“If I move to New York, I have no say in what happens in that city; and that’s a ship you can’t steer. If I’m here, and I give a damn, and I’m actually a part of the community, I can actually do something and make a difference.”—Phil Cooley (via ederlezi)
Every year since 1978, The Detroit News has recognized a roster of Michiganians of the Year, outstanding citizens who have enriched our lives in Michigan in some important way.
Past honorees have included athletes and coaches, politicians, musicians, artists, business leaders and relative unknowns.
Many, if not most, of the nominations have come from our readers. If you would like to nominate a Michiganian of the Year, please tell us why this individual deserves the honor.
Include your name and telephone number.
Mail your nomination to: Michiganians of the Year, Features, The Detroit News, 615 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226Or, you may fax The Detroit News at (313) 496-5238, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Michiganians of the Year” in the subject line of the e-mail.
Please act fast; the deadline for nominees is Feb. 15.
"Painting Coast to Coast" at Wayne State’s Elaine L. Jacob Gallery is a marvelous survey of works that range from the traditionally beautiful to the abstract-and-disturbing.
One-time Detroiter Mark Sengbusch — now in New York — gives us an acrylic-on-plexiglas work of almost incalculable precision and detail in “Red Descent.”
Working with curving, colored lines that resemble wires — or the guts of some animal — Sengbusch sets up surprising movement as these lines swirl about.
Interim gallery director Thomas L. Pyrzewski applauds what he calls the “weird” illusive quality to the piece — “this depth,” as he puts it, “this going-on.”
Indeed, there’s a lot going on in this surprising visual feast.
At the other end of the seriousness spectrum is Dick Goody’s “Garden Party,” a lush, thoroughly enjoyable portrait of a woman in a colorful cocktail dress that feels more German Expressionist than contemporary American.
Goody, who directs the Oakland University Art Gallery, has outfitted “Garden Party” in brilliant greens, oranges and blues.
Less cartoonish and obviously amusing than some of Goody’s recent caricatures, the woman’s face — a cadaverous grayish-beige — looks stressed, and forms an odd contrast with her flaming hair and the brilliant color swirling around her. Indeed, it’s clear she’s not having much of a good time.
And don’t miss Detroiter Alison Wong’s great-looking triptych of three dogs that, owing to the traditional form she’s chosen, has an oddly religious feel.
Also worth a gander are Ashley Hope’s portraits of what appear to be pre-revolutionary French aristocrats right out of “Dangerous Liaisons.”
In “Best of All Possible Worlds I,” Hope — who lives in Brooklyn and Houston — gives us a coquette with towering hair who gazes at the viewer with a naughty, knowing expression.
With her bosom-baring orange dress and that mark of elegance favored by women in the ancien regime — the decorative mole above the cheek — the poor woman has “Guillotine, circa 1789” written all over her.
Dennis Guastella’s gorgeous painted collages would be right at home in the Wayne State exhibit. But happily, Rochester’s Paint Creek Center for the Arts has given him his own show, up through Feb. 19.
"They’re rich and colorful," says exhibitions director Mary Fortuna of Guastella’s elaborate constructions. "They’ve got texture and surface and depth. I just can’t get over the just-right-ness of the design," she adds, "that quality of really nailing it."
Long the chairman of Visual Arts at Washtenaw Community College, Guastella creates the raw material for these richly textured works by applying numerous layers of paint that he often gouges or peels off — very much like paper — to construct the collages.
Also on view through Feb. 19 are the fascinating, baffling sculptures and multi-media works by Christopher Samuels and Ian Swanson.
Curious how a clunky old cell phone can be a work of art? Check out Samuels’ “Pocket Anxiety.”
Passengers often pause for a moment and recognize reflections of themselves in this life-size bronze sculpture of a commuter reading a newspaper. Perfectly integrated into his environment, the figure represents Mr. Johnson’s concern with the relationship of his sculpture to its surroundings and audience. Both the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News are featured in this personalized work.
Even though the figure’s clothes, shoes, etc. look real, they are actually the result of an art form known as lost wax process. This piece was voted “most popular” by the people of Metropolitan Detroit. The newspapers are molds of the actual Free Press and News that we sent the artist. This is not an original piece of artwork. There are six more of these around the country. However, we personalized it with the two Detroit newspapers. (Lost Wax Process - Wax is poured over the real materials and hardens to make an exact mold of the object. Hot melted bronze is then poured over the wax taking on the form of the mole. The wax eventually melts away.)
Funded By: City of Detroit, Detroit People Mover Art Commission
Michigan’s biggest Hollywood movie project yet — a $105-million production at a huge new studio in Pontiac — has won approval for a $40-million tax credit that alone comprises more than 60% of all credits for 26 projects approved in the last six months of 2010.
