a CCS graduate, director of detroit contemporary. Founded in 1998, the
gallery is a contemporary arts and performance space which exhibits
local and international artists of all mediums. By placing local artists
alongside outsiders, established artists next to emerging, and different
mediums all under one roof, detroit contemporary seeks to further the
growth of the Detroit art community.
The year previous to moving here I traveled around
the US for almost a year, spending time in almost every state and parts
of Canada. Actually Detroit was one place that I didn't go to. I just
went through Kalamazoo and Port Huron into Canada. It was very brief.
When I visited (CCS) I only had a few hours and there was a certain
energy that I felt. At the moment I felt it
I knew immediately
that this was where I wanted to be.
I don't think there is any other places in the
United States like Detroit. Just the amount of conflict and struggle
that has happened here is significant. Often people have referred to
Detroiters as being survivors. I think there is a lot of truth in that.
I really like the sort of do-it yourself, wilderness kind of living
- even though it is very difficult compared to most cities to live here.
And so there's that wilderness potential. It's like - you are stranded
on some island and you can build your home. It's kind of a similar thing.
You don't have as much interference, and it's affordable. The potential
to create out of the history that's here and the amount of raw information,
and the physicality of everything.
WHY AN ART GALLERY?
At the point when I had to make the decision
the only real thing I could see myself being happy doing was
making art. Through the process of making art and going to school and
talking with friends,
a lot of ideas [came about], excitement
for more venues for art here, and the possibilities of what could be
done with the art here and what artists might need. I feel like running
a gallery is a different form of art itself; it's like directing a larger
work of art.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE OF DETROIT
First of all there are some staple things about
detroit contemporary that (founder and former director) Aaron Timlin
and I both always felt strongly about. Showing and helping to support
Detroit area artists who are young and emerging and showing enormous
potential - and also showing long time artists who have been a part
of creating what we have now. I believe (both groups) will always be
a part of detroit contemporary. So things aren't necessarily now and
then, it's all contemporary, regardless of who's making it.
One show that I am definitely very excited about,
a year from now, is a curators exhibit. It's an exhibit of work, bodies
of art, made by people who are full time curators and directors of art
galleries. That came solely from a personal need to show. Because directors
and curators of galleries are often at a disadvantage when it comes
to their own art. And people don't often see them as artists, they see
them as directors first and foremost. I won't be showing my own work,
of course, in the show.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF DETROIT?
The positive and negative attitudes I take about
the future of the city are meshed into one feeling. Right now there
is an enormous amount of groups - non-profit, commercial and independent
- that are all trying to do something for the betterment of the city
- changes are being made. Since I moved here in '96, I have already
seen an amazing amount of changes.
The other part of it is realistic negativity.
There have been so many projects throughout the years [that were] supposed
to turn the city around and suddenly make it a mecca and have everyone
coming in throngs to Detroit. And we've seen how that has not happened.
And I think to mesh those two together and have
a positive outlook on it - I think the city will hopefully always retain
the essence of what is Detroit. I feel like it will also improve in
a lot of ways, just for the general quality of life of the citizens
here. And it already has, so much, thankfully. But I don't really feel
like any time soon we will be living in the highly populated, gentrified
city - like Chicago or New York. Nor do I think we need to. We have
to concentrate on smaller things before we can get there.
5141 Rosa Parks Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48208