Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship (Detroit ACE) announces artist selected to create statue of late Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson
Statue to anchor plaza made possible by Cynthia and Edsel B. Ford II on behalf of the Henry Ford II Fund
DETROIT - A judging panel has chosen the artist to create the statue of the late Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, which will anchor the plaza also named for the war hero at Rouge Park.
Austen Brantley, a self-taught, Detroit, ceramic sculptor – who will celebrate his 27th birthday October 13 – was chosen from a national field of applicants. Brantley said he wasn’t aware of his artistic ability until his junior year at Berkley High School where he was inspired by his ceramics teacher who saw his potential to succeed. Within two years, Brantley was receiving state and national recognition for his work and had held multiple solo exhibits. He has just completed statues of Negro Leagues baseball player Ernest Burke in Havre De Grace, Maryland and the civil rights hero Viola Liuzzo in Detroit. Austen had dedicated his career to making statements in his work that seek to provide a legacy for future generations.
The statue, made possible by the generosity of Cynthia and Edsel B. Ford II on behalf of the Henry Ford II Fund, will anchor the new Jefferson Plaza at Rouge Park, where Jefferson flew model airplanes as a boy.
“Detroit is proud to honor one of our great heroes and to give an opportunity to a Detroit artist to create a permanent tribute to his service,” said Rochelle Riley, Director of Arts and Culture who convened the judging panel. Its members were Ken Thomas, President, Tuskegee Airmen Inc. - Founding (Detroit) Chapter, Architectural Designer Karen Burton, renowned Detroit artist Tiff Massey and City of Detroit Historic Preservation specialist Jennifer Ross.
The City dedicated the plaza site last November on Jefferson’s 100th birthday. He was feted by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, City of Detroit Historian Jamon Jordan and fellow Tuskegee Airmen. He also received the Key to the City from City Corporation Counsel Conrad Mallett, Jr.. Detroit ACE has hired Michigan Recreational Construction to build the plaza.
Jefferson was sworn into the U.S. Army Reserve 80 years ago today on September 23, 1942, but not accepted for flight training. He worked as an analytical chemist; then entered Howard University’s graduate school before applying again to the U.S. Army Air Force.
Called up for flight training in April 1943, Jefferson received orders to report to Tuskegee Army Airfield to begin flight training. Training complete, he was assigned to the 332nd "Red Tail" Fighter group at Ramitelli Airfield near Foggia, Italy. He was assigned to a fighter escort wing duty protecting bombing missions. His job was to attack key ground targets and guard bombing missions against enemy Nazi Luftwaffe fighters.
Jefferson’s flying unit, called Red Tails for the colors on their plane tails, escorted bombers into action in Europe – and lost so few planes that bombers requested them for flying runs.
Jefferson and the Tuskegee Airman overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. They set the stage for civil rights advocates to continue the struggle to end racial discrimination during the Civil Rights Movement.
Jefferson returned to civilian life in 1947, received his teaching certificate from Wayne State University, and began teaching elementary school science in the Detroit Public Schools. He received his master’s degree in education in 1954 and was appointed assistant principal in 1969.
In 1995, Jefferson was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was awarded the Purple Heart. Jefferson was one of the founders of the Detroit and National chapters of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Jefferson Field, which was named for the airman years ago, is currently used and maintained by the Detroit Aero Modelers who fly model airplanes there.
Detroit ACE, in partnership with the General Services Department (GSD) and the Department of Public Works plans the plaza and statue as a welcoming public space for youth and families to honor one of the most decorated soldiers from World War II and to learn about the heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The plaza project is among many Detroit ACE is undertaking to better connect artists with Detroit communities and to improve the look of neighborhoods across the city as part of Mayor Mike Duggan’s Blight to Beauty initiative.
Detroit ACE joins celebration of 3rd annual Detroit Black Film Festival
Festival opens Wednesday with 50th anniversary screening of the film, “Lady Sings the Blues”
DETROIT - Detroit ACE is proud to partner with the Detroit Black Film Festival (DBFF) on the 3rd Annual Detroit Black Film Festival (DBFF), presented by the Ford Foundation.
The festivities begin Wednesday Sept. 21, 2022, when the Motown Museum joins DBFF for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the film, “Lady Sings the Blues.” The evening features an opening night reception with filmmakers and the movie screening at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Tickets for events and films at The Wright and the Boll Family YMCA are available first come-first served at Eventbrite Detroit Black Film Festival.
