sound Superior to Thunder: Haiti's Revolutionary History

Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Wayne State University Law School, 471 W. Palmer St.
Haitian culture and history will be discussed by Millery Polyné, an associate dean for faculty and academic affairs and associate professor at New York University. This event is open to students, faculty, and the community.
Admission to this event is free.

New cookbook features some of Detroit's best chefs cooking seasonal meals

It seems like every week for the past few years a new, hip restaurant has opened in Detroit. One trend amongst this new crop of restaurants and their chefs is sourcing locally and updating their menus depending on what's in season. 

That's part of the inspiration behind the cookbook "4 Detroit: Four Chefs. Four Courses. Four Seasons." As the title suggests, the book features four founding chefs from four of Detroit's newer acclaimed restaurants (Gold Cash Gold, Takoi, Supino, and Selden Standard) providing recipes and for seasonal meals. 

According to the press release: "Josh Stockton cooks a winter meal in Corktown. Brad Greenhill makes a spring meal in Palmer Woods, Dave Mancini hosts a summer barbecue in Indian Village, and Andy Hollyday prepares an autumn supper in Boston Edison."

$5 from the sale of every book goes to Gleaners Community Food Bank

Detroit hosts inaugural vinyl manufacturing conference

Earlier this year, we reported about how Detroit was poised to become one of the premier cities for vinyl record manufacturing in America. This is taking place due to growing interest in records nationally, as well as the city being home to two of the roughly 20 vinyl pressing facilities left in the United States. 

And if a recent event is any indication, this distinction is being recognized. As the Metro Times reports, Detroit just hosted the first-ever vinyl industry conference. 

"Colonial Purchasing Co-Op put on its first ever vinyl conference, Making Vinyl, on Monday and Tuesday at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel in Detroit," writes Sara Barron. "Organizers said the goal was to bring together key players in the industry to discuss the resurgence of vinyl."
 
[Read Model D's article about vinyl manufacturing in Detroit]
Keynote speakers at the conference included Jack White, founder of Third Man Records and the White Stripes, and Michael Kurtz, co-founder of Record Store Day, which takes place every year on April 21. 

Making Vinyl was well represented by industry professionals, and gave out a number of awards for vinyl cover art and packaging. 

After years of false starts, RoboCop statue will finally get erected in 2018

Detroit is finally getting a RoboCop statue. According to a Detroit News article, the finishing touches are being put on the 11-foot, 3,500-pound bronze statue based on the iconic film, which will be erected in Spring 2018. 

In 2011, a couple of Detroiters, Jerry Paffendorf and Brandon Walley, raised $67,436 in a successful Kickstarter campaign to construct a RoboCop statue. But the project then ran into some roadblocks.

They had trouble finding a location for the statue. The sculptor, Giorgio Gikas, got colon cancer. And the construction of the statue itself took longer than expected. 

"At times, he had two employees working on RoboCop, 40 hours a week each," writes Stefanie Steinberg.

"'Put that through three-some years now, and you see how much this project really has cost me,' he said." Gikas humorously says that the project has been "a pain in my butt, besides the colon cancer."

The exact location of the statue has yet to be released to the public, but Gikas knows where it will be. (Spoiler: not Hart Plaza)

"So the speculation will continue—at least for a few more months," writes Steinberg. "Walley said he plans to throw a 'big Robo party' to which they'll invite Kickstarter supporters, "RoboCop" movie stars and even [former Detroit Mayor Dave] Bing."

"'We've heard from people around the world that they want to make the pilgrimage to Detroit to see it,' Walley said. 'So we really see it as a great tourist (attraction).'"

Engaging with '67: Local exhibitions, writings, and movies on the rebellion

This July 23 will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 riots (or rebellion) in Detroit. It's a complicated historical event that resulted in massive social and economic implications for our region. And it's prompted a great deal of commentary in media outlets, essays, exhibitions, and more. To help readers engage with the events of 1967, here's a mini-roundup of the ways it's being thought about across the city.

Model D published an excerpt from an essay by author Desiree Cooper, "It can happen here," about the complicated feelings surrounding Detroit's revival, and how to make sure it's rising for everyone. The essay appeared in a recent anthology, "Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies," published by Wayne State University Press, that covers a range of topics related to the riots from the history of colonial slavery in Detroit to reflections from schoolchildren at the time.

WSU Press also republished a book from 1969, "The Detroit Riot of 1967," written by Hubert G. Locke. It's a firsthand, sometimes minute-by-minute account of the riots as witnessed by the administrative aide to Detroit's police commissioner.