Many signs hint that the movie is “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” a Disney prequel to the classic “Wizard of Oz” with Michigan native Sam Raimi directing and Johnny Depp negotiating for the lead role.
The movie will explain how the wizard wound up in the Land of Oz before Dorothy and her three fellow travelers sought him out.
Linden Nelson, an investor in Raleigh Studios in Pontiac, would neither confirm nor deny that the ‘Oz’ movie would be filmed at the studio.
In an application to the Michigan Film Office for a tax credit, the film’s title was not revealed, and the state office would not divulge the name of the project. The production company is Emerald City Films, which is affiliated with Disney — the studio behind the project. Emerald City is the capital of the fictional Oz.
Detroit — Mayor Dave Bing is inviting residents to another round of meetings on his plan to reshape Detroit starting Thursday and much of the sessions will be about making the case for change, which could include abandoning whole neighborhoods.
Participants will be given a string of sobering statistics put together by the Detroit Works Project staff, according to a presentation reviewed by The Detroit News. Among the data: Detroit will spend $9 million per square mile to provide city services this year, far more than similar cities like Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cleveland.
The city has only 14 percent of the region’s jobs and that is set to decline to 11 percent by 2030.
Only 10 percent of the city’s schools perform above averages on state tests. Detroiters are going to have to make tough choices to turn the city around, said Bishop Charles Ellis III, a chairman of Bing’s advisory task force, which helped craft the presentation.
"If you are going to save a man’s life you might have to cut off his leg," Ellis said. "I don’t want to say we are drowning, but we are deteriorating."
The project is Bing’s effort to deal with the city’s loss of population and glut of vacant land, nearly 40 square miles. The general goals are to stabilize neighborhoods, generate jobs and improve transportation. The mayor specifically has said the city likely will offer residents incentives — perhaps city-owned homes — to consolidate them in seven to nine neighborhoods.
The first public sessions Bing held in September attracted nearly 5,000 participants. Critics said those meetings turned into complaint sessions without much focus.
These upcoming meetings will be much smaller, with most locations only accommodating crowds of about 200 to 300. Doors will be closed once they reach capacity, with the goal of having more intimate conversations with residents, officials said.
"We are engaging our community in a discussion about the challenges we must face together," said Karla Henderson, Bing’s group executive in charge of the project. "The next round of meetings will be smaller neighborhood based discussions where we’ll provide data but also listen to the many things people are doing to improve their neighborhoods every day."
Another difference: audience members will be given electronic clickers so they can vote in real time on a series of questions about their neighborhoods and what they want city officials to fix. About 30 meetings are planned around the city but only 10 have been scheduled so far.
To illustrate the city’s problem, the presentation includes an aerial photo of a deteriorated six-block neighborhood near Gratiot and Mack on the east side. In 1950, there were 185 homes in the area and it brought $151,673 in tax revenue a year. Today, there are 40 homes and its residents generate $32,794 in taxes.
With the data, Bing is trying to gain the trust of residents, many of whom are skeptical about government-led land efforts.
The project faced criticism for closing an advisory task force meeting to the public and not releasing consultant contracts.
A $1.5 million donation from the Kresge Foundation to fund the project was funneled to the Detroit Economic Growth Association, a nonprofit agency. The group told The Detroit News earlier this month that it doesn’t have to release records because it’s not a public body.
Bing is gathering some big-named enemies, including the Rev. Marvin Winans, the pastor of Perfecting Church. He called the idea of consolidating neighborhoods “ludicrous” and said he believes Bing has been steered down the wrong path.
"I think he was a better basketball player than a mayor," said Winans, who said he plans on fighting the project. "That can’t be the only thing in your bag of tricks: ‘Let’s shrink the city.’ "What are you going to do with the rest of the city? It just doesn’t make sense." Ellis said he understands there are a lot of skeptics but said the work is too critical to let fail. "Mayor Bing wants to do something good," Ellis said. "He wants to leave a good legacy."
State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, said there is a lot of concern in the community about how the plan could impact neighborhoods and believes the “more people know, the better.” ”Trust is so important right now,” Tlaib said. “I can’t express to you how let down Detroit resident have felt these last four years.”
After this round of meetings, Bing plans to release a neighborhood study on April 1. The study won’t recommend neighborhoods to mothball, but residents can “draw some pretty powerful conclusions” from it, Bing spokesman Dan Lijana has said. A definitive plan is expected to emerge later this year.
Just in response to your post about spots to get married around Detroit. I know some family friends that got married inside the butterfly house at the Zoo last year. Most unique and beautiful wedding I had ever been too.
