Click HERE to learn more about the Detroit Creativity Project!

Last weekend, I attended Another Detroit Is Happening. The invitation-only event included 125 thinkers, doers, entrepreneurs and activists from across North America. In short, it was an exclusive, but grassroots gathering of big brains who came to Detroit to explore, reflect, let loose and contemplate on how they could affect and potentially enter the local economy. What I walked away with was a glimpse into what Detroit could look like in the future.

The agenda was casual. Most of the participants camped in tents set up in the parking lot of ADIH’s home base at Ponyride, a DIY warehouse enclave in the Corktown district that houses young, artisanal and cool small businesses in its 30,000 sq.-ft. structure. Local hosts, including Ponyride founder Phil Cooley, pitched in to prepare the campsite. But while participants slept in tents, they weren’t entirely roughing it. Every morning, local roaster Anthology coffee served pour overs and lattes.

Another Detroit Is Happening (ADIH) was not a traditional power-point conference. The weekend was designed to let participants experience a section of Detroit on more intimate terms. The meetup kicked off with a four-course dinner prepared by local chefs at a Saarinen built structure on the island park Belle Isle. The theme of the evening was celebratory and playful, honoring the author and co-host dream hampton’s birthday, and included multiple rides down a giant slide. Detroit’s cultural draws were emphasized throughout the four-day gathering. ADIH participants toured the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Detroit Institute of Arts and Cranbrook Academy. They also caught a rare performance by folk musician Rodriguez, who is featured in a new award winning film Searching for Sugarman. They visited the community based Alley Project to see Detroit organizing at work. Some took part in a thirty-mile bike tour and played softball in a fabled match — the ’35 Tigers vs the ’84 Tigers. A dinner catered by Slow’s Barbecue and hosted by Google was held just outside of the abandoned train station on another evening. Guests got around town by old school shuttle buses and the five Chevrolet SUVs (Suburbans, Tahoes and Traverses) provided by GM.

The more formal discussions were focused on the challenges in the city. One Google presentation focused on strategies for dealing with the high number of abandoned and torn down houses. At the fundraising lunch Detroit Soup, local activist upstarts pitched projectsin urban farming and educational music programs to the ADIH group. After eating their soup, attendees voted on which organization the soup fund would support. Kevin Conroy Smith wrote this blog post about his visit to the winning entrant’s headquarter at the Occupy Yourself Farm.

Detroit is a fascinating backdrop as a metaphor for America – its hidden cultural gems, its industrial revolution legacy, the fortitude of diligent business owners and its stark and vivid displays of neglect. But what made this visiting group different was the caliber of insight offered by the attendees whose list of accomplishments is nothing short of outstanding.

Click HERE to read the full article on Forbes! 

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The entrepreneurial momentum in Detroit these days has apparently touched even our reborn NFL team, the Detroit Lions. The team announced a new philanthropic initiative yesterday called Living for the City, part of which involves a partnership between the Lions and Hatch Detroit, a popular local business plan competition, to help entrepreneurs in neighborhoods outside of the downtown-Midtown area.

“I believe entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial spirit are critical to the next generation of our city, what we’re becoming, and how we come back,” says Lions president Tom Lewand. “I’ve been in Detroit almost all my life, and we’ve evolved every time there’s a setback. This time is distinctively different—there’s a new generation that wants to build businesses here.”

Hatch will work with retail entrepreneurs in six neighborhoods: Southwest Detroit, the North End, the Villages, Grandmont Rosedale, East Jefferson, and Livernois between 7 and 8 Mile. Hatch executive director Vittoria Katanski says the Lions approached her organization after hearing about the community response to its online business competition. Hatch was already working with community development groups to support entrepreneurs in the six neighborhoods, but the investment from the Lions will allow Hatch to go in and help business owners with things like building improvements, new signage, a window display, or a better website. “These are savvy business owners,” Katanski explains. “There are lots of incredible established businesses that may have been forgotten or may need a shot in the arm.”

Katanski says Hatch selected the six neighborhoods because they either see retail overflow from downtown and Midtown, or they have a strong residential base. Lewand says that the Lions have initially pledged $500,000 to strengthen entrepreneurs, though that number may grow. “We’re only limited by our ideas,” he adds.

Click HERE to read the full article on Xcomony!, a website that uses Facebook to bring the business referral process online, today announced it is moving from San Francisco to downtown Detroit’s growing technology district to grow its business. The company will move into the M@dison Building, a tech hub designed to encourage collaboration among local entrepreneurs and their budding companies.