Crain's Detroit Business put out a special report on the riots that includes a timeline of the events that lead to the outbreak, an article detailing the history of the vibrant Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods (as well as the "urban renewal" project that lead to their demise), the economic consequences of the riot, and more. 

Bill McGraw wrote an article in the Detroit Free Press asking what is the most appropriate way to describe the events of 1967: riot or rebellion (or uprising or civil disturbance). "Riot" has been the mainstream way to describe it for decades, but "rebellion" has been gaining traction. "The word of choice [for certain politically-active groups] has become 'rebellion,'" writes McGraw, "reflecting the long-held belief among a number of people that black Detroiters in 1967 were fighting back against systemic racism."

"Rebellion" is how the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History describes those events, which it will explore further in its exhibition, "Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion," opening July 23, the day the rebellion started.

The Detroit Historical Museum has been getting a great deal of positive press about its exhibition. "Detroit 67: Perspectives" collected hundreds of oral histories and scholarly input to create a narrative that spans the years before, the weeks during, and years since the riots. 

There's also movies, recently or soon to be released, covering the summer of '67. One, simply called "Detroit," directed by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, takes place during the rebellion. It comes out August 4, and you can watch it out at Cinema Detroit

A locally-produced documentary, "12th and Clairmount," premiered at the Freep Film Festival, and features archival footage, home videos, and interviews with eyewitnesses and historians. There is one more currently sold-out screening at Cinema Detroit on July 24, but the owners say there may be a few tickets available the night of the show. 

There's many more ways to read about or engage with the riots of 1967. Let us know about other local events by commenting below, tweeting us @modeld, or sending an email to feedback@modeldmedia.com.

Artist Charles McGee, 92, paints 11-story-tall mural and opens exhibition

One of Detroit's most accomplished contemporary artists, at 92 years old, is still searching. 

That's the theme for his latest exhibition, "Charles McGee: Still Searching," which is presented by the Library Street Collective and opens on June 1. According to a press release, the exhibition "traces McGee's 70-year-long career through an array of works that encapsulate two of the artist's most enduring themes: chronicles of the black experience and a love of nature. The retrospective also reflects McGee's evolution across mediums, with works ranging from charcoal drawings and photography to avant-garde three-dimensional and multimedia pieces."

One block from the gallery, coinciding with the exhibition, McGee's 11-story-tall mural "Unity" will also be unveiled at 28Grand, a new micro-loft apartment building constructed by Bedrock. 

McGee has accomplished much over his 70-year career in art. His work is on permanent display at the Detroit Institute of Art and Museum of African American History. He's also one of the founding members of the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. 

"Charles McGee: Still Searching" opens June 1 at 1505 Woodward Avenue, a pop-up gallery, with an artist reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Y Arts fundraiser doubles as a celebration of '60s psychedelic rock

There's lots of good reasons to attend a fundraiser for Y Arts, the arts and humanities branch of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. Of course, it's an opportunity to support an important arts organization. But if that's not enough of an incentive, this year's theme, "Y Arts' Rockin' Art Bash," promises to be a thrill for fans of '60s rock music.
 
The fundraiser, which takes place on Saturday, November 26, will have a screening of Kresge Kresge Fellow Tony D'Annunzio's Emmy Award Winning rock documentary "Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story," about the east-side Detroit venue.
 
The Y Arts press release gives a great description of the classic venue: "The Grande Ballroom stood as the epicenter of the Detroit rock music scene in the late 60s Serving as the starting point for bands such as MC5, Iggy & The Stooges, Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, The Grande Ballroom not only influenced local Detroit musicians but inspired bands from all over the U.S. and Great Britain. Legendary acts like Led Zeppelin, Cream, B.B. King, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, and The Who graced The Grande Ballroom main stage on a regular basis. This is the story of the hallowed halls that started it all, told by the artists who helped create The Grandes legend."
 
The poster artwork of Gary Grimshaw will also be featured. And there will be a live musical performance followed by a Q&A with the director of "Louder Than Love."
 
All proceeds from the event will support Y Arts Detroit and the arts programming they provide to youth and families throughout Metropolitan Detroit. Tickets are available at http://rockinartbash.brownpapertickets.com/.

The Senate Theater launches crucial crowdfunding campaign

A classic Detroit theater needs your help.

The Senate Theater on Michigan Avenue, home to one of the largest Wurlitzer organs in the world, hopes to raise $150,000 in a GoFundMe campaign. The theater has opened and closed several times since it first opened in 1926, and is entirely volunteer-run today.

