November 12, 2011

"Detroit evolving into a haven for artists."

"Cheap rents and a pioneering spirit are attracting artists, restaurants and nightspots to Detroit's decimated urban core. It's still early, but change is palpable."

31 comments:

chuck said...

Oh man, that will help the city finances!

I've wondered where the money comes from for the artist. My impression is that is comes from students, i.e., from someone's parents. Anyone know more about that?

mesquito said...

I tell my colleagues, 'Have your portfolio ready! There's a big spotlight on Detroit!' " said Gilda Snowden, an ebullient painter and professor of fine arts at the city's College for Creative Studies (one of the region's arts incubators, along with Wayne State University and the suburban Cranbrook Academy of Art).

Just bring your own money, or have tenure.

John Burgess said...

And after the first 200 get robbed and raped in their lofts, it'll be even more attractive.

Carol_Herman said...

It works as long as your business doesn't get robbed. Or you find vagrants sleeping, or lurking nearby. In vestibules. And, alleyways.

That there are talented people in Detroit? There definitely are!

But it's still not a city that's going to attract people from out-of-town. Or even from nearby communities, if crime is still a factor.

Sad news. Detroit was KILLED by its unions!

And, yes. To once remember an American car was the envy of the world!

I wouldn't mind owning a Checkers Cab now, either. (Fran Lebowitz does. That's because she came to New York City, back in 1972. And, to make rent money, she drove a cab.) Then, when it came to owning a car, she bought a a Checker back in the 1970's. Hers is bone white.

Could we bring Detroit back by making those?

mesquito said...

"Hipster Hangouts"

Lord help them.

josh r said...

The robbing and raping is overblown. Russell Industrial has been chugging along for a number of years, and it's relatively safe. That's part of the problem for reporting about Detroit, it is often neither accurate nor particularly timely. This article could have been written 5 years ago.

Having said that, the real problem with al of it is that the art sucks. I've been to Russell, and I've seen Heidelberg, and have seen the galleries, and let's just say that there is little commercial value being created here. And the allusion to this of course is that they don't sell to Michiganders-- we (that is the employed evil capitalist stooges) have an impressive amount of money, still, and trust me, it is not used to buy "found" art, "outsider" art, or any other dreck that is churned out. The College for Creative Studies is an impressive place, but it produces working, industrial designers (you know, the folks that draw the headlights on your car). It has nothing to do with the subject of this piece.

EDH said...

Yet Detroit is evolving, not unlike late 1990s downtown Los Angeles. Cheap rents and an urban pioneering spirit are attracting young artists, and new restaurants, nightspots and even urban farms are serving this growing community and its hipster fans. It's still the early days, but change is palpable, even to the casual visitor.

Wow, man. You mean free markets on their own can begin to heal what years of government social engineering at huge taxpayer expense destroyed?

Maguro said...

Great - white people are moving in and changing things for the better. But how long do we have before they publish the inevitable "urban gentrification is raising property values and pushing blacks out of Detroit" hand-wringer? 18 months? 24?

Craig said...

When I lived in Buffalo, there was the same excitement over artists' living downtown. The problem, of course, is that the arts depend on a healthy private business sector to create wealth in such amounts that some can be spent on diversions.

The arts don't create wealth (unless you're a Picasso), they consume it.

The arts crowd in dead cities looks at the rebirth of So-Ho and Tri-be-ca and hopes to accomplish the same. But the artists in Manhattan were flocking to where the money was and settled where they could. In Detroit and Buffalo, there isn't any money left. So, they're not so much redeveloping as just living.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

If Heaven ain't alot like Detroit

I don't wanna go
If Heaven ain't alot like Detroit
I just a soon stay home
If they ain't got no Eight Mile
Like they do up in the D
Just send me to Hell or Salt Lake City
It would be about the same to me
It would be about the same to me

Franklin said...

No. Just no.

Lisa said...

EDH,

Given that much of Detroit has become urban prairie, no, I don't think this is the free market healing the city. Nor do I believe gov't destroyed the city.

Chip S. said...

@Lisa--Seems to me EDH nailed it. I don't quite understand your objection.

