Posts tagged southwestdetroit
An Evening of Spoken Word Performance with Candida the Poet

Candida the Poet hosted an evening of spoken word performance as her middle school participants performed alongside their instructor and guest poets in front of 20 parents, youth, and neighbors for the Porch On TAP artist residency program. 

If the youth were nervous… it barely showed. Their amplified voices fluctuated with the power of their stories. Topics ranged from relationships to family, incarceration, faith, politics, and beauty. Family and friends clapped and cheered.

Candida and Justin Gordon, both members of The Guild Poetry Collective, performed pieces of their own acclaimed work much to the excitement of the youth and the rest of the audience. 


The evening ended with talk of how this is something that is missing… and that they would like to do something about it. Open Mic nights and poetry workshops is something they said they would like to make sure happens beyond the residency. 

Students Return For Another Round of Basics with DJ Skipz

DJ Skipz’s students returned for another workshop to recall the basics from the previous session and build on them with some new challenges and techniques. Matching beats, juggling, and even a little scratching kept everyone around until the sun went down.

Parents and a few guests dropped in to enjoy the space and each others’ company. Several neighborhood DJs have come through and are meeting each other for the first time… and have been throwing around some ideas about how to get together more regularly in a way that keeps the youth engaged in the culture. 

Machetes Welcomed from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, as One of several Community-Selected Porch On TAP Artists in Residence

We’re honored to welcome Machetes, joining us from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, as one of several community-selected Porch On TAP artists in residence helping to activate the new space!!

Machetes is an accomplished mariachi who has been playing for over 30 years and specializes in the vihuela, a small, five-stringed guitar with roots in 15th century Spain, Portugal, and Italy. 

When traveling Machetes plays with local mariachis and offers lessons in the specialized techniques of the vihuela. During the residency he will be instructing small groups twice weekly for four weeks leading up to a public performance here at the building.  

Candida The Poet Welcomed as Artist in Residence For Porch On TAP

Candida The Poet is a writer, performer, and an advocate from Southwest Detroit. Her poetry and instruction demonstrate the power of voice and introspection, often challenging systemic injustice while raising awareness about a range of social topics including violence, incarceration, and addiction. Candida’s poem about gentrification, “Painfully Painted”, has been recognized for its relevance and perspective and is currently integrated into the Political Science curriculum at Wayne State University.

Candida is joining us as a resident artist at The Alley Project!! She is helping to inaugurate our new home on Avis and Elsmere as we transform our front porch to a setting for artistic exchange during our artist residency program, the Porch On TAP.

During her residency she will focus her work with a small group of middle school poets who have never composed and performed original works for an audience—working to develop experiences and skills in writing, collective participation/feedback, and performance. Additionally she will facilitate Spoken Word 101 workshops with younger youth to promote exposure to written and performance arts. 

Graficanarno Welcomed As New Porch On TAP Artist in Residence

Graficanarno is a printmaker born and living in Mexico City. She believes art is a powerful tool for radical social transformation, especially in our uncertain times. Together with her collective, Mujeres Grabando Resistencia , she has engaged in campaigns to raise awareness about and challenge various social conditions including femicide in Mexico.

She is a teaching spirit and values creative processes as an important part of community building. Graficanarno travels around Mexico and internationally to share skills through workshops and public installations.

She is joining us, fresh off a workshop series in Chicago and Milwaukee, as a resident artist at The Alley Project. She is helping to inaugurate our new home on Avis and Elsmere as we transform our front porch to a setting for artistic exchange during our artist residency program, the Porch On TAP!!

Mural Installation Progress Party on Avis and Elsmere

More than 60 neighbors, youth, and artists gathered today to share a meal and watch the mural installation progress with Pherz and Freddy on Avis and Elsmere.

Several of The Alley Project’s networks enjoyed each others’ company, many visiting the building and even meeting for the first time.

The porch was animated with food, music, sketching, stories, laughter, and children everywhere you turned.

As the sun set those who stuck around took it indoors to enjoy the AC and got to see the building lit up and entering sleep mode after a full day of use. 

Pherz Welcomed as Porch On TAP Artist in Residence

Pherz is a street artist and muralist from Missouri. He lived in Detroit for several years in the early 2000s and was a regular visitor to The Alley from 2004-2007 as it was just beginning to take shape.

