Community Embraces Development From Within
A neighborhood block club works with Detroit area artists to paint a picture of their future
(Detroit, MI – April 4, 2018) In a time when development in Detroit means displacement and disenfranchisement of the poor and lower income residents as well as the erasing of their history via bulldozers and foreclosures, a block club and an arts organization set out on a more equitable course for one of the most overlooked neighborhoods in the city. “Renderings” is an exhibition presented by detroit contemporary and the United Community Block Club to bring ideas of the residents to life through visual interpretations by local and nationally recognized artists. “Rendering the future of a neighborhood through art is a novel way to meditate on the change citizens want and inspire eventual action to make these visions a reality” says participating artist Nicole Macdonald.
Bounded by the Lodge expressway to the east, Grand Blvd to the north, Grand River to the west and I-94 expressway to the south, Northwest Goldberg is three quarters of a square mile with a population of 1,849, 62% of whom live below poverty. “The neighborhood used to be happy” says block club president Fred Bouyer. “It was full. You could walk down the alleys and there was every kind of fruit tree you could imagine except citrus.” Other lifelong residents remember walking to school and an active playground at the end of their street. The schools have been closed or torn down and the playground is gone. “Drugs hit real hard. Then crime started increasing and people started leaving,” says Bouyer. Many houses stand decrepit and abandoned, most with sad stories hanging in their eaves. However, the people who remain both young and old are determined to bring their community back to a place of vibrancy and community. “People used to look out for one another.” says Faye, a member of the block club. “I want that back again.”
Curators Aaron Timlin and Marianne Burrows selected artists from various backgrounds including architecture, design, painting and photography. Many of the participating artists currently use their work as a means of creating positive social change already. “ALL too often visions of our future cities are beamed across the world by internationally acclaimed practitioners.” says Nick Tobier, a professor at University of Michigan and a participating artist in the exhibition. “Shimmering towers, sparkling commercial corridors, or Utopian visions representing idealized forms. When you think of inverting this direction and instead giving form to the imaginations and visions of those who lead full and fully informed lives in these very living cities, the possibilities for revelations and transcendence increase exponentially.” Tobier continues. Other participating artists include Anthony Maughan, Cedric Tai, Clinton Snider, Darcel Deneau, Juan Martinez, Lisa Poszywak, Mark Dancey, Nancy Patek, Miles Rose, Pamela DeLaura, Ryan Herberholz, and Sabrina Nelson with photography by Doug Coombe, Jamin Townsley, Kathleen Holzgen, Kyleigh Mathewson, and Marianne Burrows.
“Renderings” will be held at the Annex Gallery located at 333 Midland in Highland Park, MI 48203. The exhibition is free and open to the public.