Students participating in a Michigan State University program in Detroit will learn there is more to Detroit than just making cars.
In a newly developed course in MSU's Freshman Seminar program titled “Art, Creativity and Economic Development,” students will find that Detroiters also make paintings, sculptures and music.

In its first year, the program will offer 14 students a chance to experience the rich artistic, musical and literary history of Detroit.

“Detroit has always been a world-class center for creativity and innovation,” said David Sheridan, a professor in MSU’s Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and the person who developed the Detroit seminar.

Specifically, the program will focus on the arts’ contributions to Detroit’s future.

“Art, music, literature and other forms of creative expression have a rich tradition of fueling Detroit’s economic success,” Sheridan said.

This seminar will explore the relationship between creativity and economic development in Detroit through a multiday, immersive experience in the city.

In addition to the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Motown Museum, students will be spending time talking with artists and other creative professionals working in the Russell Industrial Center.

A plant designed by architect Albert Kahn in the early 20th century, the RIC is one example of how the industrial infrastructure of Detroit can be re-purposed to support creativity. With more than 2.2 million square feet, the RIC now includes studio space for 125 tenants from a wide range of creative professions, including painters, glass blowers, photographers, printmakers and videographers.

Students will stay in a residence hall at Detroit’s Wayne State University in the heart of the city's cultural center.

For additional information on this program, visit


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