“Lady Sings the Blues” is a 1972 American biographical drama directed by Sidney J. Furie about jazz singer Billie Holiday. The film starred Detroit's own Diana Ross along with Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, James T. Callahan and Scatman Crothers. Ross debuted as Holiday in the film while under contract with Motown founder Berry Gordy. At the time, she was emerging as a solo artist after years with The Supremes. The film was produced by Motown Productions for Paramount Pictures. Ross was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. And the soundtrack, which featured Ross singing Holiday's songs, was a hit.
Both Ross and Williams won NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Motion Picture for their performances. DBFF co-founder Marshalle Favors said she and her husband, Lazar, chose the iconic film because “It’s a renowned classic with brilliant performances that made it to the big screen because of Motown.”
Motown Museum CEO Robin Terry agreed. “Motown Museum is delighted to partner with the Detroit Black Film Festival to recognize the contributions of Black independent filmmakers,” she said. “We are particularly excited to co-host the festival’s opening event and special viewing of “Lady Sings the Blues.”
Motown Museum is undergoing a multi-million-dollar expansion, and DBFF co-founder Lazar Favors said the partnership “gives us a chance to support the Motown Museum as it begins a new chapter.”
This year’s festival will feature 86 films from 14 countries, including 12 made by metro Detroit filmmakers. Opening night screenings include a short film by Academy Award-winner Steve McQueen. In addition to screening great films, the festival will offer networking opportunities with filmmakers, a closing night awards ceremony and the debut of “Film Forum,” a series of roundtable dialogues with distribution companies, professional actors and other industry professionals.
The DBFF is supported by the Wright, the Carr Center, the City of Detroit Office of Arts Culture & Entrepreneurship, Y Arts Detroit, the Motown Museum and Yum Village.
Presented by the Ford Foundation, the 3rd annual Detroit Black Film Festival (DBFF), which was founded in 2020, continues to showcase the voices and stories of Black independent filmmakers nationwide. DBFF is dedicated to screening excellent, high-quality films from seasoned and emerging filmmakers that highlight a spectrum of stories reflecting African American experiences, narratives and culture. The festival co-directors, Lazar and Marshalle Favors also are the founders of Trinity Films Entertainment Group (TFEG), an umbrella company for the Detroit Black Film Festival. The couple is committed to working purposefully to contribute to the sustainability and economic growth of the film community in metro Detroit.
“We strive to support filmmakers as artists and to provide an exceptional platform for their work,” Marshalle Favors said.
Muralist named to paint iconic community mural on Farwell Recreation Center
Mural is first commissioned using the new City Public Art Fund
Artist was chosen because of his youth and innovative ideas
DETROIT - Community stewards of the Farwell Recreation Center have chosen an artist to paint a mural on the center’s wall facing Outer Drive.
The winner is Cameron Jenkins, a 26-year-old muralist known for the 948-square foot mural on the wall of the Meijer Rivertown Market Mural on Jefferson Avenue, which was done with spray and acrylic paint.
“I’m excited to get started!” Cameron said upon hearing the news. “Combining my ideas with the Farwell community is gonna be a cool way to create a dynamic, eye-catching mural that’ll channel the community’s aesthetics and stories while incorporating my natural vibrant style.”
The mural is the first commissioned mural using the newly established Detroit Public Art Fund, which is generated by fees from businesses that advertise on large signs in the city.
Cameron’s excitement was echoed by Councilman Scott Benson, who championed the legislation establishing the Fund, and whose office co-sponsored the community meetings. “I am excited about the residents’ selection of Cameron to bring their vision of a mural to reality,” Benson said. “This community-led public art project will be the first of many funded by the Public Art Fund.”
Selection committee members said they hoped that Jenkins’ youth would inspire more young people to contribute artwork to their neighborhoods in District 3.
Jenkins, in his artist statement, said he wanted the mural to “have therapeutic value for those who are healing or seeking a deeper understanding of themselves within the Farwell neighboring community,” he said. “In previous works, I’ve explored the metaphor of how “Diamonds” are formed, illustrating the strength radiated after surviving the pressures of life. I firmly want to incorporate this concept into the Farwell Rec Center project, connecting to the resilience and strength of the community.”
