Saturday, December 1, 2012

Art in Detroit

Having been around artists all my life, I am of course thrilled to see all the art going on in Midtown. A thriving art scene is a necessary piece of a thriving city.

I love to go into galleries - especially those of African American Detroit artists. I worked in an art supply store in Detroit for years and watched people struggle and struggle until they left. Its good to see so many people getting the opportunity to try. I would love for so many who left to feel like they could come home and make a living here.

It is an art desert in most of Detroit (with the exception of Mid-town and a part of Southwest Detroit). I  work with children who no longer have art and music classes. If you could see how excited children here are to get a lump of clay, you would only be heart-broken as an artist. It should not be a rare event in their life. Art and music are nearly human rights. They are therapeutic and improve the quality of life for everyone. As I was watching the flamenco dancers at the Detroit Historical Museum on Noel Night I thought, everyone is a dancer if they have the chance to find the type of dance that suits them. Children in Detroit are not being given the chance to find the mode of expression that suits them.

Art and music should be available to every student in Detroit, not just children at select schools. There is a way of working art projects/music into math, science, and reading requirements. (example: origami for geometry) There is service learning with college students as the teachers for workshops. There is also the "novel" idea of actually employing certified art and music teachers, even if kids are just getting art one semester and music the other, just once a week or every other week. A lot of the artists in Detroit could help bring art into neighborhoods where there is none. There are so many ways to bring essential art into children's lives and I would work on this as mayor.

Additionally, there is a whole generation, if not two, that were cheated of any opportunities to explore their talents. Adult education should include free music and art lessons with neighborhood art/music shows to make this up to them. Give them a chance to express themselves. That is just one of many things that Detroit owes to that particular age group.Senior citizens should also be given the opportunity to take free or reduced cost lessons at a neighborhood spot or there could be art/music grants just for senior centers.

As a part of the neighborhood centers I have mentioned in a previous post, there would be neighborhood talent shows that would showcase the talents of everyone in that neighborhood.

The Detroit Festival of the Arts is so missing from Detroit. I used to bring a group of kids there to the Youth Artists' Market (one of the most well run events I have seen in my life) to sell the crafts they had made. It took them two years to really realize that they could never go back to it. As mayor, I would work to find a sponsor or patchwork sponsors to bring it back at some level. The Art Fair could also be used as the place for the final competition for the neighborhood talent contests to showcase ALL of Detroit.

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