Company co-founders Jay Gierak and Nathan Labenz are both from the Detroit area, and attended Harvard University where they were classmates and housemates with Mark Zuckerberg and the other founders of Facebook. Gierak and Labenz moved to Silicon Valley after graduation to build, which launched in 2010. helps small companies that heavily rely on word-of-mouth referrals to acquire business and build a reputation through testimonials. The site also helps consumers find professional help they can trust when making important purchases such as a mortgage or insurance, directly through Facebook. Now, the men are returning to their roots to further grow their personalized referral business.

“Downtown Detroit is developing something special around its burgeoning tech community, and we want to be part of it,” said Labenz. “We are excited to collaborate with other Detroit-based companies that are making a positive impact, and we are eager to grow our business with some of the best tech talent in the country.” will join many other prominent tech and creative companies in the M@dison Building, such as Twitter, Detroit Venture Partners, Skidmore Studio, and Detroit Labs, which are committed to making Detroit a technology hotbed. currently employs six team members, however the company plans to hire more software engineers when it lands in Detroit.

“The fact that is moving to the M@dison Building from Silicon Valley is more proof that downtown Detroit’s energetic tech core has something to offer up-and-coming technology companies,” said Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans.

“It’s promising companies like that will continue to strengthen the city’s tech environment -- and downtown Detroit as a whole -- as more people relocate and bring bright ideas with them,” Gilbert added.

With handprints and signatures forever captured in cement, nearly two dozen celebrities with Detroit roots will be permanently commemorated throughout Detroit Legends Plaza, as the Detroit Historical Society welcomes the public to its newly renovated and re-imagined outdoor entrance exhibition, on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Kirby Street.

Detroit Legends Plaza opens to the public on Wednesday, Sept. 19 featuring castings of an array of legendary Detroiters: Juan Atkins, Mayor Dave Bing, Alice Cooper, Carl Craig, Joe Dumars, Eddies Fowlkes, Carmen Harlan, Tommy Hearns, Gordie Howe, Mike and Marian Ilitch, Al Kaline, Elmore Leonard, Ted Lindsay, Derrick May, Jeff Mills, Dick Purtan, Sam Raimi, Martha Reeves, Barry Sanders, Kevin Saunderson, Devin Scillian and Lily Tomlin. The Detroit Historical Society has been collecting handprints for Detroit Legends Plaza since July 2011 as part of its Past>Forward campaign. The collection will continue to grow over time.

“We’ve been looking forward to this day since the launch of our Past>Forward campaign and are excited to unveil this new, interactive outdoor exhibition, in celebration of those who’ve been integral in establishing and continuing to shape Detroit’s rich culture,” said Bob Bury, CEO and executive director of Detroit Historical Society. “Detroit Legends Plaza is a tribute to the accomplishments of so many exceptional Detroiters and offers an outdoor introduction to some of the cultural treasures featured indoors within our new Allesee Gallery of Culture, which opens later this fall.”

Detroit Legends Plaza is made possible via the Detroit Historical Society’s Past>Forward campaign, a fundraising effort to raise $20.1 million towards new and expanded exhibits, technology upgrades, educational offerings and enhancements to the Detroit Historical Museum, Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Detroit Historical Society Collection. The upgrades and improvements funded by the campaign marked the first major renovations of this scale since the museum was expanded in the 1960s.

The newly renovated Detroit Historical Museum will reopen Friday, Nov. 23 with free admission for 60 straight hours throughout Thanksgiving weekend.

Please join The Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association for an awesome event on October 11 at Neiman Marcus At Somerset Collection, benefiting the Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association's (MAPABA) Harold B. Leon Scholarship Fund.

All ticket sales will go towards MAPABA's effort to provide ten scholarship awards to deserving law students.

Tickets are only $50.00 each (or $75.00 for a pair) and include a fall fashion presentation, as well as appetizers, drinks, and desserts.

RSVP By October 1st, 2012 
Emma Chen:

Inspired by nighttime arts festivals from around the world, DLECTRICITY, Detroit’s new nighttime, contemporary light art festival, will host 35 local, national and international artists whose cutting edge works of art and installations will illuminate the historic architecture of Midtown on October 5 and 6, 2012. Today, Midtown Detroit, Inc. and Art Detroit Now announced the impressive selection of artists who will light up Midtown Detroit and transform the Woodward corridor into an illuminated urban spectacle for thousands of visitors of all ages during this free, two-night first-time event. A complete listing of DLECTRICITY artists and events may be found at

"Midtown Detroit’s amazing cultural and architectural assets have always been core to the continued growth and development of the neighborhood," said Sue Mosey, president of Midtown Detroit, Inc. "Events like these not only remind people of those historic gems but capture everyone's imagination for what's possible in the future."