Community members also were impressed with Jenkins’ suggesting that the mural would not be limited to paint, but also incorporate other elements to be permanently installed. And they said they appreciated that he visited the community and spoke with residents ahead of the selection. Jenkins will meet with and interview community members over the next few weeks to prepare to reveal his preliminary sketch for the project.
The projected completion date for the project is the end of September.
Statue made possible by Cynthia and Edsel B. Ford II on behalf of the Henry Ford II Fund
DETROIT _ The Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship (Detroit ACE) has issued an open call for an artist to create a statue honoring the late Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, whose service as a Tuskegee Airmen helped win World War II. He died in June at age 100.
The statue, made possible by the generosity of Cynthia and Edsel B. Ford II on behalf of the Henry Ford II Fund, will anchor the new Jefferson Plaza at Rouge Park where Jefferson flew model airplanes as a boy.
The City dedicated the plaza site last November on Jefferson’s 100th birthday. He was feted by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, City of Detroit Historian Jamon Jordan and fellow Tuskegee Airmen. He also received the Key to the City from City Corporation Counsel Conrad Mallett. Detroit ACE has hired Michigan Recreational Construction to build the plaza.
Mayor Duggan and Detroit ACE announce plans to activate neighborhood Arts Alleys around the city
Funded by $3 Million in ARPA dollars with support from the Ford Foundation
Project a key component of Mayor’s Blight to Beauty initiative
Artists, alley design to be selected by residents during community engagement process
Transformations to include infrastructure improvements for alleys making them renewed and able to be utilized again
DETROIT – Today, Mayor Duggan and Detroit ACE announced a new initiative to transform commercial and residential alleys in five neighborhoods across the city into community gathering spaces where residents can exhibit and experience art.
The project, called the Arts Alley Initiative, is funded with $3 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) approved by Detroit City Council. The Arts Alleys project, which is part of Mayor Duggan’s “Blight to Beauty” campaign, is also supported by the Ford Foundation. The Art Alleys project is being conducted first as a pilot for possible future neighborhood alley activations by residents in neighborhoods throughout the city.
The Arts Alleys project will build on work already being done by community groups and neighborhood associations that have activated alleys in their neighborhoods with art and creativity. It also builds on the work being done by the city to clear brush and trash from thousands of alleys across the city. Over the past two years, alleys behind nearly 2,000 residential blocks have been cleared and reclaimed.
“Alleys in our city for years have been havens for illegal dumping and overgrowth and we’re steadily changing that,” said Mayor Duggan. “Activating neighborhood alleys in this creative way is going to help turn them into real community assets and attractions.”
The Detroit Arts, Culture, & Entrepreneurship Office will execute community engagement throughout key areas in the city. The five pilot Arts Alleys will be in:
ACE will collaborate with residents in these areas, their neighbors and other stakeholders through the summer and fall to develop designs to overhaul an alley in each neighborhood. These transformations will bring new landscaping, improved surfacing, and amenities while partnering together with local artists and residents to imbue these improvements with a sense of history, beauty and imagination.
Sidewalk Detroit, a Detroit-based, Black-owned company is currently working with the city to conduct the community engagement phase of the design process. After the design process for each alley is completed this fall, ACE will issue an RFP for general contractors in early 2023, with improvements to begin later in the year.
The City’s Arts & Culture Director, Rochelle Riley said that beautified alleys will add to residents’ quality of life.
“The Covid-19 pandemic showed us the importance of safe, accessible green spaces in our neighborhoods,” said Rochelle Riley, Director of Arts and Culture for the City. “We want to help communities create their own spaces for activities and enjoyment.”
The objectives of this project are to spur neighborhood development and revitalization, mitigate localized flooding through low-cost stormwater management strategies, create opportunities for the creative workforce, and highlight neighborhood creativity. These spaces will become hubs for small business activations, events, and sources of pride for residents in each community.
Detroit ACE Selects Four finalists for Farwell Recreation Center Mural
The City Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship (Detroit ACE) has selected four finalists to compete to paint the Community Mural on the front of the Farwell Recreation Center.
The project is a joint effort between Detroit ACE, Councilman Scott Benson’s office and the Parks and Recreation division of the General Services Department headed by Brad Dick.
Ijania Cortez, Cameron Jenkins, Richard Wilson and Fel'le will meet neighborhood stakeholders Friday to discuss the project. The meeting for the Farwell-area neighborhood is at 6 p.m. Friday, July 22 at the Farwell Recreation Center, 2711 Outer Dr. The finalists will answer questions and gain ideas for the next phase of the process: a sketch showing their understanding of the community's vision.
The theme for the mural installation will be the result of engagement with residents in the community, who suggested that it should honor community heroes. A selection committee comprising community members will choose a winning artist by August 5.
The project is among many Detroit ACE is undertaking to better connect artists with Detroit communities and to improve the look of neighborhoods across the city. It also Detroit ACE's contribution to Mayor Mike Duggan’s Blight to Beauty initiative, which includes Detroit ACE’s recently announced Mural City project to identify and inventory every mural in the city. That effort, in partnership with CANVS, a national start-up, will allow anyone with a smart phone to stand in front of any mural in the city and be able to learn the artist and when the mural was painted. Next month, Detroit ACE will launch the Detroit Mural City interactive map, which will allow users to see all of the city’s murals – and biographies of the artists – on the City website.
“We hope to help communities embrace artwork that reflects their values and priorities and interests,” said Rochelle Riley, the city’s Director of Arts and Culture. “Our goal is to amplify community assets and elevate the stature of some of the best artists in the country.”
July 22: ACE will host a meeting to introduce the four finalists to the community.
August 5: Community will choose the winning artist by this date, with recommendations from ACE
August 19: Winning artist sketch is due back to the community.
August 22: Construction begins
August 30: Painting begins
Detroit ACE partners with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, community groups on three neighborhood musical experiences and a children’s workshop series
The free event is part of the DSO’s efforts to strengthen its commitment to Detroit residents
Detroit - The Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship (Detroit ACE) is proud to partner with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and several community organizations on two neighborhood musical experiences.
DSO musicians will perform at the Clark Park Culture & Arts Festival on July 9 and the Community Arts and Music Festival in Chandler Park on July 16. Musicians also will perform at the Northwest Goldberg Cares Spotlight Park Music in the Park on July 30.
The concerts are a part of DSO’s commitment to strengthening the growth and well-being of the City of Detroit through the Detroit Neighborhood Initiative, part of a larger Detroit Strategy to invest in and build relationships with Detroit residents.
The DSO Detroit Neighborhood Initiative is a community-driven process of dialogue and planning, resulting in cultural partnerships that enrich neighborhoods and musical experiences that align with the priorities of Detroit residents. Since spring of 2021, the DSO has been listening and co-creating with partners and community members in Southwest Detroit, Chandler Park, Dexter-Linwood and Northwest Goldberg.
The DSO has met with more than 100 community-serving organizations in Detroit, held 20 listening sessions with Detroit residents and held seven Neighborhood Musical Experiences in Chandler Park, Southwest Detroit, Dexter-Linwood, and Northwest Detroit. Musicians have engaged with more than 3,000 community members since March 2021.
These respectful, responsive Detroit Musical Experiences have been made possible through the support of the General Motors Corporation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Clark Park Culture and Arts Festival
1:30 to 4:30PM Saturday, July 9
Clark Park Stage
1130 Clark St.
Detroit, MI 48209)
Line-up features the DSO with Mariachi Femenil Detroit and Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel.
There also will be interactive art workshops and student performances. Sponsored by the General Motors Corporation.
Freedom! The Second Annual Community Arts and Music Festival in Chandler Park
1PM to 4PM Saturday, July 16
Chandler Park (near the old tennis courts)
12831 Frankfort St.
Detroit, MI 48213
Hands-on arts and music-making and food and performances from DSO musicians and local artists. Sponsored by the General Motors Corporation.
Music In the Park at Northwest Goldberg Cares Spotlight Park
Complete free registration for children's workshops at https://www.nwgoldbergcares.com/mitp for a weekly workshop, lunch, and concert series 10:30AM -12:30PM every Friday in July.
Final Music In the Park Celebration
1:30PM to 3:30PM Saturday, July 30
Northwest Goldberg Cares Spotlight Park
5945 Linwood St.
Detroit, MI 48208
Sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation
About the DSO
The acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists and a deep connection to its city.
About Detroit ACE
Detroit ACE is the City’s Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship, which oversees the City’s investments in arts, culture and history. It develops opportunities for residents to experience music and art in neighborhoods across the city and offers support for one of the nation’s greatest creative workforces.
Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship Issues Open Call for Artist To Paint Community Mural on the Farwell Recreation Center
Mural is to honor community heroes as well as healing from the COVID-19 pandemic
Artist stipend is $30,000
Deadline to apply is July 13, 2022
The Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship (Detroit ACE) is seeking an artist or collaborative team for a creative place-keeping project on the Farwell Recreation Center.
The theme for the mural installation will be the result of engagement with residents in the community who suggested that it should honor community heroes. A selection committee comprising community members and members of the Detroit ACE team anticipates choosing an artist or team by July 31.
The project is among many Detroit ACE is undertaking to better connect artists with Detroit communities and to improve the look of neighborhoods across the city. It also is a part of Mayor Mike Duggan’s Blight to Beauty initiative.
“We hope to help communities embrace artwork that reflects the values and identities of the communities,” said Rochelle Riley, the city’s Director of Arts and Culture. “Our goal is to amplify community assets and elevate the stature of some of the best artists in the country.”
Artists interested in applying should send a packet to Detroit ACE with the following information:
Name, address and phone number
Past mural experience and where those murals are located
Past construction experience since panels will have to be mounted to the walls.
Examples of past work, whether it still exists or not.
An artist statement explaining why he/she or they are artists
Two references from previous public art clients
The Artist Statement should list all needed materials, resume, and answers to the following questions:
What interests you about the project?
What are your preliminary ideas for the project?
How do you envision working in collaboration with the 43 community and with students?
What is your past experience working on complex projects with criteria and constraints dictated by the site owner?
How would your project benefit the community?
The Artist Packet should include:
Up to five images of past work you consider relevant to this project along with up to two images of proposed mural design (knowing the design might change) Digital images must be JPEG files and must be no more than 300dpi and no larger than 1024 x 768 pixel resolution. Each image must be unlocked and downloadable for viewing. Each JPEG image must be titled with the artist’s name and image number. (Example: SaraSmith001, SaraSmith002).
Detroit ACE will choose three finalists and distribute their packets to the community.
Detroit ACE will host a 6PM community meeting to review/introduce the three finalists to community stakeholders and review their packets.
Community will meet with the finalists and choose the winning artist.
Winning artist’s sketch is due back to the community.
Community panel makes final decision on mural.
Painting mural should begin by August 30, 2022.
Artist/Artist Team Responsibilities:
The selected artist or artist team will be required to:
Work in collaboration with the residents, the General Services Department and the Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship to engage in a series of art and community-based activities and a creation process aligned on themes submitted from the local community.
Share their personal practice with the community, as this is, inherently, a group project.
Conduct research to better understand the site, the project and the community’s history and current culture, along with any other elements deemed helpful to their creative process
Create a final approved concept and design for the mural
Host a minimum of one community participation day while creating the artwork
Work with the General Services Department to identify and secure the services of suppliers, fabricators, installers, and/or other professionals as necessary to fulfill the artist’s responsibilities in the production and completion of the work
Fulfill the responsibilities within the contracted budget and timeline City Walls Detroit responsibilities:
The overall budget for the project is an estimated $43,135 with $30,000 budgeted as a stipend for the artist and $13,145 to construct free-standing panels and buy paint and materials. This budget is all-inclusive, including artist’s fees, artist’s assistant costs, artist’s studio costs, materials and supplies and installation of all artwork.
Artists will be chosen by a community panel in partnership with the Detroit ACE and the office of Councilman Scott Benson. The panel will use the following points system:
Being a Detroit-based artist
Experience in accomplishing projects of a similar complexity within the budget, timeline and technical constraints presented
Experience in community engagement
All questions should be directed to Rochelle Riley at [email protected] or 313 480 5265.
Detroit ACE Artist Professional Development Workshops are continuing
The Detroit ACE office, in partnership with ArtOps, will continue entrepreneurship and marketing training for artists in January, thanks to the support of the Kresge Foundation.
The seminars, which began last fall, will continue on the third Tuesday of the month from 6PM to 7PM. Attendees will learn how to:
Run their art practices as successful small businesses
Join the ever-expanding network of creative entrepreneurs in Detroit
Improve their presence on the internet
The workshops will be led by primarily Attorney Michael Hall with guest appearances from Consultant Jennifer Montgomery and others.
The schedule of workshops is below with links to previously recorded sessions. For upcoming workshops register below the event date.