Uso Car Club members were in town from all over the region for the Detroit chapter's annual lowrider picnic on Belle Isle. Lowriders from all over Metro and Southwest Detroit, North Carolina, Milwaukee, and Kentucky were present for cruising and the picnic. Juan's 1964 Impala is shown here taking a pit stop on Telegraph to refill the gas tank.
Each year members of the Universal Hagar’s Spiritual Church Association (UHSCA) gather from around the country for their Annual April Convention. The convention was held at their national headquarters located at 555 Oakwood in Southwest Detroit.
The UHSCA was founded in Detroit in 1923 by Father George Willie Hurley. This year’s celebrations mark their 90th anniversary as a church. The gathering includes prayer, preaching, worship, fellowship, food, and general revival for its members.
After the day’s services church goers are shown returning to their cars as the Marathon Oil refinery looms in the background. The contrast of industry, Sunday bests, spiritual health, and poor air quality illustrates some of the nuance residents and tenants of the community contend with.
The church building’s original occupant, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Catholic Parish (Detroit), left when the parish was closed in 2008 after 81 years of service. Soon after it was acquired by the UHSCA in 2010. In 2011 nearby Marathon Oil began its first phase of property acquisitions across the neighborhood that, to date, has largely affected housing and only slightly impacted commercial and business properties in the area.
Caption By Al Poe and Rosa Maria Zamarron
Brown's Bun Baking Co. has been serving various restaurants, food services, sports stadiums and institutions in Detroit and beyond since 1929. Their 30,000 square foot production facility is located in the heart of Southwest Detroit on Vernor and Ferdinand near Junction. The wholesale operation is now being run by the founding family's 4th generation who bakes and delivers Brown's baking products daily.
Current and former residents alike recall ways that Brown's adds to the experience of Southwest Detroit:
"The best part of walking to school down vernor, was passing Brown's! Smelling the bread cooling in the doorway. The best buttered, bread and buns baked in Detroit!" - Richard Champagne
"I still remember smelling the bread from my grandmother's house on Ferdinand! The best memories!" -Michelle Brennan-Kelly
"It's been many years when I walked down Vernor going to Western, but I still remember that delicious smell." -Delphine Roland
Caption By Joyce Dallas
The view from the Downing/Omaha block of South Deacon Street looking toward Omaha and Visger Road. This area, once home to Slovak and Italian immigrants, became a thriving African American community in the 1950s.
Caption By Joyce Dallas
People’s Bakery on Fort Street is a Southwest Detroit institution. Founded as Cephuses Bakery by Berthonius and Gertrude Cephus in the 1950s, Eugene, Mack and James Peoples took the helm upon the Cephuses retirement. Noted for their sweet potato pies, dinner rolls and cakes, People’s Bakery attracts customers from all over Detroit.
For the past year community members, friends, and visitors of Inside Southwest Detroit have been documenting their neighborhoods using a series of hashtags on social media sites. Some have been trained to do so. Others have shared what they learned with friends. Several specific groups have had trainings on how to document and archive their work. And still others have just done so because they've seen others doing it. Inside Southwest Detroit has been promoting, following, and archiving this documentation via Instagram by creating a series of hashtags for communities, groups, and individuals that publish hourly to the website to create collections of photos that tell stories. Together these collections of photos and the words that accompany them are creating narratives about the people and places of Southwest Detroit.
To help get the word out about this initiative we are hosting the #SWDetroit Photo Challenge on Instagram for one week starting on Easter Sunday. Each day will feature a different theme to photograph and caption. Each image hashtagged with #SWDetroit and the day’s theme (for example #SWDetroit #SWThrowback) will be featured on Inside Southwest Detroit. It will appear on the website’s ‘Say Something’ section and allows for commenting and sharing by others. At the end of the challenge we will select photos with imagery and captions that tell powerful stories about the neighborhood to be featured in a community exhibit at La Terraza’s new location opening April 10th, 2013. More information about the exhibit will follow.
Inside Southwest Detroit aims to inspire community residents to move beyond being consumers of media to being producers of media. Resident-created media can be an effective means to communicate a range of ideas, beliefs, and experiences about a community's people and places. The media that is created eventually forms a broader community narrative as it is collected and activated. Community-driven narratives are important as keys to local wisdom about communities. Expanding this collection of images about Southwest Detroit is a step in developing strong, effective, and accessible tools to create and publish stories about the community, by the community. The more we are all building together the better connected, informed, and storied we are as a people and as a community. Be a part of the story. Write your own page: shoot, caption, hashtag, share.
#SWDetroit Photo Challenge Themes:
For each day’s challenge please add a caption to your photograph and include #SWDetroit and the hashtag listed for the day. Check the list below for themes and ideas about what to shoot.
Sunday, March 31: #EasterInSW
Friends, family, food, faith, gatherings and more… how do you spend your Easter in the neighborhood?