The DLECTRICITY Curatorial Committee received more than 200 submissions from emerging and established artists, lighting designers, and architects through an open call for entry process. From that, the committee selected 25 projects and performances based on a number of criteria, including artistic merit and how well the project uses various media like light, video projection, interactivity, 3D video mapping, and other creative technologies, as well as how the projects exist within an urban environment. In addition, curatorial committee members invited 10 local and international artists specializing in light and technology projects to bring their expertise to Detroit’s first “Nuit Blanche” event.

"The number and quality of project submissions has been extraordinary," said Marsha Miro, Founding Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) and head of the DLECTRICITY Curatorial Committee. "We can't wait to see the city literally light up with the creative energy that continues to help shape Detroit."

Other DLECTRICITY curatorial committee members included Larry Baranski of the DIA, George N’Namdi of N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Michelle Perron of CCS and Marc Schwartz of Art Detroit Now.

Detroit is the latest city to become an international art destination and DLECTRICITY will feature works by local, national and international artists from locations as far flung as Japan, Iceland, and Berlin, as well as New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. Detroit's own art community will be well represented, too, with over half of the projects created by local artists and designers.

DLECTRICITY will feature 35 projects throughout the Woodward corridor, located at the Detroit Institute of Arts, College for Creative Studies, MOCAD, Detroit Public Library, the Rackham Building, Michigan Science Center, Sugar Hill Arts District and more. Some of the projects include:

“Knowledge is Power” – NewD Media: Gabe Hall, Daniel Land, Audra Kubat and Gabe Rice. DTE Energy is the proud sponsor of this project by local emerging digital artists NewD Media. Recently they have designed/managed multiple stages at Detroit’s Electronic Movement Festival, an installation at Electric Forest Festival, and now develop show concepts with a broad team of artists & musicians. In Knowledge is Power, projection-mapped 3D animation and live music tell the human story of knowledge by bringing the face of our library to mythic life: from cave painting to ancient Greece, from the tragic destruction of the Library of Alexandria to the invention of books, the age of electricity and the rise of the Internet. This project will incorporate audience interaction leading into a 3D video mapping performance with live musical accompaniment. Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward.

“The Legacy Lives On” – Evan Roth. Evan Roth is an American artist based in Paris who applies a hacker philosophy to an art practice that visualizes transient moments in pubic space, online and in popular culture. Roth was recently awarded the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Interactive Design. Detroit native James Dewitt Yancey (also known as J Dilla and Jay Dee) was one of the most prolific and influential producers in the history of hip-hop. The Legacy Lives On is a memorial tribute consisting of an urban scale timer that counts down to 70 years after Yancey’s death, at which point his music will be free of copyright and enter the public domain. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren.

“Laser Starship” – Yvette Mattern. Yvette Mattern is a New York and Berlin based visual artist whose work has an emphasis on video and film, which frequently intersects performance, public art and sculpture. Her work has been exhibited internationally. Her ongoing monumental laser light installation ‘Global Rainbow’ premiered in the UK for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in February of 2012. Drawing on the sculptural qualities of a beam of laser light, The Laser Starship, a new artwork, projects high specification multiple rays of colorful laser light surrounding the center atrium glass globe of the C.H. Wright Museum of African American History. The Laser Starship comments on elements of Afro futurism for a site specific laser “mothership” in Detroit. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren.

“Light Terrain” – rogueHAA. rogueHAA is a research and design advocacy studio, and the complementary personality to the architectural firm, Hamilton Anderson Associates. Comprised of an articulated landscape of illuminated spheres, this installation seeks to catalyze interaction through the application of a responsive architecture skin to existing building and ground conditions. Warren and Woodward Open Spaces, 4847 Woodward.

“Frontier Town: A Tent Camp for Children in the Urban Wild” – D MET Design (Elizabeth and Joel Schmidt) in collaboration with Sarah Lapinski. D MET design is an architecture and design studio located in Midtown Detroit. Founded by husband and wife, Joel Schmidt and Elizabeth Skrisson, the firm focuses on projects which contribute to the redevelopment of the urban neighborhood in which it’s located. Frontier Town is a glowing circle of tents on the urban prairie, where children (and kids-at-heart) can explore the magical shelter of light and fabric. Warren and Woodward Open Spaces, 4847 Woodward.

“OPEN” – Biba Bell. Biba Bell is a choreographer, dancer, and writer based in Detroit and NYC. Bell’s work has been presented at Le Centre Pompidou, Artissima, Roulette, Socrates Sculpture Park, Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, Pace Wildenstein Gallery, Callicoon Fine Arts, MOCAD, The Kitchen, Park Avenue Armory, Judson Memorial Church, Esalen Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Performa, amongst others. In OPEN, eight people converge to illuminate the space behind them. In time and space, OPEN traces the afterglow of a dance. Bell is a notable local choreographer who recently performed in Moscow and the DIA. Ongoing performances between 9 PM and midnight each night, in the courtyard of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 4840 Woodward.

