Red Door Gallery

The current Red Door Gallery in our area is located at 7500 Oakland St, Detroit, Michigan 48211. However, there are MANY different galleries with this same name, and not all of them are even in the USA. So where did this Red Door trend spring up from?

The original Red Door Gallery began in 1963 and burned out quickly, ending in 1964 when it became the Detroit Artist’s Workshop. The Artists Workshop Society stemmed from a group which donated five dollars each toward the cost of renting a suitable place to work.

The workshop was started by a group of poets and musicians who, for the most part, attended Wayne State University. Martine Algier, Frank Bach, Emil Bacilla, Amiri Baraka, and Andrei Codrescu were a few of the big names, but there were sixteen members in total. This young group had a goal in mind that would give others a space in which to create, and their idea was sensational.

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Martine Algier

By the 1st of November, the society presented the first in what became a series of weekly Sunday afternoon events, which included jazz, poetry readings, and exhibitions of graphic art. These events were presented with no admission charge and were open for anyone to attend, which is mostly likely how it became such a hit. If you want to learn more about the history of such an influential artist hub, then be sure to visit this site.

Today, the society functions a little differently. There are three areas which can be made available for various activities such as film/photo/music performance studio, workshops, seminars, meetings, calls for talent, rehearsals, and anything else you’d like to rent a space for. The areas are each different, and artists can choose which type of atmosphere they’d like for whichever purpose. The options are:

1. Main Art Gallery – brick walls, skylights, iron & wood truss ceiling
2. Side Gallery – drywall, flourescent lighting, sealed cement floor
3. Upstairs studio – white walls, skylight shooting area

Here’s an interior example of the gallery space:

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If you’re interested in their current events or availability status, be sure to contact them here 

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555

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555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios is a cooperatively-run artist residency space, housed in Southwest Detroit. 555 offers art classes, studio space, and gallery show rooms for rent. The group which founded the organization has been together for quite some time, and Detroit is not the first page in their story.

In the spring of 2002, University of Michigan recent graduates Carl W. Goines, Andres Garces and Jacob “Monte” Martinez created 555 Collective. Originally, this place was located in a 2,500-square-foot space rented from the Ann Arbor Technical Center. The founders wanted to exhibit the talents of local visual artists and musicians (or foreigners in town) while also providing an outlet for University of Michigan School of Art and Design students.

Although 555 Collective was relatively successful in the Ann Arbor location, the increased development demands of the city increased rent costs and so the group decided to relocate in 2003. Ypsilanti was their next stop, then Detroit. In 2011, Southwest Housing Solutions aided 555 in finding its current home, located in the former Detroit Third Police Precinct in the diverse and culturally active neighborhood known as Mexicantown.

This studio is a must see for those wishing to explore the growing artistic atmosphere that is springing up in the motor city. If you’re an artist yourself, maybe think about attending one of their classes. Education Director Liz Sutton manages the courses. One of the first offered at 555 was a drop-in figure drawing class; today they have a kids art club class that meets the second Saturday of every month.

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Photo from Knightarts

They feature open mic nights, if you are a musician looking to show off your work or meet others of like mind, and coffee is available also. Exhibition space is offered, and there is plenty of room. If you’re curious, here is the general layout of the gallery space:

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Stop by and check it out at 2801 Vernor Hwy in Detroit. They’re open by appointment, or, if you’re grabbing coffee, they’re open on weekdays from 9AM-3PM, and 2PM-5PM on Saturdays.

The Z Lot

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Photography by Sal Rodriguez

We’ve all heard of Dan Gilbert — he owns more than 9million square feet in Detroit. But there’s a specific bit of his property that is truly worth talking about on its own: the Z Lot. This parking garage is no ordinary chunk of cement in which you stash your car, it’s a one of a kind art destination. Located at 1234 Library Street, this 10 story lot features 27 different artists from around the world. The Library Street Collective, a fine art gallery at the base of the structure, displays canvas works as opposed to the murals coating the walls of its upper floors:

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The garage puts on a diverse show. Styles, mediums, artists: all different types of creators and creations. Here’s a taste:IMG_20140329_134504_193 IMG_20140329_133314_626

But since pictures are never really satisfying, you can watch clips of the artists themselves working on their projects and listen to Matt Eaton of the Library Collective and artists from around the world speak instead:

The garage is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Z’s rates are $3 for every 20 minutes. Motorists entering before 4 p.m. weekdays have a daily maximum of $18. Those who enter after 4 p.m. have a daily maximum of $9. Weekends are $9 daily maximum.

(Hours and rate info provided by DeadlineDetroit.com)

Fisher Canyon

The Fisher Canyon is a graffiti yard located right next to the Lincoln Street Art Park. It’s named after the view of the Fisher building you get as you walk up the urban canyon: brick and cement walls frame the vision of the building like a photograph.

