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Silver Lining for Detroit

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Foreshadowing an Art Renaissance


The x-motor giant has been in the news a lot lately. Stories have ranged widely and have included their declaration of bankruptcy; fleeing human and soaring abandoned canine populations; mile expanses of abandoned facilities, factories, and homes; and suggestions that the city should empty its art coffers to plug the gaping hole of municipal debt. Among all of this grim and grey news there must be silver linings- somewhere, however small.

In a recent article in Artspace, Collector Gary Wasserman on Why Detroit is the Newest Laboratory for the Avant-Garde, we see a glimmer of hope for the fallen giant- cheap rent, where else can "an artist or musician acquire a 3,000-square-foot house with yard for $500" (Corbett). And in another article in MutualArt in September we saw news that the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. pledged a total of $1.2 in free consultancy services over the next 18 months. Rebuilding can start with this- artists, the base of the creative pyramid, and with support moving up the scaffolding in the upper management levels. These realities and movements are newly sewn seeds and could lead to real ground-up change. 

There are other layers to Detroit's past and present that are important to remember- Detroit has bridged racial rifts with its creative output before. The Motown Sound was a unique blend of soul music with pop influence that appealed interracially, so the history of art movements emerging from the area are remembered. The city also still has a good root structure of art patronage. So, the city's foundation remains and opportunity can almost be found amidst distress. Though Detroit will have to start from scratch, stories like these make us keenly aware of the potential for renaissance.

Artspace, Rachel Corbett

MutualArt

Related Links & Stories:
CBS News: 60 Minutes report Detroit on the edge by Bob Simon 

In Detroit, a Case of Selling Art and Selling Out by Roberta Smith

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