Aaron Timlin, founded the Detroit
Contemporary in 1998. He currently serves as executive director of the
70-year old Detroit Artists Market.Founded
in 1932, the Detroit Artists Market educates the Detroit metropolitan
community about the work of emerging and established Detroit and Michigan
artists through exhibitions, sales, and related programs.
You can cast a shadow in Detroit, whereas in
New York you would be in the shadows. There is all kinds of potential
in rebuilding a city and rethinking an urban landscape. [It is already
there in] New York, Chicago and San Francisco. But Detroit has so many
empty canvases to paint and to fill.
WHY AN ART GALLERY?
I was born into [art]. My dad (Detroit sculptor
Hugh Timlin) has been a sculptor for 40-something years.
in my life 10 years before I came around. It was a necessity too, when
I was growing up. To draw, to make bread and to spin our clothing and
everything, and that's all art, that's all creative expression.
I started Detroit Contemporary in 1998, because
around that time the Focus Gallery, Willis Gather, and Michigan Gallery
all closed. These were all pretty major galleries in the city, and the
casinos were getting ready to open. So I thought that that was the least
I could do with this vacant, rundown, 100 year old building I had bought
on Rosa Parks. I didn't know what would come of it. I had thoughts and
visions about music and lots of people and art and different events
and stuff and have come to do that.
I recently walked into two friends' homes that
are in the suburbs - pretty much the same. One is just a normal suburban
home, posters maybe, if even that.
The other friend's home had
tons of art in it, and it had a totally different feeling. There was
this spiritual presence there that just made me feel - like there was
a whole different world there.
But when you just go in some home that just has
posters or nothing, then there's no other world than the one you are
exchanging with the friend. And that's what all this art is, it's all
these other worlds.
They are ideas and however long they last,
it is important that they are expressed. However long the universe lasts
it's going to be a beautiful journey and at least we expressed ourselves
through the journey.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE OF DETROIT
Being a 70-year-old arts organization, I believe
the oldest non-profit contemporary arts gallery in Michigan, the Detroit
Artists Market should have a home of its own. [The DAM rents its current
space.] It should be an arts center. That's what we need in Detroit.
We've got all the art. We have got the fifth or sixth largest museum
in the country, though it is not necessarily contemporary focused. Now
we need a contemporary center that will attract people here and then
the offshoot of that will be that they will go out to eat at the restaurants,
they'll stop by the galleries, and hopefully those people will be those
nationally, internationally recognized curators, writers and artists.
My one-year plan was passed last month at the
board meeting. It includes artists-in-residency programs, international
artists exchange, a sculptural project along Woodward, a collaborative
effort with FLAK which is a non-profit architectural group, and working
with Art On The Move to create a sculpture park. We'll also have a schedule
of music events, lectures, symposiums, and a artists' resource center
for artists to learn how to build web sites and put together artists
portfolios to submit to galleries.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF
I'd like to see it be the next art center, the
next place where people see the next new young art movement. I'd like
to see the rethinking of Detroit include urban farming, mass transit,
I want to see goats and chickens down here, and sheep. We've
got enough pastureland around here that we can do that and make it a
really unique, urban landscape.
I want to see the end of citywide city council
All the other real cities like Chicago and Boston
have matured enough and have their city council members elected by district.
So we keep getting the same old, lazy, worthless city council members
each year because people keep electing them based on their name.
And all the other things that are already happening
like the music scene and all that kind of stuff. The art scene needs
to get where the music scene is.
We need to get it back to what it was - "the
Paris of the Midwest." The tree lined streets - we need to get
the trees back. That's why "Greening
of Detroit" is an important organization [whose] mission is
to replant Detroit with trees.
Detroit Artists Market
4719 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
Wednesday-Sunday 11:00 am to 6:00 pm