Monday, April 01: #MyHoodSW
Start with YOUR block. Let’s see your street signs, inside and outside homes, sidewalks, paths, cars, and more from your perspective starting where you’re at. What does Southwest look like from your front door?
Tuesday, April 02: #SWEvents
Flyers, groups at events, happenings, dances, parties, posters for upcoming events. What is going on in your part of the community?
Wednesday, April 03: #SWArt
Think public art, fine art, art in public, art hanging in homes, artists’ studios, and/or workshops. Possibilities are endless. What are your favorite pieces of art or artists in the community?
Thursday, April 04: #SWThrowbacks
Memories made in the neighborhood from months or even years ago. What do you remember?
Friday, April 05: #SWStyle
Forms of expression… gear, shoes, tattoos, rides, homes, decorating, memorials, dancing, and more. How does Southwest express itself?
Saturday, April 06: #SWSpaces
Parks, schools, galleries, churches, homes, porches, businesses, gardens, empty spaces, favorite buildings. What are your favorite spaces and places in Southwest Detroit?
Learn more about Instagram here: http://insideout.pentecostalyouth.org/technology-reviews/tech-review-instagram/
WDET 101.9, by Martina Guzman
Does it matter if residents feel a sense of neighborhood identity? Experts say that being connected to your neighborhood has a strong relationship to how secure individuals feel about their place in the world. Residents of one Detroit neighborhood say their community identity is being changed… against their wishes.
WDET’s Martina Guzman reports on how the unofficial renaming of the Hubbard Richard neighborhood is raising concerns.
Detroit’s Hubbard-Richard neighborhood is surrounded by Mexicantown, Downtown and Corktown. Amelia Duran lives and works there. She says she loves the name of her neighborhood.
"I think that there’s a lot of reasons why names are important to a neighborhood… like identity and culture."
The neighborhood was named after Father Gabriel Richard many decades ago…and is anchored by the historic St. Anne’s church. But as of late…Hubbard-Richard is being called something different… Corktown Shores.
“someone from out of town was asking us what neighborhood we were in and we were explain well it’s kind of Corktown, it’s kind of Hubbard farms, it’s kind of southwest, kind of west industrial, and the person was familiar with Corktown I think and they said something like “what about Corktown shores”...and people thought it was funny and so when people started asking where we were, we said Corktown shores”
That’s Jacques Driscoll the owner of Green Dot Stables…a restaurant that re-opened last spring after years of being closed. Driscol says the name Corktown Shores caught on with his customers. T-Shirts were designed and now sell for 20 dollars at his restaurant.
“to say oh it was just a joke but then to go back a month later and you still have t-shirts for sale that still have that slogan on them, it passes from being a joke to being a clear “I don’t care what you think and I don’t care how you feel even though this is your community.”
The t-shirts are what convinced Duran that it was not an accident, and that calling Hubbard Richard Cork Town Shores is an attempt to re brand her neighborhood into something trendy.
“Corktown is seen as this hipster hub spot where it’s cool to come in and invest money and have all these different establishments coming up… but those establishments aren't really welcoming to the community that already exists there… so it’s isolating them.”
Changing the names of neighborhoods isn't new in Detroit. One of the latest examples is Midtown. For decades the area was known as the Cass Corridor. Sue Mosey…is the director of the Midtown Detroit Inc. She was behind the move to rename the area.
“In about 2000… we sort of ran up against the issue of a name that really represented all the sub- district neighborhoods… we had Brush Park, we had art center neighborhood, we had Wayne State, the Detroit Medical Center…and we struggled with trying to come up with one name that everyone could fall under that would then give us a lot more punch."
The Midtown brand has been successful. According to the Midtown Detroit web-site there’s been more than 2 billion dollars in investment and housing occupancy has risen to about 95 percent. Changing the name of a neighborhood is a tool that’s been used by real-estate developers for decades. In some cases… altering a name can give the community an opportunity to do away with a tarnished image. Take L.A…In 2003 Los Angeles re-named South Central Los Angeles to the less stigmatized South Los Angeles. Duran says… her Hubbard… Richard neighborhood isn't stigmatized and doesn't need a new image.
"I’m opposed to changing the name of the Hubbard Richard neighborhood because I feel like it affects the identity of the community that already exists here. There are a lot of roots that have been here for a long time, this community is very diverse."
Scott Martin is an urban planner and the former Executive Director of the Greater Corktown Development Corporation. He says there is a right way and a wrong way to change the name of an existing community. Martin helped re name the neighborhood called Briggs which sits near the intersection of I–75 Freeway and the Lodge…to what is now solidly known as North Corktown.
“in our effort to redevelop the area we went to the community and said what do you think about realigning yourself with what is a more successful neighborhood and what has become a more popular destination in the city and everyone in that neighborhood up there was very excited about it so we were able to go forward."
