NY Times article: Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit

As we said in a previous post, Trudel | MacPherson is intrigued by the Arts Spaces initiatives taking root across the US which led to the design of the June Art Works: A Discussion About Art Spaces and Communities our Alliance for the Arts/Times Arts Forum. Panelists from the Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Festival and Artspace Projects discussed the transformative role arts assets and artists can play in reviving neighborhoods and strengthening communities.
These initiatives can start in unexpected places. We call to your attention Melena Ryzik’s New York Times report on the exciting arts ferment in Detroit: Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit. The piece traces the development of art amid urban decay – “A small but well-publicized movement of artists and other creative types trying to wring something out of the rubble.” We applaud the innovative “micro-financing” collective called “Soup.” It’s a monthly gathering where guests pay $5 for soup, salad and dessert, listen as compatriots propose projects then VOTE on which one should be funded with that month’s “SOUP” dollars.
Art obsessed developers have purchased parcels of land destined to become permanent creative spaces and are selling them for $1 per square inch – certainly a new take on “micro real estate.”
This artistic “bottom up” movement has even caught the attention of City Hall and there’s now a paid “film, culture and special events liaison” in the office of Detroit Mayor, Dave Bing.
Transplanted artist Brian Merkel said “people move to Detroit because they have a sense of purpose.” So maybe that’s it, Simple? Profound? Maybe artists can lead the way to reclaim and revitalize communities and the arts can be each community’s “ruby slippers” reminding citizens why “There’s no place like home!” What do you think?

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