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Pieces span the length of the train tracks when the opening of the canyon lets out; this is where writers come to practice.

Fisher Canyon

Fisher Canyon

Lincoln Street Art Park

Created in 2011, the Lincoln Street Art Park is a small area tucked behind the Recycle Here facility off of Holden Avenue. It is also bordered by the railroad, which has been deemed a separate art space called Fisher Canyon, but since both deserve equal attention, I’ll explore the urban “canyon” at another time. The Art Park is a program developed by Green Living Science and is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs & the Detroit Recreation department, as it should be. This project uses art to reuse what others don’t need. Art is made from recyclables, creating a new age junk aesthetic; the result is beautiful. Of course they thrive off of the recycle center next door. Many of the local residents come to drop off their recycleables there, and lots are used by the park. So how exactly is this junk used? Take a look at this photo by Travis Stevens:

onlocation4It’s a frickin’ dinosaur, made from who knows what. I see bits of a child’s playscape, wood, garden hoses, carved cinder block, old tires, and lawn chairs. Imagine what you could do with YOUR junk. Or, maybe you should consider bringing your recyclables to the facility on Holden Ave. Don’t be shy.

But sculpture is not all they do here; of course other types of artists are welcome. Murals are a hot art form in our modern Detroit, and this one by Malt is the most eye-catching one in the park:malt-owl-and-acid-forest_5471

Thanks to Charlie Z. we have this wonderful picture of the Recycle Here’s outer wall, which faces the park, on a sunny day. Malt is also known as “Brown Bag Detroit”. His work is as identifiable as your best friends hand writing: consistently jell-pen bright, stylistically distinct, and not always clear what mood it is supposed to bring out in the viewer. Often shown are forest scenes, owlish figures and large eyes that soak in everything around them. He calls the work above “The Acid Forest”. You can find some of his other work along the graffiti galleries on Grand River Avenue, and also downtown’s Dequindre Cut.

I recently checked the park’s Facebook page, lurking around for more recent updates, and found what looks to be a very recent piece of work:

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The graffiti reads, “I saw beauty in decay.”

Man in the City

IMG_20140329_120302_759The Detroit Man emerged in the city as a large orange cutout of a man along Interstate 96 north of Detroit.

According to John Sauve, the creator, the man represents everyone who views his sculptures: “It can be a frightening image a times, it can be someone you are, or someone you might be,” Sauve said. “I don’t want to plant too many seeds, because everyone has their own identification with it. I like people to embrace it for what it is and make it their own,” (M Live). The artist reported that “they are meant to encourage people to stop and look around their city,” (The Windsor Star).

Man in the City includes about 30 steel sculptures on rooftops throughout Detroit. Sauve launched the project in 2008, and has had exhibits in Benton Harbor and in New York City, including Governor’s Island. The 43 inch sculptures came to Detroit in 2013, and were said to stick around for two years while fundraisers were held to benefit children’s art inspired programs in the area. That means his time is almost up, anytime now.

The image above is a painting of the steel sculpture, which will surely remain after the actual piece is uninstalled. I captured this photo outside of the 4731 Gallery on Grand River, where it will be taken good care of. You can find out where I got my information and learn more yourself at Mlive and The Windsor Star.

Grand River Creative Corridor

The GRCC is one among many of Detroit’s neighborhood revitalization projects that reminds city dwellers that boy, we really are on the up! Started only three years ago, this inspiring “corridor” spans from Rosa Parks Blvd to Warren Ave by a man named Derek Weaver.

Derek Weaver is the director of the 4731 Gallery on Grand River and decided that to keep the area from looking “depressing,” he was going to expand his business by commissioning a legal street graffiti artist, Sintex, to create a mural on the wall opposite his gallery. Naturally, it came out great:
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But this was not the end result. The project incorporates 15 buildings worth of free standing artwork and covers abandoned buildings and running businesses alike. Over 45 volunteers decided this was worth their time; some worked from home here in Detroit, some from Ohio, California, France, Germany, and even New Zealand!

If you’re curious at what this place actually has to offer, I’ll let in on a little secret:

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And if photos aren’t good enough for you, you can also find a video here.

But because most of the pictures above were taken about a year ago, I decided to make a second trip to the GRCC earlier this week. I found to my dismay that it looked much different, and that many of the beautiful works had been white washed!

IMG_20140329_122446_111IMG_20150307_130403_500In fact, entire walls had been painted over with chalky white! I poked around a bit for news, but discovered nothing. So I’m expecting that new artwork will be painted on over the old come spring 🙂 I guess we’ll all have to wait and see, and I’ll make sure to update when I find out! Stay tuned!