Visiting Detroit

Detroit, Riverside Extension fence

Danielle and I went over to Detroit yesterday to meet with Aaron Timlin (from the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit) at the LadyBug Gallery to discuss some potential collaborative projects over the summer. After getting a quick tour of the gallery and some of the other studios and workspaces in the building (which we unfortunately didn’t get any photos of, though next time), we headed out into the neighbourhood for a guided tour with Aaron to start brainstorming some future projects and project sites.

Heavy construction in Detroit

After a bit of a mix-up (Google Maps doesn’t know there’s construction), we crossed over the heavy, huge infrastructure project of I-75N (I think?). The LadyBug Gallery is right near the western part of Mexican Town, in a really great, old neighbourhood.  

Detroit News Paper Warehouse

We ventured down to a riverfront park that Aaron had mentioned, which mirrors the park we have at Russell and Mill. Surrounded by some storage buildings, the park is really under-used by the looks of it, but also a prime candidate for a new project. The entire area of South-West Detroit feels very similar to West Windsor, Danielle noted that it seemed like the area is about 5 years ahead of us, but at a point where it seems like there’s some momentum for positive change.

the park beside the warehouse

Another look at the park, some great mature trees, and a bit of a jungle-gym on the other side, near the warehouse, outline it, seems like a prime candidate for a sister community garden for our proposed site.

the view across the river, Sandwich's waterfront

A view of Sandwich’s waterfront from Detroit.

the fence at the riverfront in Detroit

This sign posted on the fence that leads almost right up to the water. I’m curious how often this park is used for these purposes.

Homeland Security

Danielle wanting to encounter Homeland Security ventured up the fence. This area is tucked a ways down from the park, but near a baseball diamond, that’s also rarely used. Though Aaron noted that recently there was a game held there, organized by the Metro Times (I think), to try to note it as a necessary community asset (the Ambassador Bridge company wanted to buy up the space).

a park nearby the LadyBug Gallery

Here’s another park that’s closer to the LadyBug Gallery and might serve as another kind of project / event site. The entire area is quite exciting, and from Aaron mentioned, seems anxious to get involved in projects. 

I think we’ll spend the next couple of days brainstorming on what (a) cross-border project(s) might look like—things like international soccer tournaments, Windsor-Detroit cooperative community gardens, cross-border communication initiatives (Lee’s Bookmobile), and lots of parallel events / workshops.