Monday, March 29, 2010

Sustainability & Detroit

Hey All, here are links to what I presented in class last week:

Hantz Farms
About John Hantz (Detroit News)
(Fortune-CNN Money)
Slow Food Detroit
Dining In Detroit
The Urban Hunter (article)
Wild Spring Edibles
Detroit Blog (here)
Detroit Sustainability Training
Solomon Tree

The DetroitBlog, (a Detroit blogger obv.) is also on facebook, where he complies Detroit events, articles from the MetroTimes and Detroit News, and his own photo journals. Look (here).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thought you Might be interested in this organization. Looks like they'll be on the Empire Builder!

InCUBATE is a research group dedicated to exploring new approaches to arts administration and arts funding. We at InCUBATE act as curators, researchers and co-producers of artists projects. These activities have manifested in a series traveling exhibitions called Other Options, an artist residency program, and various other projects such as Sunday Soup (a monthly meal that generates funding for a creative project grant). We don’t have non-profit status, instead we are interested in what kinds of organizational strategies could provide more direct support to critical and socially-engaged art and culture beyond for-profit or non-profit structures. Our core organizational principle is to treat art administration as a creative practice. By doing so, we hope to generate and share a new vocabulary of practical solutions to the everyday problems of producing under-the-radar culture. Currently we do not have a physical location and we work together on an ongoing project basis.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

10 Detroit Schools Set for Demolition

Is there potential for a project here?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reading Choice

Hi all,

I would like to read "The Collaborative Turn" by Maria Lind.

Thanks Danielle. Please sign me up!

Reading Captains and Proposal for Engagement

Hi All,

I thought I'd write down the specs on your assignment which is a proposal. First, however, I'd like to find out who the captains will be for the reading packets I gave you (James, your packet is in your studio). These readings deal with the issues, challenges, and discourse that arise when creative practices take place in communities. Pick one of the readings that you'll be prepared to summarize, challenge, reflect on, etc. Please read the entire packet, but be prepared to talk in greater depth about the one you are signing up for. We'll talk about the readings after I show you some projects next Monday, 3/29.

Also, as there are at least 2 captains three of the chapters/writings, you are welcome to divide up the assignment in halves or thirds....Let us all know via blog which reading you'd like to sign up for.

SAL RANDOLPH's LETTER (please look at her site as well @


GRANT KESTER, Dialogical Aesthetics

CLAIRE BISHOP, Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics
1. Ashley

MARIA LIND, The Collaborative Turn

I will also be providing you with a reading packet within the week that exemplifies a range of community-based and relational projects, and social sculpture that has been done. We will not discuss the readings but they will spur you on as you develop your own proposal. My goal is that these readings are a solid starter pack for your own dialogue about creative approaches in communities, and that you will be familiar with the theorists and artists who have created, challenged, and expanded this trajectory of practice.'s the assignment reiterated:
You are to create 1-2 proposals that elucidate a way that Detroit and your "hometown" can have an engagement. Your area of research should reside at the center of this engagement.

-One of your proposals should be a FANTASY proposal (no rules, no budget, no limitations).
- The other should be a PRACTICAL proposal (How might you really go about making this happen? What are the first few steps you'll need to take?)
If it makes more sense to have your fantasy and practical proposal cojoin as ONE PROPOSAL, that is fine!

Your proposed engagement should occur in 2 places at once (please don't have your proposal engage with Detroit only)

Some questions you might ask yourself:

-How can your proposal make Detroit and your "hometown" see each other? (Perhaps even smell, taste, hear, touch one another...)
-How can your proposal make Detroit and your "hometown" share resources? Exchange goods, services, and/or problems?
-Create a system or ecology that deposits its outcome in Detroit as well as in your "hometown".
-Can you use Detroit's attempts at "making things better" to approach a problem in your "hometown".

