Friday, August 23, 2013

Say Nice Things About Detroit

I know most of you have heard some rather harsh things about Detroit, and rightfully so. However there are some amazing things about Detroit that you won't hear about in the news. I grew up in Detroit (yes Detroit, not the suburbs surrounding Detroit). And I would be a liar to tell you that it wasn't a rough and scary childhood. Detroit public schools were not a fun learning environment for me, either. But I am who I am today because of my childhood, and I like who I turned out to be as an adult, so all is good.

One of the things I love about Detroit, is that it is full of the most creative souls on the planet. It is full of art, innovation and energy. Detroiters are survivors. Whatever comes our way, we just get back up and keep on truckin'.

The Heidelberg Project is a perfect example of the resilience of Detroiters. Tyree Guyton started the Heidelberg project over 25 years ago. He took abandoned homes and made them into colorful, creative works of art. He had neighborhood children help. They were thought-provoking, energetic, interesting, beautiful...and too much for some people to understand, including the mayor. They received awful criticism from many people.  They were demolished. Tyree didn't give up, he was strong and determined and he knew it meant something. He created another Heidelberg project, this time with a little more support. And once again, down it came. And once again he went to work. And it was incredible and this time he had even more support and more publicity and  gained credibility as an artist and an innovator for the city. Heidelberg Project has been visited by celebrities, been featured in documentaries. Tyree Guyton has gone on to educate children in the arts, and travels the world. Just this past May there was a fire/possible arson at Heidelberg, destroying much of the project. The next day he and many volunteers were cleaning up, and making plans for the next project, He is the epitome of Detroit to me and he is an amazing character. For more about the Heidelberg project, check it out on Facebook or check them out here:

I grew up with the arts. My father was an artist, my grandfather was an artist, my uncle was an artist and my aunt was an interior designer (which was the field I ended up in as well). My son, at the young age of 10, is an artist. Its in our genes.
My dad studied at the Center for Creative Studies, with a full scholarship, (this is also where he met my mom).  He worked at the Detroit Free Press as an editorial artist and a cartoonist. He also ended up teaching cartooning at the Center for Creative Studies.
Some of his covers of the Detroit Magazine.

The asparagus Festival was a big deal. We had the original framed in our family room growing up. Its actually quite large. This festival was such a fun time and good memory for my dad. He talked about it often.
The Punch and Judy hung in our bathroom.

A 1973 Calendar pull out from the Detroit magazine. So funky and groovy. I have promised my son to have it preserved and framed for his bedroom. This is one of his favorites.
Check out more of his fun art
And my grandpa was also an artist. He was a designer at GM and he also went on to design many other products such as MacGregor Golf Clubs, Delta Faucets and much more. He designed many cars for GM. You can check out his gallery here:
My son will be selling his art (yes, he is only 10) next weekend in Hyde Park, here in Florida. It is his second time selling his work, so I have high hopes for his career in the art world. He is off to a great start, and has a supportive family.  I will be posting pics of his illustrations in my next blog. Yea, I'm kinda proud.
So, say nice things about Detroit. I know its hard, but trust me, if you want to see incredible architecture, great art, amazing music, delicious food and genuine people who are tough but kind,  Detroit is the place for you.
Art is in this family's genes, what talents have you inherited?




  1. Love this <3
    Unfortunately, I've only inherited my dad's obsessive love of chocolate and my mom's late night owl tendencies.

  2. yea, Ive inherited those things too. Haha, damn them!

  3. Isn't it cool to see how traits get carried from one generation to the next? My family has pilots and engineers. My 5 year old has shown great aptitude for math and putting things together in inventive and useful ways so it's possible he may have the engineer brain.

  4. Things like that are definitely genetic, I think. That being said, my daughter is a math geek. She taught herself multiplication in VPK. She just loves math. She is the black sheep of the family. haha. At least she will probably get a scholarship and a high paying job. Just like your son, he will probably get a good job. Us artists....well, its a crapshoot if we get a job.