Art Exhibits

576. Norwest Gallery of Art – August 27, 2022 – Detroit, MI

Experience beautiful, thought-provoking art at Norwest Gallery of Art!

The gallery based in the Rosedale Park neighborhood of Detroit features work by contemporary artists, many of them African and African-American. The exhibit on display the day of my visit was Pray for Us, a gorgeous collection of photos and video highlighting mothers and their connection to and influence on spirituality. Curated by Detroit-based artist Bre’Ann White, the exhibit included a reproduction of the living room of her mother, Edna, who recently died from cancer. What a poignant display of love and remembrance that was.

Norwest Gallery of Art is also the steward of Womxnhouse Detroit, an artists-residency program that supports BIPOC artists who identify as women or non-binary. The program’s artists display their work in an annual exhibit installed at Norwest owner Asia Hamilton’s childhood home. The second-annual Womxnhouse Detroit exhibit is on display through October 23; learn more about it and purchase tickets here. If it’s anything like last year’s exhibit, it’s sure to be a powerful experience. Do yourself a favor and go.

And do yourself a favor and visit Norwest Gallery of Art! The exhibit on display there as of the writing of this post, a collection by Jamar Lockhart titled In Living Color, appears to be full of beautiful, thought-provoking art, indeed.

19556 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223

www.norwestgallery.com

525. Womxnhouse Detroit – October 2, 2021 – Detroit, MI

What a powerful place Womxnhouse Detroit is! The house at 15354 St. Marys Street in Detroit has been transformed into an exhibition space for the work of 14 female artists. From the bedrooms to the bathroom, the back porch to the front closet, the house bursts with thought-provoking, visually dazzling displays.

Womxnhouse Detroit was inspired by Womanhouse, the groundbreaking 1972 installation of feminist art by female artists curated by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, founders of CalArts’ Feminist Art Program.

The Womxnhouse Detroit exhibit was curated by local artists Asia Hamilton (who owns the Norwest Gallery of Art) and Laura Earle. I was fortunate to visit when both of them were there and to receive a tour of the exhibition from Laura. She walked me and the other women visiting at the time through each piece, explaining the inspiration for and symbolism of each. I’m grateful to Laura for taking the time to do this; it made the art that much more impactful, to have intimate knowledge of what went into creating it!

Womxnhouse Detroit launched in mid-September 2021. This weekend (October 30-31, 2021) is the last one to see the exhibit. Future plans for the house include an artist-in-residence program.

The photos above give a sneak-peek of the exhibit. The picture of the house’s front porch showcases a piece by Asia Hamilton called Fall in Love. It represents the fairy-tale version of love so pervasive in our society, especially in messaging intended for women and girls. THE AWAKENING (also by Hamilton), is a response to that piece. It resides on the back porch and is a portrayal of marriage many viewers will find to be a much more realistic one.

The second photo shown above, of the kitchen, is of a piece called Antepasados by Rosa María Zamarrón. It’s a beautifully immersive experience that showcases the kitchen as a sacred space, one where Rosa’s mother imparted family recipes – and thusly, elements of their Latin heritage. I was moved by this exhibit: by the vibrant warmth and intimacy of the details that make this kitchen a home – from the crimson and gold papers flowers festooning the ceiling to the sounds of Zamarrón’s mother talking and cooking (yes, there is an audio component!). It reminds me of times I practiced elements of my family’s culture with my beloved grandmother, when we made Italian cookies in her kitchen.

I could recount more of the art I experienced at Womxnhouse Detroit – art showcasing themes of grief and healing and abortion rights and the gender pay gap and forgotten women . . . and so much more. But my words would pale in comparison to the experience of witnessing it firsthand; the exhibit begs to be experienced. If you’re in the Detroit area this weekend and into art that’s both culturally significant and visually stunning, do yourself a favor and visit Womxnhouse Detroit! Admission to the exhibit is technically free, though donations are encouraged if you’re able to give. Proceeds from the exhibit will fund the artist’s residency.

I’m excited to see what art this incubator of creativity serves up next. Thank you, Womxnhouse Detroit, for being the facilitator of such magical experiences!

15354 St. Marys St.

Detroit, MI 48227

www.womxnhousedet.com

445. Detroit Shipping Company / Coop Caribbean Fusion – November 10, 2019 – Detroit, MI

November2019DetroitShippingCo.1 (2)November2019DetroitShippingCo.3 (2)November2019DetroitShippingCo.5 (2)November2019DetroitShippingCo.4 (2)The Detroit Shipping Company is a container for a lot of things: art galleries, live music, event space, bars, a food hall. There’s a place that sells coffee and ice cream (-320º Coffee and Creamery), a space that holds pop-up shops, a podcast studio, and plenty of outdoor seating (ah, patio weather!), including on a rooftop deck.

The 10,000-square-foot complex located at 474 Peterboro Street gets its name from the fact that it’s been constructed from metal shipping containers, which have been painted a striking metallic blue hue.