“Garfield Lofts Projection” – NBNY. NBNY creates new platforms for artists from a variety of mediums to engage their talents to re-imagine the city. Building from their 2011 projection Let Them Eat Cake on the New Museum in New York, the Garfield Lofts Projection will further explore the expressive possibilities of architectural video mapping as an artist-led medium. NBNY also produces Bring to Light, the New York “Nuit Blanche” event happening the same weekend as DLECTRICITY. Garfield Lofts, 4600 Woodward.

“Rise & Fall: Repeat” – Nicola Kuperus & Adam Lee Miller. Rise & Fall: Repeat is a sound and video installation consisting of seemingly disjointed fragments of no-thematic absurdist entertainment, unified through rhythm. Prominent local artists and musicians, Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller have been living and working in Detroit for nearly 20 years. They divide their time between visual and performative art and are also known as the music duo ADULT. Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward.

“Share Detroit (Rheostat Ride)” – Thick Air Studios, Sam Newman, George Vidas, Sylvie Demers, Jane Orr and Zane Hettinga. Thick Air Studios is a collection of five mixed-media artists who live and work in Detroit, MI. They met while studying art at Alfred University, in rural New York state. Share Detroit (Rheostat Ride) is a luminous dance of neon-equipped bicycles across the entire festival’s footprint. Mobile project.

“menotme” – roofoftwo + daub. roofoftwo is a hybrid art and design studio, formed in 1998 and co-directed by John Marshall and Cézanne Charles. Since 2008, roofoftwo have been collaborating with Karl Daubmann, AIA and principal at daub. menotme is a luminous, playful, responsive form activated by squeezing which causes it to purr, giggle, and burp and is designed to provoke public affection as a defense against post-industrial anxiety. Warren and Woodward Open Spaces, 4847 Woodward.

“dolefullhouse” – Tabaimo. Tabaimo (Ayako Tabata) is currently based in Nagano, Japan. Her work was shown in the Yokohama Triennial in 2001 and biennials in Valencia (2001), Sao Paulo (2002) and Venice (2007). A major exhibition of her work was held at the Yokohama Museum of Art, winter 2009-2010. She was chosen to represent Japan for the 2011 Venice Biennale. In dolefullhouse, the bright interior of an empty dollhouse undergoes a surreal transformation, gradually furnished by an unseen figure, revealing unexpected happenings behind the walls. Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward.

“Whale” – Jacco Olivier. Olivier, based in the Netherlands, works primarily as a painter and creates animated video pieces that seem to be paintings come to life. He has exhibited his works worldwide over the past decade at locations including Madison Square Park, Galerie Thomas Schulte, Marianne Boesky Gallery, and currently at the New York City Center, curated by the New Museum. Whale is a large-scale, three channel video projection in which the artist’s paintings are brought to life through animation, immersing the viewer into an underwater seascape featuring a nearly life-size whale. Michigan Science Center, 5020 John R

In many ways the eyes of the contemporary art world are on Detroit at this moment in our history," said Marc Schwartz, acting chairman of Art Detroit Now. “With Paris and New York light festivals happening simultaneously, that interest and attention will only be amplified."

Along with the art & light exhibitions, DLECTRICITY will feature several special events over the two-day festival, including the Light Bike Workshop and Parade. The Light Bike Workshop (5 PM, Oct. 6 at the corner of 2nd Ave and Warren) will bring local makers together of Detroit’s bike community, giving riders an opportunity to learn creative ways to “light up” their bikes. Immediately after the workshop is the Light Bike Parade, a 3.75 mile parade showcasing the light bikes of festival and workshop attendees on a ride through Midtown. There will be special prizes for the best “lit up” bikes. This event, sponsored by Shinola, is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome and encouraged. To register visit,

Produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc., Art Detroit Now, the name for the event was inspired by Detroit’s very own Electric Park, which was located on the site of what is now Gabriel Richard Park. From 1906 until 1928, Detroit Electric Park served as a major attraction, beginning as a trolley park and later expanding into an amusement park with the development of electrification. DLECTRICITY is also occurring during the “Nuit Blanche” festivals in New York and Paris, and will be Detroit’s first “Nuit Blanche” event. “Nuit Blanche” events are renowned throughout the world for bringing the best of contemporary light and technology based arts to the streets of major cities like Toronto, Paris, Minneapolis, Miami and New York.

DLECTRICITY will be held Friday, October 5, from 7 p.m. to Midnight; and Saturday, October 6, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. DLECTRICITY will coincide with the 5th Edition of Detroit Gallery Week and the Mid-America College Art Association Conference.

A complete listing of DLECTRICITY artists, projects and events can be found at; and on Twitter @DLECTRICITY.