the detroiters

James Dozier

"Spreading the Word": Arts Enthusiast Answers Our Four Questions



If you've been to an art opening, you've definitely seen James H. Dozier or, as he's known to everyone but the taxman, just "Dozier." An accomplished multimedia visual artist (you can catch his work physically at Ferndale's Batista Gallery - or check out our virtual gallery here), Dozier has taken it upon himself to get to as many art openings and other cultural venues in our fair region as possible. In the past several months, he began compiling his own exhibition and cultural events listing which he shares via email in order to help others too participate in all that Detroit's cultural venues have to offer.

Recently Dozier sat down with Nick Sousanis at the Cass Café to answer's famous four questions. (A different version of this interview can be found in the pages of Metro Times.)

(Please check out our own art exhibitions calendar here.)


I'm a native Detroiter and grew up in Detroit.

I've always been interested in art and culture since my early 20s. Originally I became interested in photography which then blossomed into interests in painting and drawing and eventually fusing them all together in my own work. As I became more aware of Detroit's culture, I also became aware of how little of Detroit's culture seemed to be promoted outside of Detroit or even within Detroit. Our local media, although they do some coverage, it seems to me that their coverage of non-major cultural venues in our area has been steadily diminishing. I became aware that the only way I would find out what was going on was by actively going to these various cultural venues.

As I became more active in terms of participating in more cultural venues, a number of people noticed me at various venues and they would inquire as to what else was happening. After a couple of years of this, I decided something needed to be done. I realized I had to be the agent for that change. So I started compiling lists of events and then sending that information out to anybody who was interested. I also feel that this helps promote the city. We have a thriving cultural scene here but unfortunately it's just underreported.

Another one of my aspirations in doing this compilation is to make people aware not only of the culture here but to expand the idea of our community to include all the cultural venues within a 150 mile radius of Detroit. A lot of other interesting things are happening elsewhere like Windsor, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint, and so forth.


Generally speaking, I think although we're going through some tough times right now, Detroit is going to thrive. It will take time. It took time for us to decline; it will take time for us to rise up again. I think we are steadily rising. However, the rise will come with the realization that we won't have the same population we enjoyed in the past. Therefore, we will have to make some adjustments in our aspirations based upon that realization. But in terms of our future, I think it is really bright. I think we are going to become one of the major cities in the nation. Also I think that people will start seeing Detroit as one of the cultural centers of the nation.


I think the future is bright. Perhaps there will be some changes in how artists and galleries promote themselves because of the economies involved. For instance, some galleries and artists no longer use postcards to send out announcements for their shows. Galleries in particular are using the Internet more to send out email announcements for their openings.

Due to the distances involved you can't get to them all [the galleries]. It would be so much nicer if they would, say, extend their openings from 6 to 11 or 5 to 10, so people would have ample time to come and attend their openings. And that's really helpful because at some venues parking is an issue. Some galleries are doing this. Also in areas where we have a cluster of galleries, it would be beneficial if they could coordinate their openings.

I think the listings will always be important. Because it allows one to really find out what is happening in a timely manner, unlike monthly publications where you have to meet a print deadline well in advance. Also with the Internet, information can be dispensed very quickly to people who are interested in receiving it. Therefore it makes it even more convenient. A lot of people who respond to the openings listings cite the fact that they can look at what's happening at a glance. They don't have to be looking and hunting to see what is happening. Also, it allows me to list a lot of venues that for whatever reason aren't listed in the mass media publications.

I enjoy doing it. I like informing people, exciting people about our community. I still hear people say "There's nothing happening." And I say read this.

You can find Dozier at nearly every art opening. Don't miss our virtual gallery of his work here. - Nick Sousanis

Who will be the next detroiter to face our four questions? Watch this space...

For a look at detroiters past, here's a few:
Community Leader, Detroit Synergy Co-Founder David Naczycz
"The Passenger" writer/director Jamie Sonderman
DEQ founder, DJ Shortround
Author Lynn Crawford
Godfathers of Techno, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson
Theatre Artistic Directors Oliver Pookrum and York Griffith
Art Gallery Directors Aaron Timlin, Phaedra Robinson, and Mitch Cope

Other (non-4 question) Detroiter interviews from our archives:
Artist Charles McGee
Artist Tyree Guyton
Artist Scott Hocking
Artist John Ganis
Sculpture Conservator Giorgio Gikas
Artist Peter Williams

© 2002