Detroit Announces City Arts Plan Including Fundraising, Programming

Detroit is launching a number of arts initiatives aimed at supporting the creative community in the city, revitalizing neighborhoods and creating programming to highlight the city’s artistic legacy.

The City of Detroit announced plans today to expand city hall’s support of local arts, culture and music initiatives, including plans for a citywide artist census and a new fund to accept donations to local arts programs.

Listen: Mayor Duggan and Rochelle Riley discuss the arts plan. 

At a press conference in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood, Mayor Mike Duggan and the city’s director of arts and culture Rochelle Riley were on hand to announce the creation of the Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship office.

“You’re going to see the kind of commitment to arts and culture that the city should’ve had for a long time.” — Mayor Mike Duggan

Led by Riley, the new office will aim to simplify the process of applying for culturally-related permits like filming a movie in city limits or throwing a festival here. It will also use “arts and culture as catalysts for neighborhood growth” and “improved promotion and branding” for existing cultural institutions in Detroit, according to a press release.

“It’s something that has happened here to some extent but not with city hall’s support,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “I wanted to completely change that.”

Riley says the mission of the new ACE office will be multi-focused including managing “a creative culture that’s been managing itself,” says Riley. 

We need to make sure “there’s some symbiosis and collaboration between the arts community because we can do a lot more together than apart,” says Riley.

The initiatives announced include: 

  • Launch the City of Detroit Arts Fund, which will accept tax-deductible donations to fund arts initiatives in the city.
  • Conduct a Detroit artist census to assess “how many creatives the city needs to support” and to encourage residents to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census.
  • Develop Neighborhood Art Houses, which artists and residents across the city can use as a convening space and to promote historic preservation. The first houses include Play House in east Detroit, the Moore Art House in Boston Edison, Ed Vaughn’s Bookstore on Dexter Avenue and the Numbers House in the Heidelberg District.
  • Create the Detroit Black Theatre Festival, an event series featuring performances and education by African American artists and stars. The festival is taking place from July 24th – 28th.

The city is actively seeing sponsors to support the programs and initiatives. 

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.