Ralph L said...

Nor do I believe gov't destroyed the city.
It gave unions the upper hand against management, and they bled the Big 3 white, esp. with retirement benefits. Then CAFE forces them to sell more unprofitable small cars.

edutcher said...

Hate to say it, but a few Bohemians is not what the Motor City needs.

More like a tax base and a Tea Party sensibility.

WV "griermen" - Roosevelt's sons.

Chip S. said...

Hate to say it, but a few Bohemians is not what the Motor City needs.

This is how urban areas revive. The bohos lure the bobos. Before you know it there's a Burberry store on the corner.

George Spencer said...

Here's a Detroit guy who's created "Theatre Bizarre," a make-believe abandoned carnival.

From BoingBoing.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

The word they meant to use is "devolving".

Evolving + Democrats = Devolving.

ironrailsironweights said...

Guess what city has the highest number of engineers per capita of any American city.

Peter

Shouting Thomas said...

Hipster Hangouts!

Die Hipster!

Paul Zrimsek said...

That's why the bearded artist guy in the Katy Perry video crashed his Mustang. His other option was moving to Detroit.

vza said...

Wonderful! How make cynical comments in the face of such a statement:

"A lot of people think you have to go to New York to make it," he said. "I'm saying I can make it right here, and I will. Watch me. I'm just getting started."

This is the kind of spirit that made America great.

vza said...

correction: How can anybody make...

Browndog said...

Having been to Detroit 3 times in the last year, I can tell you...

Well, let me quote another Michigander that lives outside of Detroit-

"My brother and sister in-law came to visit from Arizona. She wanted to see Detroit, and see if it was as bad as she thought it was. After only 20 minutes, she said it was worse than she ever could have imagined, and insisted we leave immediately"

Steven said...

Yeah, see, as a former denizen of the Detroit area, I remember this story from ten years ago.

Here's the thing; the suburbs have already become basically independent. There's nothing culturally to the advantage of living in Detroit. Nightlife, for example — Royal Oak's walkable downtown is the nightlife center of the Detroit area.

Sure, there are a few attractions in the city proper. But you can drive from the suburbs to get to them just as easily as you can drive from the city proper to get to the attractions in the suburbs. There's no serious public transportation anywhere, and the city and suburbs operate separate bus systems. You want to go to the zoo? The zoo owned and operated by the City of Detroit? Drive to its location in the suburbs.

So, Detroit's advantage is that it's cheap. What happens if an area gentrifies? People will leave. You still have lousy city services, horrible schools, not a single chain grocery store in city limits — and Detroit has the area's only local income tax and much, much higher property tax rates than Pontiac, Royal Oak, Southfield, Troy, Warren, etc.

In short, if you're making money and your property values go up, the cost advantage of Detroit instantly goes away, and there's no reason to stay in the city.

Ralph L said...

In '83, after my great aunt's funeral, we were driven from Forest Hills to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, past mile after mile of boarded up buildings. Things can turn around, but it helps if you're within sight of Manhattan.

ampersand said...

Just a Few years ago Detroit, basket case that it was and is, was surrounded by three of the richest counties in the US. The UAW did not do in Detroit. The riots, white flight and Colemans Young's black power grab done did it in.
And Carol, Checkers were not a Detroit product. They were built in Kalamazoo zoo zoo zoo Kalamazoo.

Robert Cook said...

Amazing how the fall of once great businesses are always the fault of the greedy, grasping employees and never a result of terrible management or because of the greater success of competitors from elsewhere, (which also is a by-product of bad management, where it is unwilling or unable to shift gears--as it were--when the public decides it prefers what the competitors have to offer).

Oh!, the burden that must be borne by stalwart captains of industry, undone by parasitical workers and treacherous customers--disloyal wretches all!

Class factotum said...

Guess what city has the highest number of engineers per capita of any American city.

Perhaps because the only private sector jobs there are for engineers? Or perhaps because there is almost no denominator in this equation?

Paul Brinkley said...

A wretched commune of bums and hippery...

Roux said...

When the Dems find out they'll tax and regulate them away...