Ryan C. Doyle
An artist who moved to Detroit shares his insights.
Published: March 4, 2014
MT: Are there success stories of artists moving onto that street and bonding with the long-term residents?
Doyle: Sure! I don’t know how “Hollywood” the success stories really are, but there’s little things every day. Some of the guys living there now are shoveling off the sidewalk on the entire block, if people are not able to shovel their own sidewalks. We have some older couples living there. So, we try to help that scene out. Also, mowing the lawns of the abandoned houses on the block. Recently, there was a house fire on our block that there was a family living there. So, we do have a new property that has become derelict and we’re planning, this summer, to start taking it apart and converting it into more of a community space.
MT: Is there anything else you’d add?
Doyle: People coming in should spend some time in Detroit figuring out what’s going on before they come in and try to start up their own giant group or project or start coming in with this … you know, I hate to hear people say, “Artists are coming in to save Detroit.” I’m glad that people think that’s what may happen. I encourage people to do things that are positive for Detroit, but I don’t think that Detroit needs to get saved. Detroit has a large community that is already very active, and it’s just about finding your place to fit into that scene in the beginning before you come in and implement your grandiose plan.
MT: That’s what a lot of people I’ve interviewed have pretty much said.
Doyle: I’d also add that Detroit is still the wild, wild Midwest, and you have to keep an eye out for yourself and keep an eye on your stuff. It’s just like living in any other city, in that respect. There are people that are up to no good and if you’re looking for trouble, you’ll find it pretty quickly. Also, I’d remind people that Detroit has this incredible reputation. I mean, it’s probably the worst in the rest of Michigan and then, once you get out of the state, people are like, “Oh, I heard things are improving there.” So, you get all these views from people on what’s going on in Detroit.
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