By Lori Melton
As the automotive capital of world, many people many not realize what a robust art scene Detroit has to offer. From galleries and street art, to local artisans and musicians, the Motor City has a lot to offer art enthusiasts far and wide. Check out our picks below for some of the best ways to experience Detroit’s local art scene.
The Heidelberg Project
3600 Heidelberg St.
The Heidelberg Project is regarded by critics and fans as one of the best examples of a public art project in the Motor City. It’s an outdoor art installation in the heart of an urban area which is dedicated to enriching the lives of people in the local community through artistic expression. Artist Tyree Guyton wanted to clean up and revitalize the neighborhood and he enlisted the help of local kids to transform vacant houses and lots into works of art. The one-of-a-kind art installation stretches into two city blocks. Small and large group tours can be arranged, including a Q & A session with HP founder Tyree Guyton.
Detroit’s Eastern Market is a world-renowned open market of produce, food, and works of local artisans and artists. The Art in the Market tour features critically-acclaimed, must-see street art and murals from local artists and in some cases, you can watch muralists doing live painting. There are over 100 breathtaking murals in the Eastern Market and over 200 scattered throughout the City of Detroit. Murals in the Market hosts many events throughout the year including artist dinners, meet and greet opportunities, specific installations, block parties and more.
Touted as “The World’s Oldest Jazz Club,” this historic Detroit venue opened in 1933 as a popular sandwich joint. It boasts an art deco style and famous piano keyboard bar. It also hosts a ‘50s Steinway brought from New York specifically for the venue. Some of the greatest artists in jazz history have played at Baker’s including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Cab Calloway, and Nat King Cole to name a few. Local up-and-coming jazz artists play the venue regularly and a great soul food and cocktail menu make it a great place to share some food and beverages with friends.
Related: Best Craft Shows in Metro Detroit
The Detroit Institute of Arts (aka DIA) is the Motor City’s premiere art institute and offers hours of enjoyment for arts patrons, school groups, and families. DIA boasts exhibitions of classic works from painters like Monet and Church. It also features locally-focused collections like a photographic timeline of the story of Detroit’s hip-hop music scene. Classic film buffs can also take in riveting films and documentaries in the Detroit Film Theatre which is part of the DIA. They also play Oscar-nominated short animation and live-action short films which are nominated in the current Oscar year.
Located about 45 minutes west of Detroit, the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair is considered one of the biggest and best air fairs in the nation. The award-winning extravaganza consists of four juried art fairs and transforms the surrounding streets into a spectacular outdoor art gallery, featuring works from local artists and beyond including fine arts and fine crafts products. You’ll see local and national street artists and street performers, art demonstrations for photography, pottery, painting and more. You can spend a whole day or several days taking everything the Ann Arbor Street Fair has to offer in.