New Art Exhibit Captures Spirit of a City in Downtown Detroit

Framed by WDET’s “Places Where We Belong” exhibit seeks to centralize a body of work that captures “how people live alongside each other.”

Framed by WDET is an art and storytelling project that takes a look at the communities that call southeast Michigan home. Now, the entire collection, “Places Where We Belong,” will be exhibited in one installation at the 1001 Woodward building owned by Bedrock, which is also the sponsor of the exhibit, near Campus Martius Park.

The exhibit will run from Friday, June 21st to July 21st and will feature ten communities and document the voices of nearly 100 local residents from neighborhoods like Delray, Hamtramck, southwest Detroit and the broader region. This is the first time that this collective body of work is being presented in one space.

It’s “really important, when we talk about the current political climate, to really take a look how people live alongside each other.”
– Erin Allen, Framed by WDET

Justin Milhouse

To commemorate the start of the exhibit, WDET’s Shiraz Ahmed spoke with Erin Allen, Curator and Content Producer with Framed by WDET and a native Detroiter, about the significance of centralizing this body of work in downtown Detroit and the programming planned for the exhibit. The public opening of the exhibit will take place from 7:00 to 10:00 pm tonight at 1001 Woodward.

“It will be an opportunity for people to just enter the space,” says Allen. “This project brings art, photography and storytelling into the fold in a really unique and seamless collaboration.”

Read Shiraz Ahmed’s Q&A with Erin Allen, edited for length and clarity, below.

WDET: Tell me about the thinking behind centralizing these exhibits in downtown Detroit. How do you see this location being important to people’s understanding of the work? 

Erin Allen, Framed by WDET: This is the first time that all of the artwork is installed together for Framed by. In the past, it’s been in the communities, or close to the communities, that were featured. Low Riders, that installation was in southwest Detroit. There were vendors and everything local to the community.

Although the project takes place across metro Detroit, downtown is a central place that everyone can get to and everyone knows. They can see the exhibit and experience everything happening downtown. Bedrock — we’re so grateful for. The building is a Bedrock building and they have sponsored this installation.

Tell me about the programming visitors can expect in the next month.

The first couple things that are happening are live broadcasts with CultureShift. Those will feature four of the ‘Framed by’ features: Home on the Range, which covers shooting sports, Bubble Metropolis, which features the underground dance and electronic communities here, and Hair Capital of the World, the barber and beauty shop culture of Detroit. My mom is a barber so that’s a world I’m really familiar with. And the other is Rolling Canvaseswhich covers the low rider community in Detroit. I grew up with black folks pimping out their cars, but the audio of the feature focuses on the Hispanic community in southwest Detroit.

Detroit Art Week is happening in July, and as part of that we are creating a community dialogue between artists from ‘Framed by’ and others from the community who do documentary photography.

On the location, is part of the thinking that people who may be familiar with downtown Detroit may not be as familiar with these other aspects of the city?

We’ve been talking about this project as a space and an opportunity to really look at all the communities who find belonging in southeast Michigan and metro Detroit.

I grew up here. And I probably came across Del Ray, I may have rode my bike through it once. I didn’t know about John’s Carpet House, but people come from all over the country to go to that. I didn’t know there were so many people from the Balkans here. There’s so many things when you’re from here and you’re in your own community so much… which can be very rich, but you might not step outside of that too much. That’s really important, when we talk about the current political climate, to really take a look how people live alongside each other.

This project definitely addresses that in a way that brings art, photography and storytelling into the fold in a really unique and seamless collaboration.

The public opening of “Places Where We Belong” will take place tonight from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at 1001 Woodward. Admission is free.


  • Shiraz Ahmed
    Shiraz Ahmed served as Digital and Audience Engagement Editor for 101.9 WDET from 2019-2020. His favorite salsa is Marco’s Mexican salsa, a now-defunct chain that produced the salsa of his childhood.