By Michael H. Hodges

Call it an exercise in "Build it and they will come." The Woodward Windows project aims to pull pedestrians to a bleak stretch of Detroit's main drag by filling empty storefronts with art, brightly lit at night.

Launched in May on a shoestring budget, the grass-roots project has now occupied — legally — about a dozen storefronts, with hopes for more.

The dream is to convert the first two blocks south of Grand Circus Park into an attention-grabbing art walk, a Rust Belt echo of Miami's Wynwood district, where public art successfully remade a derelict neighborhood.

"If the 'Live Downtown' initiative is going to attract all these young professionals," said Windows organizer Mike Han, referring to the plan to boost downtown's population, "Woodward Windows will be part of what keeps them here."

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