Most of the money will go towards repairing the rusted sign, both the steel and letterboard. It's difficult to tell that the Senate is even open for business without it.

Here's a brief history of the theater from Cinema Treasures: "The former theater was acquired by the Detroit Theater Organ Society (DTOS) in 1963 who renovated it and reduced seating from 1,200 to about 900. The Club moved the former Fisher Theater organ from the Iris Theater, where it was briefly kept in 1961-2, to the Senate Theater.

"Since then, the Senate Theater has been home to the DTOS, and features organ concerts. It no longer has its projection equipment, so unlike the Redford Theater, which features organ concerts and classic motion pictures, the Senate Theater became a concert hall only."

The crowdfunding campaign ends on November 5. To donate, visit the campaign page.

Living Arts commemorates Mexican tradition with month-long series of events

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday of Mexican origins that takes place on November 1 and is dedicated to the memory of relatives and loved-ones who have died. Living Arts, an organization that supports youth arts programming and does a lot of work with Southwest Detroit's Mexican-American community, will be holding an event on October 29 to commemorate the holiday.

Beginning with a procession across the Bagley Street pedestrian bridge, "Teatro Chico—Dia de los Muertos: Nuestras Historias, Our Histories" will culminate with a community meal, music and dance performances, and an exhibition of ofrendas (altars) at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center.

The performances will be given by some esteemed dance and mariachi groups, including Living Arts' own youth dance ensemble.

"Living Arts is proud to be able to contribute to this important conversation about Dia de Los Muertos among all the other wonderful contributions taking place in the Southwest Detroit Community as well as in the greater Detroit area and in Southeast Michigan," stated Erika Villarreal Bunce, Living Arts' director of programs, in a press release. "Through this project we hope to help uplift the ancient roots of Dia de Los Muertos through examining its long history and acknowledging its future. We hope to reconnect with the significance of the tradition as well as help others to learn about and engage on a deeper level with Day of the Dead."

Throughout the month of October Living Arts will also offer art workshops on papermaking, pottery, along with other traditional crafts, using those art objects to create a Dia de Los Muertos Ofrenda. All activities will take place at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center.

The project is sponsored in part by Michigan Humanities Council, the Ford Motor Company Fund, and the Ideal Group.

Teatro Chico: Dia de los Muertos takes place on Saturday, October 29 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. beginning at the Bagley Street pedestrian bridge and moving to the Ford Resource and Engagement Center. The event is free of charge, but donations are encouraged. For more information about the event or workshops, visit the Living Arts event page.

Cleveland installation has Detroit inspiration

If you happen to find yourself in Cleveland between now and early January, be sure to head to the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) for an art installation that features Detroit.

Titled, "Unit 1: 3583 Dubois," the work by Anders Ruhwald recreates the a Detroit building's identity through a series rooms and corridors. "Using charred wood, ash, molten glass, found objects, and black-glazed ceramics, Ruhwald meticulously composes an immersive, richly sensorial experience that is at once dramatic, nostalgic, and uncanny," says a description on MOCA's website.

Model D's sister publication in Cleveland, Fresh Water, also visited the exhibit and came away with this fascinating description: "Unit 1 does include two sensual components the other exhibits lack," writes Erin O'Brien. "Not only does it smell of charred wood evocative of campfires as well as arson, visitors are encouraged to do something that might otherwise get them asked to leave a museum: touch all the interior components of the mysterious space, some of which offer a primal element of life: warmth."

At the end of its run in Cleveland, Ruhwald will transport the installation back to Detroit for permanent relocation.

"Unit 1: 3583 Dubois" will be on display at the MOCA until January 8, 2017. 

Conference on preserving Detroit's musical legacy enters third year

Detroit has one of the greatest musical heritages of any city in the world. And a local conference is intent on preserving it.

Hosted by the Detroit Sound Conservancy (DSC) and presented by Lawrence Technological University, the 3rd Annual Music Conference will convene people integral to music preservation for the purpose of discussing how to harness the city's musical legacy.

The conference, which takes place on October 15, will have panels, a speech from Soul music legend Melvin Davis, as well as a remembrance of James T. Jenkins, founder of the Graystone International Jazz Museum and Hall of Fame, who would have turned 100 this year. 

The conference will be held at the Detroit Center for Design & Technology (DCDT).

