Culture D-Tour: The art of practicing gratitude with Detroit artist Kristle Marshall

Courtney Wise Randolph writes about Detroit’s movers and shakers for Detour Detroit. Once a month, she stops by CultureShift to chat with a notable Detroiter. This month, she spoke with multimedia artist Kristle Marshall. 

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

In April 2020, just when the world was forced into a lockdown caused by COVID-19, Kristle Marshall was ready to launch This Is Not a Bill. The goal was simple: Spread joy. Using her visual design skills, the multimedia artist created a project where she mails customized illustrations depicting joy to strangers. 

Kristle Marshall with This Is Not a Bill artwork. Courtesy of Kristle Marshall

In essence, it’s a way to show gratitude in action and curate a sense of community during a time when it’s easier to forget the joys of our everyday life as we’re still figuring out how to navigate a global pandemic.  

“I think the practice of sitting down and writing to someone helps us to take a pause and say ‘that was good,’” Marshall says. “I’m really grateful for that, especially in a time where we’re pressured to keep moving and keep going.” 

The process just takes a few steps. If you’re looking for some feel-good words with a lifting design, visit This Is Not A Bill’s website, fill out the brief form and include your response to the writing prompt, “Tell me something GOOD!” Within a few days, your mailbox will be filled. 

Though the project wasn’t birthed in response to the pandemic, it certainly surfaced at a time where optimism and good vibes could use a boost. “I ultimately want people to just sit and relish the good in their life; to pause and just take in the wonders of their day-to-day [life],” says Marshall. 



Read: Kristle Marshall sends handheld joy around the U.S. via snail mail  by Courtney Wise Randolph

Listen: Detroit artist Kristle Marshall  shares a feel-good reason to check your mailbox.




Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • LaToya Cross
  • Amanda LeClaire
    Amanda LeClaire is an award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. She’s a founding producer of WDET’s flagship news talk show Detroit Today, and a former host/reporter for Arizona Public Media. Amanda is also an artist, certified intuitive and energy healer, and professional tarot reader.
  • Courtney Randolph
    Courtney Wise Randolph is a storyteller and Detroiter. In addition to her work as a writer and audio producer, she runs Keen Composition, a small business that specializes in writing and editing true stories about ordinary people and businesses that make an extraordinary impact.