Making Love in Motown

On April 24, 2011, in Blog, by BHQF

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but she is also a motherfucker. Nowhere we’ve visited along this sojourn through America better exemplifies the cliché of “creativity out of crisis” than Detroit.

We all know the story by now. The auto industry built the town, and when the big three couldn’t keep up, neither could the big D. Everybody fled for the suburbs leaving a carcass ripe for urban revitalization. But the powers that be have been slow to realize the magical healing properties artists have on the real estate market.

So for now, Detroit exists in that purgatorial paradox of economic blight and genuine creative energy. It’s a tough town. Which makes for tough people. Which makes for an art scene that feels local, necessary, and resilient.

After a dinner at the Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art we were lured to a dive bar called Old Miami that happened to be hosting a fundraiser for a female hip-hop collective. Organized by the 5E Gallery, we quickly got the picture that this was a community of artists who weren’t investing in their community because it felt like the right thing to do in any abstract sense. They were for real.

Within a few cheap drinks, love overcame curiosity. We could try to spin you a more interesting tale of how urbanism and artistic practice throttle each other differently in different places, but for now we just want to plug our new favorite arts organization. Look them up. Check them out. Give them all your money.


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