"The DCDT prides itself on aligning with local initiatives, programs and organizations who look to foster and expand the role that art and design play among the local community, growing industry and educational pedagogy," says Karl Daubmann, DCDT interim executive director. "With the DSC's history of working towards increased awareness of Detroit’s musical heritage, along with their efforts in advocacy, preservation and education in the local community, the DCDT is proud to support our neighborhood partner in their endeavors to reinvigorate Detroit's ever present musical culture."

The DSC's 3rd Annual Music Conference takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 at the Detroit Center for Design & Technology. For more information on the conference schedule or to RSVP, click here.

Help select which mural gets painted at the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex

Every year, the 8-week Summer in the City program culminates in a celebration and mural painting. This year, they've chosen to adorn the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex in northwest Detroit with a hockey-themed mural.

And you can help decide which mural is selected. The Detroit Red Wings Foundation, along with the youth-led summer program, and the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department have come up with seven mural designs, all hockey-themed, as the section of the rec center to be painted is the Jack Adams Memorial Hockey Arena.

The mural that gets the most votes will be painted on the Finale Friday celebration, which includes more than just painting, and takes place on August 12. All are encouraged to vote for their favorite design and volunteer for painting.

Summer in the City is an organization that offers programming and volunteer opportunities in Detroit for youth. One project they commonly undertake is mural-painting—the organization says they've painted over 100 in the city.

Model D covered last year's Finale Friday at Crowell Community Center, also in northwest Detroit. An estimated 1,200 volunteers showed up.

To vote for your favorite mural design, click here.

Hatch Art launches fundraiser to save Hamtramck Disneyland

The Hamtramck art collective Hatch Art, using the local crowdfunding platform Patronicity, has launched a fundraiser to help save Hamtramck Disneyland, the famous folk-art site started in the backyard of Ukrainian immigrant Dmytro Szylak.

Syzlak immigrated from Ukraine to Hamtramck with his wife in the 1950s. For the last 30 years of his life, he constructed and renovated the whimsical, vivid artwork that contains tributes to his new and past home countries.

Syzlak passed away last year, and his estate sold the artwork to Hatch Art in May 2016.

If they reach their goal of $50,000, Hatch Art will, according to the fundraiser, "repair and maintain the outdoor, site-specific folk art installation as well as establish an artist's residency program and gallery space."

The installation hasn't been properly cared for in some time and is indeed in need of numerous upgrades. "The garages that support the art suffer from rotten roofs and sagging structures," reads the fundraiser. "Much of the art is weathered, falling apart and in need of immediate attention to be saved."

The "Save Hamtramck Disneyland" fundraiser ends August 20. 

Developers take lead installing public art in downtown Detroit

Public art is becoming an increasingly common sight as developers both big and small (including Model D's startup editor Jon Zemke) integrate murals and sculptures into their redevelopment projects in the greater downtown Detroit area.

The Detroit News profiled Midtown-based artist Nicole Macdonald's work creating murals of the Motor City's great leaders, including her largest work to date, a billboard-sized tribute to Mary Ellen Riordan on the side of a duplex in North Corktown.

"A group of students were walking by and they stopped and asked, 'Who's that?' and I had the opportunity to tell them," Nicole MacDonald is quoted in the article. "That's what public art is all about. It's empowerment."

Model D broke the story about the mural of the legendary former president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers earlier this year.

Summer program at downtown YMCA teaches teens about media arts

Y Arts, which does arts programming for the downtown Boll YMCA, is offering a summer program for teens interested in the media arts. The Y Media Works Summer Institute gives campers the opportunity to learn from local media talent and "produce their own film ideas, photography projects, stop motion animation, and digital music compositions," according to promotional materials.

The program, now in its 9th year, is run by Y Arts executive director Margaret Edwartowski, who's had a lengthy career in theater as a writer, director, actor, and improvisor. The team, which is rounded out by other artists with expertise in media, will provide daily instruction and take the campers on field trips to production houses, museums, and studios.

The camp runs from Monday, July 11 to Thursday, August 11, with camp days being Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Every campers' final film will be shown on Saturday, August 20 at the YMCA's Marlene Boll Theatre. 

"We hope that our campers gain experience in photography, digital film production, and visual storytelling working alongside local artists," said Edwartowski by email. "But most of all we seek to provide a fun and creative experience where youth explore and celebrate downtown Detroit."

The camp costs $500, but full and partial scholarships are offered. 

The Y Media Works Summer Institute begins July 11. To apply or learn more, contact Margaret Edwartowski at medwartowski@ymca.org.
337 Arts Articles | Page: | Show All
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