by Brit Chic in Detroit
Last week, April 24th-26th, saw the second annual event to promote Culture Lab Detroit. The idea was conceived by Jan Schulak who has partnered with
and the College for Creative Studies to facilitate a place where renowned
artists and entrepreneurs can come together to make connections, have
conversations and collaborate with each other in order to make the world aware
potential to be a leading hub for creativity. Detroit
During the series of events last week, a panel discussion entitled “Art Interventions” was held at the
Design Education at the College
for Creative Studies on Thursday evening. Alfred Tubman Center
The moderator David Stark a New York premier event designer lead the other panelists in discussion; Theaster Gates, Chicago- based artist and innovator in the field of social practice, and space development, David Adjaye, London and New York based international architect, known for his sculptural ability and artists sensibility and Humberto and Fernando Campana, Brazil-based designers, who work primarily in furniture, interior design, architecture, and landscaping.
I had the opportunity to ask David Stark some questions beforehand.
How did you get involved with Culture Lab Detroit?
“I first met Jane Schulak, Culture Lab’s founder when collaborating with her on a private event. Through that experience, I fell in love with
percolating creative community, the incredible history of the city, and the
community that is redefining what
stands for NOW and in the future. When Jane asked me to be part of the
panel discussion last year, of course, I was thrilled. I am honored to be asked
back to now moderate this year’s talk with David Adjaye, the Campana brothers,
and Theaster Gates, all artists and creative thinkers that I greatly admire”. Detroit
Do you think it is possible to restore
and revive it as a city of creative innovators? Detroit
“Of course! It’s happening as we speak! Creativity comes out of necessity. Thus, while there are truly grave challenges to be overcome, and I don’t want to minimize them, there are so many awesome people, artists, and companies that are seizing the day of opportunity. Look at a company like Shinola. They are a prime example of a group that are moving the needle from
So with David and his strong support for
at the helm, his questions to the panel began.
The group was very focused on how design and architecture can benefit a
recovering city like Detroit . Their main points focused on listening to the
community and looking at their relationship to the environment, recycling and
restoring and the Campana brothers’ example of their work in San Paulo Detroit , where
social responsibility can resurrect old traditions and give stimulation and
self esteem back to the people. Brazil
This all makes good sense and why shouldn't art have a positive effect on rebuilding a city? As we have seen recently with the fires at the
project, not everyone shares this view. Heidelberg
This was highlighted when a fantastic question came from the floor from a teacher in
She explained that her students walk home every day among the burnt
out abandoned buildings and that it is their psyche that needs restoring
before any art and architecture could improve their lives. Detroit
The designers all agreed that this was a really big problem and did not know if they could take this on the way it stands right now. “Design can give us the tools to deal with stuff but cannot deal with spiritual problems”. They felt that what is needed is to figure out what other disciplines (perhaps positive psychology?) could sit alongside architecture and design and suggested that it could be taught in schools and collages.
So it seems that there is a lot more to it than just listening and rebuilding the city with creative design. However, it was clear that the high level of talent on the panel and their presence in
engaging in these types of conversations was important for the outside world to
Can Art and Collaboration help rebuild a city? I am not sure the answer is that simple. Maybe a first step will be to restore balance and alleviate the inequalities that are still so prevalent in
This will be a huge undertaking and needs everyone to be on board, whether they are an artist or not. If everyone comes together for the common goal of rebuilding the city and each individual does his or her part, I think it could be possible. By starting to work and heal together the community can start to restore its faith in the possibility of rebirth.