Pherz and writers from his crew spent time with youth, neighbors, and invited other artists to do the same—impacting the early years and development of The Alley Project.

Now Pherz is rejoining us from St Louis as a resident artist at The Alley Project. He is helping us inaugurate our new home on Avis and Elsmere as we transform our front porch to a setting for artistic exchange during our artist residency program, the Porch On TAP!!

Installation of Ceiling Panels

The panels for the ceiling have been delivered and are currently being installed. The 40-piece construction is comprised of 10 panels, with 4 pieces each, installed along the steel beams. The cuts reveal a glimpse of the wood between panels. The installation is tedious and time consuming. 

The new ceiling conceals the structure and plywood underneath that levels the two ceiling heights—one of the original building and the other of the extension on the Avis side. 

Finishing Details

Details and finishings are being worked on every day at the building. Plywood panels have been cut and are being sealed and installed along the bottom half of the wall on our side of the building. Some will be painted eventually while others will remain a natural wood finish.

Doorways and trim are being painted, the bathrooms are getting finishing touches, and the exterior brow trim has arrived and will be installed soon.  

Mural Progress Continues In Face Of Rain

Work on the mural continues. Freddy turned the corner today to begin the background on the Elsmere side of the building. The work will progress quickly over the next few days as long as the rain stays away during the daylight hours.

Weather has already impacted the time available to work on the mural a bit, but neighbors have been stopping by to ask questions and check in on the progress. 

Freddy Outlines Mural

Today Freddy began outlining the mural on the south facing (alley) wall. 

With scaffolding, aerosol, and brush paint he is starting to lay out the mural’s background from top to bottom and across the building.

This background will eventually cover three sides of the building and parts of the building’s interior. Additional layers will be added to the mural at different points across the mural. 

Blackbook Sessions And The Art of Exchange

The art of exchange… reciprocal relationships are formed and strengthened when folks come together to create and share with each other.

Blackbook sessions give artists (young and older) the space to interact as they pass, sketch, ask, learn, and create memories together. Discussing admiration for fellow artists, seeing a sketch come to life, sharing supplies and ideas helps to build talent and community. 

Fabrication of Iron Panels

Diseños Ornamental Iron is using the template completed last week to fabricate the rest of the panels for the patio and the windows.

Measuring, cutting, welding, grinding and smoothing repeatedly are all part of the labor intensive process that comes after design. This will bring the vision from an idea to the beautiful, artistic iron that will eventually be installed around the building. 

Construction Team Field-trip to Diseños Shop To See Iron Panels

The construction team met with Diseños at their shop on Waterman to go over final revisions to the panels.

When the panel is complete it will serve as a template for the other panels to be created from. Each panel is a combination of 2-3 designs that will repeat at different configurations across the patio, over the windows, and inside the rest of the windows at the building. 

September Blackbook Session at Studio Luevanos

Music, blackbooks, more stories, slaps, and ideas were being passed around for a few hours tonight at Studio Luevanos on The Alley Project.

People came and went over the course of a few hours as artists hit each others books, passed out stickers, and talked about people who weren’t there that would probably enjoy meeting up soon. 

Studio Luevanos at TAP

TAP’s spaces and programs are designed to help build relationships between neighbors, artists, youth, and others. Many of TAP’s programs are naturally intergenerational because they are often in and about community… and communities are made of people of all ages.

At Studio Luevanos youth, parents, artists, neighbors, and elders regularly gather to share time, skills, and stories with each other. We believe when this happens it is some of our most engaging, critical work as it helps to build community and skills together. 

“I believe the children need to see people of their culture working with them, talking, listening, and interacting. I was one of those kids that did not experience people who looked like me doing things in my neighborhood. TAP provides a space for this.” - Mary Luevanos

Second Sample of Iron Panels Arrives

A second sample panel was installed by Diseños incorporating feedback from the first panel in design and construction. The second panel features variations in the gauge of the steel as well as half circles plates to help visualize the finished product as it will appear in its final form. 

Today Mav from Motor City Street Dance Academy stopped by before the construction meeting to see building updates and also shared some feedback from his impressions of the panels.