“The rules apply for a city that’s functioning correctly; if it’s not functioning correctly then you need to figure out new rules. So, it’s up to us- I always felt Detroit was a very democratic city because I feel that you can affect change more here or you can at least talk to people on a different level here than in other places. You can really get into places and create organizations a lot quicker here than in other cities and change the government, change the rules.”—Detroit artist, Mitch Cope, in an interview with Juxtapoz Magaine. (via robtodd)
The People Mover’s only true painting presents McGee’s Noah’s Ark theme executed in an African style. The colorful, unpredictable mural features eclectic configurations of people, animals, and abstract elements with an unusual surface treatment using outdoor enamel paints and other components.
This artist is a painter but he could not paint on canvas because canvas would not hold up to the weather and temperature changes. Instead of canvas, he chose alucabond (pronounced A-luke-a-bond). Alucabond is actually a very strong, long-lasting material used on the outside of buildings. It’s two very thin sheets of aluminum with plastic sandwiched in between. For paint, he chose industrial enamel. This piece is the People Mover’s only true paintingand is part of the artist’s series called “Noah’s Ark”. The artist is expressing that all living things are equal - from the smallest insect to man himself. Notice the “newspaper hat” on one of the figures in the painting. Mr. McGee also works in collage. Collage is an art form where actual materials and objects are pasted onto a surface. However, a real collage would most likely not stand up to extreme weather conditions. So, even though the hat looks like a real piece of newspaper, it actually is painted on.
Funded by:The Hudson Webber Foundation, City of Detroit, Detroit People Mover Art Commission
This is probably impossible, but someday I want to have my wedding reception at the main Detroit Public Library on Woodward. In one of those rooms upstairs. The ones with the murals and textured ceilings. How cool would that be? Or maybe at the Zoo. I read somewhere that you can actually rent out the lobby of the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery and the Polar Bear tunnel for events. OR in the Guardian Building or the Fisher because those are my favorites. Hmmm
A profoundly rich green hue emanates from luminous arches, which are surrounded by Pewabic tiles that had been originally fired for the Stroh Brewery in 1955. The mural is interspersed with tiles depicting Detroit workers, which were originally installed in Detroit’s Northern High School in 1926. The bronze plaque of Madame Cadillac entering Detroit after her canoe journey from Quebec is by Carlos Romanelli, dated 1903. It is on loan from the Detroit Institute of Arts.
All of the green tiles you see were actually made in 1935 by Mary Chase Stratton at Pewabic Pottery. The green tiles were commissioned by the Stroh family for a new brewery that eventually was never built. The tiles were put in storage until 1985 when Peter Stroh donated them for use in the Art in the Stations project. The artist incorporated all of the green tiles into her design of archways with the end result being the beautiful murals you see now. All of the tiles inside of the archways are new tiles. However, the artist made these new tiles from historic molds that were made in 1926. In fact, the original workers tiles made from these molds were installed in Northern High School back in 1929. Another historic aspect of this station is the bronze plaque depicting Madame Cadillac arriving in Detroit after her canoe journey from Quebec. The significance of this piece is that it wasn’t until after women arrived at trading posts that they became settlements. So this depicts the moment Detroit became a city. This plaque was originally made in 1902 and is presently on loan from the Detroit Institute of Arts.
LOVELAND is very close to releasing version 1.0 of our map of Detroit, dubbed Living in the Map. Larry’s been hacking on it hard like a drunkard with a broadsword and stitching it up sweetly like a hummingbird after heart surgery (sorry, been drinking coffee). If you’d like to take an early look and let us know what you think, email me at email@example.com and I’ll hit you in the next couple days.
Here’s a real quick taste of what we’ve got running. When you pull up the map you see the entire city broken down either by zip code:
When you click an area you drill down to see every single land parcel that composes it, along with ownership information which appears instantly on mouse-over. Every zip and cluster has its own profile, basic data, and “wall” ala Facebook. If you comment or like or follow a place, you’ll get updates on it, etc:
The parcels are the backbone of the map on which we’re building more features and visualizations. We want to take it slow and test for different use-cases knowing this badboy can expand in many directions and, proficient though we may be at it, we don’t want to make things messy or overextend ourselves.
The way we’re currently strategizing this (we love strategery) is to roll out very basic city-wide features and data by the end of the week, and then focus on one neighborhood, Corktown, as the place to prototype and test things that will roll out widely once people like them and they work well.
This ties in with Imagination Station’s proposal to develop a community engagement program for Corktown that uses the map as an organizing framework. Planned features include things like reporting problems directly to the city with one click (street lights out, dumping, etc), creating fundraisers (ex: we need to raise $500 to make this lot a garden), and additional layers like neighborhood stories, local projects, businesses, volunteer opportunities, etc.
If you want to read the current About page we’re working on, head below the proverbial fold. We could not be more excited about oh the places this map will go, and I’ve left a bunch of things out here, but whatever, as they say in France: Le under-promise and le over-deliver.
Just one last pic of the parcels crashing on the shores of 8 Mile, how pretty they are: