City seeks 9 stewards for Arts Alley initiative, offering $10K fellowships for community liaisons

What’s happening: The Detroit Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship (ACE) has put out the call for nine stewards of the city’s new Arts Alley initiative, a program that will transform long-neglected alleyways into community-revitalizing destinations. Applications for the program, which will award nine $10,000 fellowships, are due by midnight on Friday, May 26.

What it is: First announced last year, the Arts Alley program aims to use arts and culture to bolster beautification and revitalization efforts in eight Detroit neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods include Alkebu-lan Village, Jefferson Chalmers, McDougall-Hunt, North End, Northwest Goldberg, Old Redford, Schulze, and Southwest Detroit. The program is funded by the Ford and Kresge Foundations.

Why it is: There are four primary objectives to the initiative: spur neighborhood revitalization; implement stormwater management strategies to mitigate flooding; employ the creative workforce; and highlight neighborhood creativity.

How it works: Nine $10,000 fellowships will be awarded to successful applicants to serve as liaisons between community stakeholders and the Arts Alley initiative, where they’ll work with community stakeholders to curate artwork, program events, organize volunteers, attend neighborhood association meetings, schedule maintenance, and more.

Applications for the fellowship are available online.

Where it’s going: The Arts Alley initiative is occurring in two phases, with the first phase having alleys in Jefferson Chalmers, Northwest Goldberg, Old Redford, Schulze, and Southwest Detroit begin construction this summer. The design process for the second phase of alleys — in Alkebu-lan Village, Jefferson Chalmers, McDougall-Hunt, and North End — begins this spring.

Why it’s important: “For decades alleys were forgotten places in our city that became havens for illegal dumping and overgrowth,” Mayor Mike Duggan said when announcing the program last year. “But now we are transitioning from blight to a city of beauty. In addition to the 2,000 alleys we are clearing, these Arts Alleys will turn several of them into beautiful and unique gathering places for neighbors for years to come.”

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.