A network of places and programs along the alley developed to facilitate creative processes, positive youth-adult partnerships, and community building.


Places, Programs, and Processes.


Participatory Design

At TAP many programs and places are developed through participatory processes. Groups of stakeholders form tables where information is exchanged dynamically between them and decisions are made collaboratively.  Residents, youth, artists, architects, building owners, and other experts and decision-makers share information so that everyone's feedback is informed and valued.  

Participatory design instructs all the decisions for development and design of Young Nation’s projects. This insures that development responds to residents needs and interests.  The participatory process enhances social capital, local leadership development and furthers community capacity to identify and solve local challenges.  As an ongoing practice rather than a single point-in-time activity, Young Nation remains at the forward edge of understanding and responding to community, especially as it growth and changes over time.

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8869 Avis (Garage/Alley Murals?)

8869 Avis is a portal for neighbors to the wider world of art and culture. It transformed an empty building and lots into a Plaza and Market space where residents connect with each other socially and artistically. Participatory design instructed all the decisions for development and design.. Our largest arts-led, place-based development was four years from idea to completion. A small group of youth, residents and artists with the support of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and Et Al architectural firm, gathered input from the wider community about needs and dreams to inform the design and use of the building.  At each stage of development this committee shared progress and sought input from the larger neighborhood to modify and insure that it remained consistent with their needs and ideas.  Every aspect interior and exterior is a manifestation of intentionality in design-- from the exterior mural that wraps around and into the building to the outdoor patio and wrought iron work.

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HEETT Wall 2018

HEETT wall 2018 represents the realization of a dream. The Hip-Hop Elements Exposed Through Time mural  celebrates hip hop culture and history in the neighborhood.  The original HEETT wall was a production wall, lead by Victor Villabos, and featured the work of the prominent aerosol artists of its day.  It was destroyed in 2010. Freddy Diaz served as lead artist for the re-imagined HEETT Wall, bringing together today's established and emerging aerosol artists.  Residents of all ages came out at all times of day, day after day over the two week creation period to watch its creation, talk with the artists and each other. The project built bridges between people, ages, cultures, and geographies in a sustainable and natural way of ethical re-development and engagement.   The project heightens the exposure of the talented local artists while developing the next generation of youth artists.

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Studio Luevanos

Named after The Alley’s inaugural and esteemed artist-in-residence, Mary Luevanos, the studio was the first of several place-based renovations that meet community needs with community assets. Art classes have been held weekly throughout the good weather months for youth and families for years. The project met the neighborhood needs for physical space improvements and affordable artists' studios with something we already have—residents' garages and an openness to innovate and share space at their homes with the community. As more garages and other spaces are activated in the alley the impact forms a more connected, vibrant and beautiful community with grow.

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Creative Process, Youth-Adult Partnerships, and Community Building.

A local mason helps to rebuild the corner on Elsmere and Avis one brick at a time as he constructs a  pillar that will become the doorway to Inside Southwest Detroit's new building. (2017)

"(TAP) is looking at the community's needs as a to-do list and its assets as a toolbox. TAP... has nurtured powerful inter-generational relationships. Young artists are learning from the neighborhood elders, and elders have come to appreciate the passion and dedication of the young artists. Stereotypes are being broken down, art is being created, and a neighborhood is reconnecting with itself."
-Lee Schneider, Huffington Post