Stir It Up
Arms around the city
Neighborhoods Day showcases a vibrant, positive, united Detroit
Published: August 3, 2011
"We are part of this kind of unique neighborhood with a concentration of the arts in Detroit," says Mattie Majors, community relations director for the Arts League. "Neighborhoods Day lets people know that this city is not dead, especially the arts. So many people here don't really understand how strong the arts community is in Detroit and how varied it is. There is an awakening happening because people are becoming aware. They're catching on and realizing that the arts are inclusive. Everyone can enjoy the art at some level."
The 2:1 Gallery, an arts project of transplanted New Yorkers, will focus on a series of music and arts projects for children on the grounds of the Historic St. Anne's Church in southwest Detroit. "We're working with a group called Clave, and dancers are coming in to do folkloric dancing. We're doing an instrument-building workshop to create up to 100 small xylophones and playing a very dense piece of composed music on them," says 2:1's Gregory Holm.
A pairing of Detroit's past and present takes place with the Gratiot Splash at the site of the former Joe Muer's restaurant at 2000 Gratiot Ave. The Splash features a Stop-the-Violence tailgate parade with the Buffalo Soldiers motorcycle club, members of the Masonic Temple Lodge riding motorcycles, Manhood Inc. and others, with a mock funeral to bury violence.
"We wanted to show the other side of African-American men in the public eye," says Josie Kimball, of JC Human Services, a local business participating in the Splash. "So much volunteerism goes unreported."
Splash organizers expect Mayor Dave Bing or a representative, Rep. Hansen Clarke, City Clerk Janice Winfrey and others to speak. Other attractions include pony rides, horse-drawn carriage rides through the neighborhood, bands, DJs, fraternity steppers, inflatable playscapes and more.
I talk to a lot of people in the course of writing this column and I must say the enthusiasm from Neighborhood Day participants is getting to me. But I'll leave the last words to levitation maestro Keith.
"At the end of the day, people want a good community. These are the real heroes of Detroit. This is not about one day; they do it all year long. Now neighborhoods are going to be on the front burner again. Maybe now the time is right for people to start noticing this incredible story of hope and inspiration."
Find out more about Neighborhoods Day at arisedetroit.org.
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