Detroit is going through massive restructuring. Some consider changing the names of certain neighborhoods as just a part of the reorganization. But Martin says community engagement is essential when making these decisions.
“If people are looking at a map and playing monopoly and just naming neighborhoods that seems to me not the right thing to do, so but who gets to decide is a very good question, it’s a very, very good question… and in my opinion it should be people who live there.”
Amelia Duran says some people are taking the issue lightly because they view it as a move the re branding bring in positive investment and an influx of people.
“I’m not saying that I don’t want to see people come into these communities but I want to see those people come in and be respectful of the communities that are already here”
With hundreds of people investing in the city’s future… how will businesses and communities come together and agree on Detroit’s reinvention?
I’m Martina Guzman WDET News
Listen to audio here: http://wdet.org/shows/craig-fahle-show/episode/neighborhood-name-change-hubbard-richard/
The following is the second in a series of articles written by photographer Tom Stoye about a variety of aspects of his experiences and observations while documenting graffiti art in Detroit.
By Tom Stoye
The graffiti writer’s black book is similar in outward appearance to an artist’s sketchbook. Both come off the shelves of a local art supply store, and both contain empty white pages ready to be filled with whatever medium the artist see’s fit. However, similarities dim when considering the social significance of the black book, because of its undeniable connection to an art movement that many perceive as an unwanted public nuisance.
Both the graffiti writer and the artist use their (black/sketch) book as a template for future endeavors. But, for the graffiti writer, the transition is a greater leap of faith weighted by the performance of painting illegally: a deliberate action working in stark opposition to the gallery/museum system where the artist’s creation is a commodity.
The blueprint for a painted wall often begins with a black book sketch or drawing. Disciplined writers work out problems ahead of time by experimenting with style and letterforms. Once perfected, they are better prepared to execute a piece, when they paint for real in the middle of the night, where time and efficiency are paramount to getting in and out of a spot as quickly as possible.
Black book drawings are also an important component of the social fabric that exists between writers who hang out together (aka graffiti crews). Central to their gatherings are “black book sessions” where groups of writers congregate in order to draw together. Look at any writer’s black book, and you’ll likely see a collection of tags and drawings from a multitude of talented writers, co-existing with personal sketches from the original owner. Some are so well travelled, the original owner loses track of their whereabouts. Serious graffiti writers will often set aside a personal black book not meant for communal use, but this is usually the exception to the rule. Almost any black book, no matter how personal, has a smattering of tags and sketches from other writers.
In contrast, the creative process of conventional art is usually carried out in solitude. Like-minded artists might open up their sketchbooks for other artists to look at, or draw with artists who hang out in their social circles, but seldom do they offer up their sketchbooks for community use. This is not to say that it doesn’t take place, but it's not as deeply rooted in the culture as it is in graffiti circles.
When writers shift their creative energies from the black book page to the street, a completely different mindset is required in order to make the change from marker pen to paint can. The congenial atmosphere associated with black book art is replaced by the fearless bravado reserved for “getting up.” For some, the transformation from one to the other is a balancing act that doesn’t always equate to universal success in both disciplines. For writers completely dedicated to attaining “king” status as a graffiti writer, mastering both is the ultimate end game.
While it is a well guarded, and highly personal possession for any writer dedicated to his or her craft, it also serves as a bridge between the delicate egos of individual writers. Considering the overall territorial and competitive nature of street art, the black book is a welcome reprieve from the complexities and negative attributes often associated with graffiti art.
The Alley Project is a sort of social micro-community made up of four distinct groups of stakeholders: Youth, Neighbors, Artists, and Organizations (for profit and non profit). Most of TAP's work involves the continual collection, organization, and employment of each of these groups' unique needs and assets toward the building of relationships and the community. Its stakeholders play a critical role in the creation and sustainability of the space to continue to meet the needs of neighbors and the community as a whole. La Terraza has played quite an active role within this distinct group.
La Terraza, a local restaurant and avid supporter of The Alley Project, is located at the end of the block at Avis and Lawndale. Israel is the restaurant's owner and has frequently provided free or reduced cost food for TAP's events and patrons over the past 18 months. Additionally he has hosted meetings and workshops in his restaurant space at no cost and always extends a warm welcome to continue using the space as needed. Recently he was inspired by the activity and artwork of TAP and is proud to have added wall space and lighting to display artwork throughout the restaurant as a show of support for TAP's mission and as an addition to the ambiance of the restaurant. In March TAP is honored to be hosting an exhibit in the space!
This past week Young Nation hosted a workshop at the restaurant with photographer and Young Nation mentor Tom Stoye. Participants and leaders from Young Nation, Real Media, and Radical Productions were in attendance as Tom reviewed his portfolio, The Graffiti Writers of Southwest Detroit. The workshop granted participants access to his collection of photos and included a discussion about composition, artistic process, culture, and relationship building as it relates to being an artist.