I visited Detroit Shipping Company on a Sunday afternoon in November. I went solo, a status I admittedly regretted upon walking into the food hall on the first floor of the building.

The place had the kind of atmosphere that begged to be shared with someone: lively, convivial, celebratory. Groups of family and friends clustered at the long wooden tables in the food hall, eating, drinking, and having a ball. I wanted to be there eating, drinking, and having a ball with my friends! But I decided to make the best of my solo time on that day, reminding myself that I could always do a revisit with pals.

Detroit Shipping Company’s food hall reminded me of a mall food court – except much hipper and with much more compelling offerings. Communal tables presided in the center, and a full bar and stalls staffed by local restauranteurs ringed the perimeter. A guitarist serenaded patrons from a second-floor balcony.

When checking out the foodstuffs offered at Detroit Shipping Company prior to my visit, I was immediately intrigued by the choices. There was a taco joint (Brujo Tacos and Tapas), a place that offered Thai cuisine (Bangkok 96 Street Food), a stand serving Nepalese dumplings (Momo Cha). And there was the stall from which I decided to eat: Coop Caribbean Fusion.

I was attracted to the restaurant’s flavorful-sounding food, specifically the Motor City Chicken Sandwich and Caribbean Fries. Those become my lunch!

After ordering that sandwich and fries at the Coop counter, I was given a buzzer that lit up and vibrated when my meal was ready.

Greeted by the sight of the open-face fried chicken sandwich nestled on a bed of Texas toast and slathered in barbecue sauce, bacon, cilantro, coleslaw, and aioli and French fries loaded with queso fresco cheese, Caribbean seasonings, cilantro, and cilantro-infused aioli, I was excited to dig in.

The meal was a flavor explosion! The barbecue sauce on Coop’s Motor City Chicken Sandwich was rich and flavorful, as was the coleslaw; its crispy chicken was juicy and tasty. And with their creamy queso fresco and zesty seasonings, the Caribbean Fries were the show-stealer of the meal for me, fried to an ideal crispness and loaded as they were with those luxurious toppings. Mmm mmm and MMM!

I’d planned to end my visit to Detroit Shipping Company with some ice cream from -320º Coffee and Creamery, but I was so stuffed from that decadent lunch from Coop that I opted to forego it. A return to this receptacle for ample food, drink, creativity, and community is in order, anyway; Detroit Shipping Company is the kind of place that entreats one to visit again and again – whether solo or with friends.

474 Peterboro St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.detroitshippingcompany.com

www.coopdetroit.com

327. Trinosophes – May 10, 2018 – Detroit, MI

May2018Trinosophes1 (2)May2018Trinosophes2 (2)I have a new coffee-shop obsession, people: Trinosophes in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Detroit!

What a gorgeous space this place is: light and airy, with long communal tables, book-crammed shelves, and vibrant greenery. I instantly fell in love with its ambiance.

I also fell in love with the fact that it’s located right off of Gratiot Avenue and has its own parking lot (free, easily accessible parking in Detroit is EVERYTHING to me!).

This affection for Trinosophes was pretty much predestined, given my long-held infatuation with independent coffee shops. Reveling in the chill, escape-the-world vibes of a good coffee shop while my bloodstream revels in caffeine is one of my favorite pastimes.

While I savored Trinosophes’ soothing, welcoming aura, I also savored two of its brews: a richly flavored cappuccino and a sumptuous cardamom latte. At the end of my two-hour sojourn there, I was vibrating with caffeine-induced energy and contentment.

A portion of that goodwill I felt during my visit to Trinosophes was due to the barista on staff who served me. She was friendly and approachable, as was the 20-something female patron who perched at the other end of the communal table I was working at. We chatted a bit between typing away on our computers.

It felt good to be out in the world on a Thursday morning, connecting with people, feeling part of a little community. I know I simply spent a couple of hours in a coffee shop – I wasn’t forging a friendship circle – but Trinosophes does embody that friendship-fostering spirit that makes you feel that you could meet the next important person in your life there.

Perhaps Trinosophes emits that community-cultivating vibe because it’s more than a coffee shop. It’s also a café, offering enticing breakfast and lunch dishes, including vegan and gluten-free options, plus a performance and exhibition space that regularly hosts music performances, art exhibits, and other creative events. It bills itself as a library, too, boasting the collections of several impactful Detroiters on those book-crammed shelves.

Leaving the coffee shop/café/library/performance space on this May morning, I felt the magic of the almost-summer season in the vivid green grass and budding trees surrounding it – and the elation that comes with discovering a new place I love.

I knew I’d be back to Trinosophes, that it’d been filed away into my local-coffee-shop rotation, further fueling my obsession with quality caffeinated beverages and quiet, creativity-inducing places.

1464 Gratiot Ave.

Detroit, MI 48207

www.trinosophes.com