On the Ground: Party in a hut (what?)

We here at Model D enjoy a good party -- especially one to celebrate the opening of a new city space. Better still when the space is not quite like any we've seen before.

We've gathered in warehouses and alleys, skyscrapers and storefronts. This time, we're inviting you to a hut. Clad in herbs. That we will eat!

Sound sweet?

Join us Saturday, Aug. 24, 3 to 6 p.m. for the dedication of the Edible Hut, a new community gathering space in Calimera Park on Detroit's Northeast side. Come meet the team of students, neighbors and artists who collaborated to create a new twist on the traditional park pavilion -- part garden, part classroom, part stage.

There will be music. And performance. And food (healthy, local food). And we'll introduce you to some of the local leaders we've been profiling in our On the Ground series.

So what makes this hut so special? Well first, it's a great example of neighborhood innovation and collaboration -- Kresge Artist Fellow Kate Daughdrill and Mira Burack working alongside Osborn youth and residents to make a shared space for all to enjoy.

While the design may be theirs, Daughdrill and Burack are very clear: the idea came from the community. "We listened to a neighborhood group share what they needed and wanted...and based on what they said, we took their input and designed the project," says Daughdrill.

At the top of the wishlist: a place for beauty, for health and wellness, for fun. And if you've ever been to Calimera Park, you know this big open field has been yearning for a focal point and a bit of shade. The hut delivers on both counts, with a very cool oculus for cloud-gazing on a summer day.

(For more backstory on the design process, check out this video from our Urban Innovation Exchange panel at ArtXDetroit.)

It's important to note: this project would not be possible without support from C+PAD, one of our favorite programs in town. A joint venture of College for Creative Studies and the Skillman, Chase and Kresge Foundations, C+PAD pairs artists with youth and residents to develop public art projects that creatively address community goals. Osborn Neighborhood Alliance has also played a pivotal role by convening local placemakers.

It's been a long labor of love, so now let's celebrate their work and enjoy the fruits (well, flora) of their labor.

Set your compass NE and cruise on over to Osborn on Aug. 24. To find your way, here's a map.

For more Edible Hut info and updates, check out the website and Facebook page. To support the hut's ongoing maintenance, donate here.

Claire Nelson is the publisher of Model D and Urban Innovation Exchange. Follow her summer photo diary from Osborn on Instagram and Tumblr.

Photographs by Vanessa Miller.
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