Remember, you are the creator here. You are the one in charge of the form, which means that your conceptual approach can put Detroit and "home" on equal footing. You have seen some of the fantastic things about Detroit. You have also seen where Detroit suffers. Can you level the scale and examine your "home" using the same set of criteria that you used to study Detroit (ie what's fantastic and what suffers)? Once Detroit and "home" are on the same level, how are they capable of becoming changed or enriched by their interaction with each another?

Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or confusion.

Dates to discuss proposals. Please sign up to present your proposal on one of the following dates:

April 5


April 12

Best of luck and dream BIG!


I would like to read Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics. Thank You.

Youthville in Detroit

Some information relating to Erica's presentation. Here are a couple of photos of Youthville in Detroit. The wed address is and they pretty much do everything art related that the Detroit public schools do not. It is fantastic how much they do at this one place and they are open year round Monday through Saturday.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Right Now, in Detroit.

If you could start a business right now in Detroit, what would it be? Why?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Past Open Engagement Conference Catalog

Attached is a link to the post-conference catalog of the Open Engagement Conference from 2007. The catalog is 110 pages, but includes many interesting photos, handwritten notes, and writings about art and social engagement. The first essay on page 1, "Right On Canada: Some Thoughts in Regard to the Open Engagement Experience", by Harrell Fletcher, has some very interesting observations on "art" and "social practice". Here are two short quotes from the essay:

"Social Practice in regards to art can be looked at as anything that isnʼt studio practice. By studio practice I mean the dominate way of making art—spending time in a studio working out personal interests into the form of paintings, or objects, or photos, or videos, or some other pretty easily commodifiable form. The often unspoken intention for this studio work is that it will go off to a desirable commercial gallery, be reproduced in art magazines, and eventually wind up in museum collections, while making the artist into a celebrity of sorts, and paying all of the bills. That is the carrot on the stick that keeps this dominate approach alive and kicking, even though very few of these studio practice artists ever get their work shown at all, and most just give up and find some other way to pay off their student loans."

"I donʼt think that artists have any greater social responsibility than anyone else, even so called Social Practice artists. Everyone regardless of their career has the ability to try to help out in life, or to be selfish, or apathetic, or any combination of those things. Iʼve found that my life is more interesting the more I try to engage with the world and learn from other people and experiences. The more experiences I have the greater empathy I have and the more likely Iʼm going to care about things that are not directly related to my own life (partly because through the connections I make more people do become directly related to my life.)"

To access the catalog, go to the following link and click on the "Open Engagement: Art After Aesthetic Distance Post-Conference Catalogue" link under 2007.

And without further ado, here's the link:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Attending "Vanished" at Matrix Theater

Would anyone be interested to go to see the new young playwright's production of Vanished on Saturday, March 20 at 4pm? There's also a show at 8pm. I was thinking to go to the Detroit Eastern Market to check out the produce and vibes, and then go to the show. Student discounts on tickets are available, so it would cost $10 per ticket. I contacted the ticketing people, and they can reserve seats for a group if there's enough of us. I can also look into checking out the A&D van. There's also a show the following Saturday, March 27, at 4 & 8pm, as well as shows on Fridays and Sundays.

Here's a description of the show from Matrix Theater's blog:

“Vanished” is directed by 19-year-old Laura Perez who also led the collective writing of the production. The writers spent a year gathering stories from residents, immigration officers, school officials and more. The idea for the play is based on the experience of Perez’s close friend whose father, the family’s provider, was deported as an undocumented immigrant, while his mother was left to fend for herself and their three children. Unable to find work, she was forced to move back to Mexico. Unwilling to give up his education as an honor student at Cass Technical High School, Perez’s young friend was forced to support himself while finishing his senior year. Despite his hardships, he graduated with honors and was awarded a scholarship to the College for Creative Studies. He had to turn it down because of his undocumented status. Today he lives alone and struggles to support himself with low-paying jobs, while attending Henry Ford Community College part time.

