Summer in Brightmoor

Hello! It’s been a while but I’m back in Brightmoor and it’s all hands on deck for this Summer of many changes, challenges and improvements to this vibrant neighborhood!

This past week 27 young people from all over Brightmoor began working in our target area neighborhood (The Brightmoor Farmway). The young people are employed by Trinity CDC with generous funding from the Fischer Family. Our young people will be working for the next 6 weeks. One group, led by Mr. Scott, are working on the Farmway helping neighborhood  community and market gardens maintain and develop their work as well as working with an artist, KT from The College of Creative Studies Detroit, painting murals to be displayed throughout the neighborhood.

The second group, led by myself, is cleaning up and converting three open lots into a children’s art park. The park is part of an international project, children – earth – solidarity – treedomes, initiated by the German landscape artist Johannes Matthiessen. There are already four Treedome parks on three continents in China, Austria and two in Tansania. We are building the first North American Treedome and hopefully there will be more to come!       For more information about this exciting project and to start your own Treedome visit:

Other areas of the neighborhood have been very active as well – there is change a foot! To sneak a peek at photos of the lovely new parks and gardens that have sprung up this past Spring visit Neighbors Building Brightmoor and the Brightmoor Farmway on Facebook

There was a LOT of excellent work this week! Thank you everyone for your hard work and enthusiasm!

On the first day our work site had 3 foot tall grass and many hidden piles of dumped trash. After two days our site was mowed, clean and ready for use!


rib cage house heart

Thank you!

A big thank you to all of you who came out yesterday for the launch of Walking The Way!  What fun!

The tour is now permanently housed in the neighborhood and can be arranged to be taken at any (reasonable!) time.  Please contact Riet or myself if you or someone you know would like to take the tour.

A group will be meeting up next Sunday, December 19th, for one morning tour (11:30am) and one afternoon tour (2:30pm).  Please get in touch if you would like to join us.

Thank you once again for your participation and generous feedback. I really appreciate it!  A very special thanks to Riet & Mark Schumack and Family for their hospitality and support.   Also, special thanks to Eric Sproull for the many hours put into helping me edit material and making the audio-side of the tour a success.  Thank you!

WALKING THE WAY – Dec 11th & 12th

WALKING THE WAY a piece I have been working on (with many helpers!) for the past two months in Brightmoor on Detroit’s west side.

WALKING THE WAY is an audio walking tour through a unique and growing community in Detroit. The WALK  is self-guided tour through gardens, parks and open space in a Brightmoor neighborhood accompanied by recorded stories and reflections of the people who live and work there.

The audience will be given a set of headphones, discman/ipod and a map of the route.  They will then walk a route through the neighborhood visiting 11 sites. The sites consist of market gardens, community gardens, parks and open space. A piece of recorded material accompanies each site. The audio consists of stories and reflections of the people in the community that work and live on the sites. In my recording process I asked the following questions which the participants responded to each in their own particular style:
What used to be here?
How has this place changed for you since you began working here?
What do you like about this neighborhood?
What are your dreams and ideas for the future of the neighborhood?

The tour will take place on December 11th & 12th, 2010.                                                     Tours will begin at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30pm on both days.

Reservations required!

To reserve a spot and time for WALKING THE WAY contact:  OR # 734 846 0761

Directions to the tour location and any additional information will be given when you reserve a spot.

Please dress warmly. Sturdy footwear is recommended!

side-walk repair

A bit of excess stimulus  money has gone into repairing crosswalks of each sidewalk in Brightmoor. The rest of the sidewalk doesn’t seem to come into question…I guess it really is all about transitions…

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a public pool in your neighborhood

In Your Neighborhood

Artist Jessica Frelinghuysen’s new show describes itself as an ”art meets anthropological experiment” exploring the everyday sounds and stories of a neighborhood in Hamtramck, MI. Visit the exhibition and add to the NOISE!

Detroit on your coffee table…

Detroit Disassembled (2010) Photographs by Andrew Moore

There is a big fat book that just came out with photos of all the abandoned landmarks in the D. It’s very “beautiful” in terms of the quality of the photography but it does not evoke much of the hardship of the place. It seeks to find the places of neglect and decay beautiful (I do see some value in this) but it is hard to swallow the pretentious nature when it is coming from some random professional photographer who was LED to the “good” spots. The book has an accompanying article from a former resident, Philip Levine, which is semi-interesting in its Prodigal Son tale of revisiting the former glory of Detroit now in an age of decay. Unfortunately it did not give a balanced view against the aesthetic that the photographer was portraying. The collection is for me another coffee table perpetuation of stereotypes and a sort of “preservation” mentality of all things “industrial decline”. When will we see a full 150 page glossy book of new and exciting places in the city?  These are interesting and valid contexts to look at but I do not see how  they seek to find THE NEXT STEP for the city. It documents and archives but it does little to MOVE forward. There are some interesting shots of an abandoned public school library with trees growing out of books. It is an evocative photograph but it is also terribly sad. Have a look and tell me what you think…

I wasn’t legally allowed to put up any photos but check out this website for a selection of images from the book: