The City Prepares for Detroit Art Week

Detroit Art Week
Photo by Jay Adams

Come the third week in July, Aleiya Lindsey and Amani Olu will unleash upon the city the eclectic, the captivating, the poignant, the bizarre and the beautiful. In its second year, Detroit Art Week will amass over 150 artists, curators and gallerists for five days of exhibitions, performances, visits to artists’ studios and panel discussions, all meant to further stimulate the art market in Detroit. 

“We’re saying to the world, come to Detroit from July 17ththrough the 21st and experience the city, its artists, its galleries and the people who are living and working here, and helping to inform what an art practice looks like today,” Olu says. “We want to be as big as Movement, bigger – 80,000 people coming to Detroit to see art, to party, to hang out, to eat, to drink,” he adds.

The project is inspired, in part, by the time the pair spent in New York City attending gallery openings and immersing themselves in the Big Apple’s art scene, soaking in the energy of collaboration and creativity. Olu and Lindsey say Detroit Art Week aims to conjure up that same spirit here. 

They want to make locals proud and invite outsiders to bathe in the creative juices that flow down Woodward and across McNichols. “We’re not trying to nail it down,” Lindsey says. “We’re not trying to define it, but we do want people to understand that there is a contemporary art scene here, and it’s compelled by everything that has happened in Detroit – Detroit is such a cool, eclectic American city.”

Don’t Miss

Young Curators, New Ideas V


A dozen independent curators will transform 12 hotel rooms at Trumbull and Porter Hotel into mini contemporary art galleries. Olu says the showcase will be “a territorial platform for black curators (and) people of color, gender-nonconforming, queer, LGBTQ independent curators who are looking at some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

July 17-21

Trumbull and Porter, 1331 Trumbull Ave., Detroit


Framed by WDET: Places Where We Belong

Between 2014 and 2018, WDET gathered 18 local photographers and audio producers to present traveling exhibitions that spotlighted the stories of less-celebrated neighborhoods and cultures in Detroit. This multimedia project and panel discussion explores those stories.

July 17

1001 Woodward Building, 1001 Woodward Ave., Detroit

She, Her, Me: The Power & Magic of the Black Female Image

Join this conversation with artists Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe, Sydney G. James and Halima Cassells. Lindsey says, “The conversation of the black, female body is so important – it always has been important. But in the art world right now, people are really having to sit down and understand what it’s like to be in a black, female body. So, I’m happy that artists are really tackling this conversation.”

July 18

N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, 52 E. Forest Ave., Detroit

Show Me Your Shelves!

Multidisciplinary artist, dancer and documentarian Bree Gant will install her newly produced work, including performative elements. Gant will also link with fellow Detroiter Jennifer Harge, and with German-born James Gregory Atkinson and Janine Jembere. The group will reflect on the commonalities and differences between German-Afro cultures and the African-American perspective.

July 17-19

Detroit Public Library (Skillman Branch, Main Branch, Parkman Branch)

Unboxing: Doublespeak

Helina Metaferia debuts a new performance developed especially for MOCAD. Her work builds a conversation around space, language and belonging by asserting the black body into spaces of systematic oppression – specifically institutions and gentrified communities landmarked by historical trauma.

July 18

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit

Halal Metropolis

During this tour and panel discussion featuring members of the local Muslim jazz, hip-hop and art scene, Halal Metropolis explores the facts, fictions and “imaginaries” surrounding Muslims in metro Detroit. “They can be a group that is homogenized,” Olu says. “The Muslim communities are extremely diverse, and I think they’re trying to bring that to the table through art and jazz and hip-hop.”

July 18

Indus Detroit, 1713 Waverly St., Detroit

For a full schedule of the week’s free and ticketed events, visit

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