Detroit is a great city in which to view art, and there are many art walks throughout the city and its suburbs. The Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the city’s many museums, was founded in 1885 and has had a few major renovations since then. Detroit is also turning into a major city for artists to reside, because of its inexpensive lodging and work spaces and the opportunity to breathe new life into the city. Here are a few of the best art walks in town.
Wayne State University
Various campus locations
Detroit, MI 48202
Wayne State is probably best viewed when the weather warms up, perhaps in April or later, because most of the artwork is outside. The collection features many artists from all time periods and is scattered throughout its campus. Be sure to download a self-guided tour map so that you may peruse the various works of art at your leisure. If you go with an organization or group and would like a little more structure to the walk, the Women of Wayne Alumni Association offers guided tours. The WWAA is also a supporter of ArtWalk, along with the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan.
Hours: Wed to Sun -Noon to 5 p.m.; Evening and weekend hours for special events
Located adjacent to the Detroit Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Scarab Club has various exhibits throughout the year. Its March exhibit is “Women Image,” which is an invitational exhibition. Its Main Gallery hosts four juried and four invitational exhibits per year, which are free to the public, and it also has free opening receptions that allow the public to see recent exhibitions while also meeting the artist behind them. Locals can even become a member of the Scarab Club to take advantage of benefits like a second-floor lounge with members-only exhibitions.
Price: various artwork for sale
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri -11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thurs, Sat -11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun -12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Ariana Gallery is located in downtown Royal Oak and opened in November of 1987. It has an eclectic art collection; visitors will find everything from glass and ceramic, to paintings and sculptures, to jewelry. Art for purchase ranges from $20 to $20,000, and its gallery has an annual teapot show as well as a glass show. The Gallery is known for more “unusual and controversial” art as well; it even featured a Dr. Jack Kevorkian exhibition as part of the gallery.
Downtown Northville Art Walk
Hours: Galleries open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
First Friday of every month
Now known as the “First Friday Experience,” this Downtown Northville art walk features art exhibits, demonstrations, galleries and various scheduled events. This walk provides the perfect night out, as many of the galleries offer finger foods for visitors strolling the streets and admiring the artwork. Six featured galleries participate, including Tiffany Art Glass and Dancing Eye Gallery, but the whole neighborhood usually joins in on the fun and festivities including restaurants like Rebecca’s Family Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor and Tirami Su Italian Ristorante. So if finger foods aren’t enough to satiate your hunger, there are plenty of restaurants to enjoy before or after taking in the gallery artwork.
Ann Arbor Art Center
Price: various artwork for sale
Hours: Mon to Sat -11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sun -Noon to 5 p.m.
The Ann Arbor Art Center located downtown offers not only exhibitions, but classes and a gift shop as well. The center’s current exhibition is “Inherent State,” which ends on March 18, 2012, but there are always new exhibitions for the public to see, too. The Ann Arbor Art Center also hosts the AAWA (Ann Arbor Women Artists) meetings, and the Art Center is the third oldest arts organization in Michigan. The Art Center also participates in outreach programs to fund arts education for children. Check out the special events, like WineFest and the 30×30 Art Sale.
Related: Detroit Museums for a Culture Fix
Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit
Price: various, depending on the event/exhibition
Hours: Thurs to Sat Noon to 6 p.m.
Don’t let the CAID’s limited hours get in the way of seeing its various galleries, which includes the Carriage House Gallery, a few blocks away from the main building. It is also known for its “Funk Night,” which hosts an eclectic group of art lovers at a dance party on the last Friday of every month. CAID offers street and lawn parking, and its Whitdel Arts building (located at 1250 Hubbard, Suite B1, in Detroit) hosts professional exhibitions and educational programming as well.
Liz Parker is a freelance writer and a University of Michigan graduate with a degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.