Posts tagged southwest detroit
Young Detroit Photo Society Kicks Off with A Photo Walk

Three youth serving photo programs in Detroit—Capturing Belief, Darkroom Detroit, and Inside Southwest Detroit—came together to develop the Young Detroit Photo Society (YDPS) as a program that introduces the youth of Detroit to photography by way of also introducing them to each other and their own city.

With an emphasis on skill building in photography, youth from various neighborhoods around Detroit meet and serve as each others’ guides as they participate in photo-based scavenger hunts that ultimately produce community-driven narratives about places and their time together. The program supports youth in developing photographic competencies, exploring and learning about different places around the city, and connecting and building relationships with youth from various communities and backgrounds.

Inside Southwest Detroit recently hosted the first edition when more than 20 young photographers from around the city met at their space at Avis and Elsmere. They were greeted by photo mentors, also from various neighborhoods and organizations around the city.

Eight of the participants were from Southwest Detroit and served as guides in groups on photo walks that covered a half square mile. Having gone in different directions, the young photogs reunited at the building to share their photos with mentors and each other then collaboratively selected and captioned photos that would best depict the routes they traveled. Together the body of work forms a photo narrative of the community and their time together.

No part of this effort would be possible without the mission and vision of the organizations and the shared passion and values of the photographers that each contributed to developing and facilitating this first YDPS project. A special thanks to La Sirena Studio and the Documenting Detroit Fellowship for their support and roles as mentors to the young photographers of the YDPS.

Annual Angels' Night Event Features Arts, Activities, and Performances

Each year Inside Southwest Detroit holds an Angels’ Night event on The Alley Project for community, older and younger, to gather and share time and space. We began holding this event each year on Angels’ Night when youth outdoors without an adult can be ticketed and/or picked up and held at local precincts for curfew violation before the sun even sets. It has emerged as an annual tradition of food, arts, and at times performances.

Mary led arts and crafts with children and their parents and artists and their families visited to get to know each other and neighbors better.

A young neighbor came over with his guitar and offered to play some impromptu tunes by request entertaining attendees during his time on stage. This served as an unofficial opening for our scheduled community performance as this year’s event included a mariachi performance by Machetes and students he has worked with during his Porch on TAP residency a couple times each week in October.

Spoken 101 with Candida

Candida ran back-to-back workshops this week—Spoken Word 101 with elementary age participants in the morning and continued work with her small group of new, young middle school poets throughout the afternoon.

Team builders, videos, demonstrations and other activities introduced the young audiences to poetry in ways they hadn’t seen or done themselves.

The middle schoolers worked this week on building their confidence by working in teams with critical feedback and performing in front of themselves.

You can see the difference in the questions they are asking and in their work. They are preparing works for a public presentation in the coming weeks where they will perform an evening of poetry in front of a modest audience of no more than 20. 

DJ Skipz Welcomed As One of Several Community-Selected Porch On TAP Artists in Residence

We’re honored to welcome DJ Skipz as one of several community-selected Porch On TAP artists in residence helping to activate our new space on Avis and Elsmere!! DJ Skipz grew up here in Southwest Detroit and mixes live weekly on the Inside Southwest Detroit LiveMix on Facebook.

During his residency Skipz will be focusing on exposure and skill building with young aspiring DJs that have little to no experience to support youth interest and talent in the culture. 

The Porch On TAP invites youth, neighbors, and artists to share time and space during workshops, a community meal, and public installation to help activate the building. Together we are building and celebrating community through creative processes.

Walking The Alley, Andrea Identifies Public Art Installation Location

Andrea walked the alley along TAP to identify potential locations for her public art installation. In the end she found a perfect location that both she and the property owner are excited about.

She was curious about and interested in local plant life along the alley and shared a little about several plants native to the region around Mexico City, where she is from. 

After the walk and talk she identified this garage as an ideal location. We reached out to the owner and he was excited to offer it as a canvas for her installation. This garage is ideally arranged and located to host an installation that celebrates our collaboration by housing two engraved poster prints of plants local to Detroit and to Mexico City. One on each side. In the middle will be a mural depicting bird houses with several birds, local to Michigan and to Mexico, by Southwest Detroit artist Bryant Valdez.

During Andrea’s residency Bryant was exposed to printmaking for the first time and took an immediate interest in it—learning new techniques and approaches daily with her instruction. Eventually he attended almost every workshop she offered during her time here.