"Vanished” includes other personal experiences shared by the cast and playwrights: dignity-stripping home invasions; a parent desperately struggling to find someone to care for his children when his wife is suddenly deported; married couples deported without their children ever being notified. Residents live in constant fear of deportation each time they see U.S. Customs and Border Protection vehicles on their street.

“This play is the voice of a lot of people in this neighborhood,” said Perez. “You can start your day as a family, and that afternoon your parents are gone and you’re forced to fend for yourself.” Perez began working with Matrix at the age of 10. This deeply felt original work is her professional directing debut, and it draws upon her experience as a child of immigrant parents growing up in Southwest Detroit.

Please let me know if you're interested!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Event: March 23 --- Detroit Declaration coming together!


Dear Detroit Declaration Signer,

Thank you for signing the Detroit Declaration!

In our last email, we asked Detroit Declaration signers to nominate political candidates who should be given the chance to earn the support of this movement.

Now, the drafters are pleased to announce the first public event where you can explore this and other ways to engage with the movement.

On March 23, at 5:30 p.m., we'll celebrate civic engagement by coming together to discuss the Declaration and movement, and to watch and respond to Mayor Bing's first State of the City Address.

We want this movement to be transparent and responsive, and we hope to answer all of your questions about who is behind this and what we want to do.

On the 23rd, we'll give a short presentation that explains the origins of the Declaration, introduces you to the drafters, and updates you on the candidate nominations you submitted. More importantly, we'll explore, with your help, the different avenues we believe can be used to advance the Declaration’s principles -- by getting involved with elections, advocating for solutions, or taking personal actions.

Declare Detroit, along with Model D, invite you to participate in our first major meeting.

Who: YOU
What: Detroit Declaration Public Forum & State of the City Viewing Party
Where: The Majestic Theater, 4120 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201
When: Tuesday, March 23 (doors open at 5:30; forum begins at 6:00)
Why: Because the people of this movement need to get to know each other and our city's leaders.

This event is presented by Model D Media. Free and open to the public. Please register in advance here:

Join us to plan how you can use the Declaration to move Detroit forward!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Michael's thread

Here's a link to the community arts resource website. Search for "Rubber Meets the Road" to read that article but there's tons of other stuff on there as well.

Also, here's the link to "No Room to Move" (written by Josephine Berry Slater & Anthony Iles):

But here's my synopsis:

How do public art and architecture affect city regeneration, critically studied, not with blind faith that ‘creativity heals cities’? (mostly focusing on London)

2 models: Gentrification & Regeneration

Artists are often on the forefront of gentrification: increased property taxes, increased revenue to local gov. and displacement of local residents. (Artist as Entrepreneur (think Damian Hurst) to build an art market.)

Regeneration is a more recent goal: using quasi-state agencies, tax breaks, re-zoning, public/private partnerships, encouraging cultural economies. (Relies more on state intervention). (Festivals, etc. to draw tourism, improve image of the city)

Individual artists are often critical, but not often resistant. “the more art looks like art, the less effect it seems to have” – Clare Cumberlidge (public art curator)

Artists need to be able to disassemble their skills, and present them in a vernacular context. There is increasing interest in “aesthetics of bureaucracy”, developing frameworks rather than products. (what I think the MBA/MFA could do really well). Funding tends to go towards products, rather than systems (non-sustainable?). Art as a cultural production.

What if artists were to work with communities of businesses/developers (work from the inside)? * Why does this seem like such a crazy concept? Or does it happen more than I realize?

“As ever, the role of art is to cover over the brutalities of society, to remind us of our civility, to insist on our connection to the human community, to instill good liberal democratic values into us.” Free market capitalism will always dismantle this commonality.

2 problems common to public art:

Equivalence: by illustrating a positive society, the society will get better. (basically the problem of all public art, from monuments to relational artists.)

Openness: making everyone equal- meaning everyone is ‘represented’ but no one’s voice is heard. (Like a benneton ad.)

The bigger problem is how both of these are used in new capitalist economies (knowledge and service based). There is an increased awareness of product design. Now we are sold lifestyles and places as products. Businesses are becoming more savvy and quicker to absorb artistic styles to use for their own profit. Can artists even compete?

