July 11, 2011

Living in Detroit with Detroit Lives!

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Chief among my many personal failings is an inability to return phone, text, and email messages within a time framed deemed "socially acceptible." Its not necessarily because I don't want to communicate with the people who are trying to communicate with me. Its just that I'm often in private negotiation with my thoughts. My thoughts are are jealous succubi. They demand my exclusive attention for indefinite stretches of time. Even still, I do my best to escape their surly gravity and return an orphaned email every now and again.

I received one such email from the gentleman pictured above, Philip Lauri.  He intimated that he enjoyed what I was doing with The People of Detroit, wanted to feature it on the website for his social branding organization Detroit Lives!, and he suggested we meet to discuss doing something collaboratively.

Well, much like Jesus and Ja-Rule, I may not always come when you call... but I'm always on time. A mere 132 days later, the collaboration has happened in earnest as represented by this photo. The photograph was taken near Phil's place in the beautifully tree-lined Woodbridge neighborhood in Detroit.

But wait, there's more.

I applied for a business acceleration program with the Detroit Creative Corridor. This photo was taken on the eave of the official announcement of who had been selected for the program.

It came up in conversation that Phil applied for the same program. Although I knew I'd been accepted to the program at the time, the program organizers made me swear to keep a secret until the official announcement. That conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey, have you heard about DC3 business accelerator program?
Phil: Yea, I applied.
Me: Me to.
Phil: Yea.
Me: Yea...

Well, I guess Phil was sworn to secrecy also. As it turns out, we were both accepted along with 15 others to be part of the inaugural group of participants in this business development program for creatives. If you have a chance, come out to the program launch event.

I'm looking forward to working with everyone in this program and I'm thoroughly pleased that such a program exists. In a climate where the national, international and - most disappointingly - local art establishment is all too eager to support creative endeavors that peddle trite images of a dour, haggard, toothless Detroit; DC3 has chosen to support creatives in Detroit who not only imagine a better future but revel in a wonderful now.

Which isn't to underestimate the immense challenges that confront the city. Its more to say, "enough, already." Those challenges - and the people who have failed them -  have been celebrated so relentless as to force the impression that they are the only aspect of reality in Detroit that is acceptably authentic.

That's simply not the got damn truth.

The truth is that in direct proportion to this place's challenges stands opportunity. Folks like Phil are proof of that. The DC3 program is proof of that. The fact that downtown Detroit's population has experienced a 59 percent increase in college-educated people younger than 35-years-old is proof of that (Woodbridge is adjacent to the downtown/Midtown area). 

These people, programs, and population increases aren't happening at some indistinct point in an amorphous future. They are happening right now.

They are just as much a part of Detroit as the broken buildings and broken spirits put forth by less comprehensive thinkers as authentically Detroit.

And with that, if you'll excuse me, I have some emails to return.


Unknown said...

The photograph is on point, but the actual program sounds pretty awesome.

Is it more of a side gig though?

Que The Lights
QTL Images

Anonymous said...

"Well, much like Jesus and Ja-Rule, I may not always come when you call... but I'm always on time."


I hate you for that. lol

Congrats, though.

mgindi.tumblr.com said...

NOAH!!!! This is like, the coolest shit ever! I am so excited for you :D :D :D

You're gonna be pretty busy from now on, it seems. You should probably start returning those emails more often ;)

I really want to do a print swap with you when I come there next. I want one of your photos on my wall. Think about it.

Sleep now but more conversation soon!!! PLEASE?!

liteandexp said...

Beautiful work man...

Cazoo said...

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