They are eager and excited to work together on this project to create an installation, in partnership with the homeowner, for the community to enjoy. 

Blackbook Sessions with Pherz

Pherz held blackbook sessions this week inviting artists and their families to gather, pass books and stickers around, and sketch.

Everyone leaves with something from someone else who’s work they respect and has the chance to return the favor. The sessions serve as recreation, skill share, and community building. 

Freddy and Pherz got to kick around concepts and logistics for the mural installation that will begin within the next couple days. 

Color Testing the Mural

This week Freddy applied a color test to the alley side of the building to see how the color palette for the mural would look on the building. During the construction meeting they talked about concepts and Freddy shared markups that show a combination of styles inspired by Tead’s gallery work and his street work.


The building will incorporate a fusion of those and Freddy’s work as a tribute to Tead’s vision for the building as well as his contributions to the scene and to individuals that he has influenced, including Freddy. 

Summertime and Blackbooks

We have spent some time together today and during the last month just sketching and talking about what we’d like to do this summer.

Blackbooks, hitting the walls, collecting/sharing old flicks, ideas about ways to inspire youth and each other, and more. Meanwhile we’ve just been enjoying sharing space… especially in the absence of our good friends that recently passed. 

In the coming weeks we hope to start collecting and organizing old photos we all have of art from around the city from the 90′s on. If it happens we’ll scan and share them sometime soon! 

Creative Time at Studio Luevanos

Parents, youth, and artists shared time and talents with each other today at Studio Luevanos. 

People bring paper, sketchbooks, pencils, markers, and ideas. We gather in garages and lots. This way we get to regularly share skills, make memories and create new art in a way that costs very little for the return.

“I bring my kids with me so we can spend time 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

Blessing of the Lowriders

Young Nation hosted the 18th annual Blessing of the Lowriders this year on The Alley Project at Grace In Action. Together with founder Victor Villalobos, GoodTimes and Uso Car Clubs’ Detroit chapters, Motor City Rockerz’ Who Got Da Props, Cumbia Poder, and Stitching Up Detroit this year’s event was a memorable mash of Southwest Detroit culture and tradition. 

Pastor John offered a blessing and Victor laid out the history of the Blessing of the Lowriders for event attendees.

After the ceremony Young Nation announced that HEETT 16 (Hip Hop Elements Exposed Throughout Time)–including a new large scale community mural commemorating hip hop culture and a street festival–will commence this year on The Alley Project after the original HEETT wall from 2000 at Ste Anne and Vernor was buffed last year. 

Open Mic at Grace in Action

Grace In Action’s Open Mic Night regulars rehearsed and performed on their home court at The Alley Project tonight for a full house sharing live music, poetry, song, and dance. 

Tonight’s homecoming festivities come just two weeks after the closing of Cafe con Leche’s beloved southwest Detroit location. Open Mic nights were regularly scheduled at the coffee shop which was on Vernor at Scotten.  

The larger venue made room for tonight’s lineup to include some surprise action by a live mariachi band, Reyes, and two members of southwest Detroit’s own Awkward Theory. Grace In Action was happy to share space when the mariachi’s originally scheduled practice location was unavailable at the last minute. It all fit in beautifully with the scheduled Open Mic activities.

The Motor City Rockerz’ Autorockz came with two rounds of top rock, power moves, and footwork for all the guests to enjoy! All of the performances contributed to an evening to remember. 

Sketching at Grace in Action

A handful of artists got together tonight with TAP at Grace In Action to sketch and share their work.

Artists brought blackbooks, markers, pencils, and other materials to create new works as they went through what they’re currently working on with each other. Featured in the photographs are works by Kevin “Oni” Ferguson and James Easterly. 

Young Nation, The Motor City Street Dance Academy Team Up for Workshop`

The Motor City Street Dance Academy, Young Nation, and Grace In Action have teamed up to offer a 12-week program for elementary students on The Alley Project at GIA every Monday evening.

The MCDSA holds workshops across the Southwest Detroit community to teach elementary-aged youth the basics of break dance. Young break dancers who have come up through Motor City Rockerz mentor younger youth as an expression of the MCRz “each one teach one” philosophy. 

The Motor City Rockerz created the MCSDA to help rebuild hip hop’s reputation locally as being a positive, impactful, creative outlet for all people.