High Tech Soul

An excellent documentary on Detroit Techno, the originators, and a bit about those carrying on the music now. I am going to show some clips in seminar, but definitely check it out to learn a bit more about the music and the people.

Scratch is not related to Techno, but more to hip-hop and turntablism. Another interesting documentary related to the use of turntables, breaks, and scratching.

Great opportunity, short deadline!! (for you or your students)

I just came across this an article in Time about Motivate Michigan and couldn't remember if you'd sent a blast out about it yet. THIS IS DUE IN 4 DAYS. Here is an explanation spliced together from the article and the MM website:

The Michigan economy needs tangible improvement. Motivate Michigan is a competition among Michigan-based college students to discover the next great creative idea for the state's economic growth. Incoming freshmen and students enrolled in Michigan’s colleges and universities will compete for scholarships and internships provided by sponsoring companies and organizations. Teams and individual students will submit ideas online to improve the Michigan economy. A committee will pick out the top ideas based on their potential impact, originality, creativity and feasibility. Then, the public will have a chance to vote for the top five. A panel of judges will pick the final winner. Submissions must be in by March 12; voting starts April 12.

The winning idea will be developed into a project plan and presented to the logical “Project Owner” for funding and support.

Here's the news article:

Here's the competition website:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs is a Chinese-American activist, writer and speaker whose more than sixty years of political involvement encompass the major U.S. social movements of this century: Labor, Civil rights, Black Power, Asian American, Women's and Environmental Justice. She often speaks of Detroit, where she has resided since 1953. Her husband, James Boggs, was an African-American labor activist, writer and strategist. Together they founded Detroit Summer, a multicultural, intergenerational youth program to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up.

"This new kind of city can't be built overnight. To create it is going to take time and struggle, including political struggles over opposing policies and directions. It can't be built from the top down by politicians reacting to crises or by developers seizing opportunities to make megaprofits. It must emerge organically from the initiative, imagination, commitment, passions and cooperation of a lot of different people with diverse skills and gifts, putting their hearts, heads and hands together to make a difference. I can't predict the process by which this new kind of city will become strong and stable enough to be a recognizable social formation, but I suspect that it will be something like the one by which over the last four hundred years capitalism slowly but steadily began to take root in Europe and from there spread to the rest of the world because it met deep-seated human or spiritual needs for the individuality and freedoms that had been repressed by feudalism. Analogously, as we enter the third millennium, capitalism's destruction of community and of the biosphere, its denial of social justice and its consumerist monoculture are creating spiritual and material needs for a new culture based on new human values. The movement to create this new culture is emerging organically in Detroit because its physical devastation not only challenges us to begin thinking differently about who we are and how we want to live but also frees up space for new beginnings."
-excerpt from her keynote address: One Thing Leads to Another: Cooperative Developments in Urban Communities, at the Michigan Alliance of Cooperatives in East Lansing, Michigan, October 20, 2000.

Read more about Grace Lee Boggs here:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I really want to go to this lecture. Anyone else interested??

"Activism and the Creative Class: The Art of Building Inclusive Communities"
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
@ MOCAD 4454 Woodward Ave
6:30 Strolling Reception
7:30 Lecture

This ACLU of Michigan spring Legacy Lecture will focus on building inclusive communities--communities that will enliven the economy, enhance understanding and cooperationa dn provide new opportunities for social and political engagement. Memebers of the "creative class" have become a vital part of the effort, moving from artist to activist as they help their communities move forward.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black ("Milk") will share his personal experiences as an artist who has become a strong advocate for LGBT rights on the naitonal scene and here in Michigan. Detroit artist/advocates will share their local perspectives and the ACLU-MI will highlight key freedom of expression cases and ongoing work in defense of civil liberties.
Tickets: Students $15/ ACLU members $30/ Non-members $40
available online at or by calling (313) 578-6827