Kresge Foundation Launches Art X Detroit to Celebrate Artistic Excellence and the City's Creative Spirit

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Kresge Foundation Launches Art X Detroit to Celebrate Artistic Excellence and the City's Creative Spirit
Kristen Beaver. David Lewinski Photography.

DETROIT, MI.- Spring is the perfect time for renewal, and the Kresge Foundation will do its part to awaken residents and visitors with an explosion of creativity when it sponsors Art X Detroit, a five-day arts experience that takes place April 6-10, in the city’s Midtown District. The event features 38 Kresge Foundation Artist Fellowship awardees and Kresge Eminent Artists who will debut new works, sharing their expressions on canvas, in sculpture, through the written word, music, dance and more in theatres, art galleries, museums and university centers throughout Midtown. Art X will also include several panel discussions and workshops with Kresge awardees alongside national speakers and local art experts. This free event is produced by the University Cultural Center Association, a nonprofit organization that has spearheaded reinvestment in Midtown through the arts, beautification and economic development.

“Kresge has organized its work in Detroit around the theme of ‘Reimagining Detroit,’” said Kresge Foundation President Rip Rapson. “A significant part of this work focuses on building a healthy and vibrant artistic ecology. That, in turn, pivots in large part on supporting and celebrating local individual artists through the Kresge Eminent Artist Award and the Kresge Artist Fellowships. We are eager to share their work with the broader community at Art X.” Since their inception in 2008, the Kresge Eminent Artist Award and Kresge Artist Fellowships have provided over $1 million to individual visual, literary, and performing artists living and working in Michigan’s Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

Art X will host an opening night reception beginning at 5:00pm on Wednesday, April 6, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). The evening will include live performances by Kresge Eminent Artist Marcus Belgrave, as well as Kresge Artist Fellow Joel Peterson in concert with BoxDeserter, as well as an exhibition of new works created by the 2009 Kresge Visual Artist Fellows which will be on display through Sunday, April 24. Another highlight of the evening will be the unveiling of a new installation covering the entrance of the museum by Kresge Artist Fellow Gordon Newton.

ART X Detroit Highlights
Through the Eminent Artist Award, the Kresge Foundation honors an exceptional artist living and working in metropolitan Detroit whose body of work, contributions to his or her art form and demonstrated commitment to the Detroit cultural community is widely recognized. Two of Kresge’s Eminent Artists will be featured at Art X: renowned visual artist Charles McGee and iconic jazz musician Marcus Belgrave. Kresge recently announced its third Eminent Artist this past January, distinguished poet and playwright, Bill Harris. The award includes a $50,000 no-strings attached prize. Kresge Artist Fellowships recognize creative vision and commitment to excellence within visual, performing, and literary arts disciplines, including artists who have been classically and academically trained, self-taught, and whose art forms have been passed down through cultural and traditional heritage. Since 2009, 18 visual artists, nine literary artists, and nine performing artists have been awarded Fellowships. The Fellowships come with a $25,000 award. For more information on the Kresge Arts in Detroit program, visit:

Over the five days of Art X, the breadth and depth of talent of the Eminent Artists and Fellows will be on display at venues across Midtown, including:

· “Spirit Renewal” – A sculpture by Kresge Eminent Artist Charles McGee. Measuring 8’ x 22’, this newly commissioned work will be located in front of the Horace H. Rackham Memorial Building across from the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). The work consists of 54 boldly contrasting black and white shapes layered on top of a curved aluminum central base. McGee’s work promises to be a highlight of the future Midtown Loop Greenway Public Art Plan.

· “Street Folk” developed by world-renowned Heidelberg Project creator, Tyree Guyton, is a provocative social commentary that addresses the issue of homelessness in an installation that incorporates more than 10,000 pairs of shoes on a closed-off city street. According to Guyton, “The shoes are a reflection of people, all going in different directions and yet they are all in the streets.” “Street Folk” will be installed in Midtown’s Brush Park neighborhood on Edmund Place, between Woodward Avenue and John R Street.

· African Rhythms – Jazz master trumpeter and Kresge Eminent Artist Marcus Belgrave joins master percussionist Isaac Okyerema Asante of Ghana in a performance between the American trumpet and African drums, bringing his sound to deep rooted African rhythms. Belgrave will also host a Jazz Development Workshop Youth Ensemble performance plus a duet with pianist Bill Meyer underscoring the film “One Hamtramck” on the Opening Night of Art X. Also, in a long-overdue concert, Belgrave will perform with members from his 1970’s collaborative ensemble, Tribe, who have never played together in Detroit until now. Original members include: Belgrave on trumpet, Phil Ranelin (trombone), and Wendell Harrison (sax); and will be joined by some of Belgrave’s protégés, Geri Allen (piano), Robert Hurst (bass), Ralph Armstrong (bass), and Karriem Riggins (drums).

· Invincible - Real Detroit Weekly named Invincible the Best Female Hip Hop Artist of 2011. Art X will premiere music from Invincible’s upcoming album, which also features Waajeed of the Platinum Pied Pipers, at the Detroit Science Center’s Toyota Engineering Theatre. The performance will include a multi-media art installation by That’s That, and video projections by el iqaa. This live production will be preceded by an interactive performance and projection-based workshop in the Planetarium.

· The Troublemakers: The True, Epic Story of Diego and Frida, a multi-media story by Louis Aguilar. This three-act play tells the battle over Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry fresco mural – a fierce controversy that nearly resulted in the whitewashing of Rivera’s masterpiece at the DIA. The Troublemakers will be presented in the DIA’s Rivera Court, featuring a cast of local community leaders and artists, with an original musical score by Jessica Hernandez and video by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Stephen McGee.

· Cedric Tai activates brick walls with vibrant patterns. Brixels – a term combined from the words “brick” and “pixel” – are the foundation for Cedric Tai’s Art X project based around a fun online tool created in collaboration with Dan Marchwinski, which allows the public to create their own brixel designs. Tai plans to transfer designs created through this “tessellation generator” onto three buildings in the Midtown Detroit neighborhood. Create a design today at It has the potential to be chosen and blown up in scale as a part of Tai’s public mural projects.

· The Wire Car Parking Lot at Tech II is an installation presented by visual artist Chido Johnson. This is a miniature parking structure built for wire cars made by collaborators from different parts of Detroit, neighbors as close as Hamtramck and as far as Zimbabwe, the artist’s native home. The wire car is a cultural practice popular in the southern and central regions of Africa of making cars out of wire that become mobilized by being pushed with a stick. Collaborators participated in this first documented wire car cruise, which was performed on the historical Woodward Avenue, where the earliest assembly of cars rolled their wheels upon. A video documentary of the performance will be featured in the visual arts exhibition at MOCAD, and the wire cars will be on display at Tech II throughout the month of April. This recorded performance is titled a dance for Diego to honor and re-live Diego’s conversation on Detroit as a culture of makers and dreamers. For more information on this project, please check out:

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