Speak To Their Passions, Raise Awareness, Facilitate Interaction, Inspire Action.

Inside Southwest Detroit is a collection of initiatives that promote youth and community development through cultural and place-based initiatives.

Since 1999 Inside Southwest Detroit has been working to develop a vision and practice of community-driven narrative building and asset-based organizing, addressing and responding to community needs with existing community assets.


Cultural and Place-Based Initiatives.


Young Nation

Young Nation promotes holistic youth development in urban settings through mentoring, community education, and passion-driven projects. Our approach is to affect change by inspiring young people through their interests, connection to others and example rather than traditional methods of power, assumption, or coercion. By participating in gatherings, workshops and leadership opportunities, young people find their voice, strengthen their skills and develop plans for their future.

Young Nation is the organizational evolution of Expressions; a small, community-based youth group from Southwest Detroit developed to create opportunities between the porch and the corner.

Positive Youth Development | Open Studios | Blessing of The Lowriders | Detroit Future Youth Network | Blackbook Sessions | GrafikJam | Youth Leadership

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The Alley Project

TAP (The Alley Project) is an indoor-outdoor art environment—a network of places and programs along the alley developed to support and facilitate creative processes, positive youth-adult partnerships, and community building. Youth, neighbors, and visitors can create, exhibit, and view street art and other works at The Alley Project. Through art and creative processes, TAP supports healthy relationship and community building. 

Community Cultural Development | Studio Luevanos | Via de Los Muertos | HEETT Wall | Participatory Design  

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Media + Organizing

Inside Southwest Detroit uses media to collaboratively create content, build narratives, share information, engage residents, foster relationships, and promote action related to Southwest Detroit. Resident-created media is an essential commodity for local communities and is an important key to local wisdom.

Inside Southwest Detroit's media projects connect the people and places of Southwest Detroit to each other and to people and places of other communities. Accessing tools for communication and effectively utilizing those provides ownership and authentic narratives about the community.

Digital Justice | iSWD LiveMix | See, Shoot, Share #SWDetroit| Community-Driven Narratives

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Expressions began as a club meeting in members’ homes to support youth in using the things they were passionate about—lowriding, aerosol art, and media making—as a means toward positive personal and community development. Expressions used  existing community resources found in mentors who focused their energy on sharing their passions and talents in these arts and activities.  Those mentors encouraged youth to do the same  so they too could build relationships and own their future.

Project Based Education | Expressions CC Cruise Nights | Young Nation | Leadership Development

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Promoting Youth and Community Development.

“I bring my kids with me (to programming) so we can spend time together doing something we love. I want them to be able to open their eyes to the world of colors and creativity in person, not just on a screen.”
-Miguel Faz