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Pioneering inner city studio (con't)

Look at what happened in Detroit’s Midtown, for example, where some of the early pioneers were galleries like Detroit Artists Market.

Now that once forbidding strip along Woodward Avenue north of downtown is booming with new apartments and lofts as well as gourmet restaurants.

Nevertheless, Chidester says, “We’re definitely in on the ground level of whatever comes next.”

This studio is located in between the centre of a couple of newer revitalizing neighbourhoods.

One is Corktown - the general area where Tiger Stadium used to be - which is home to new restaurants such as Slows Bar BQ and Gold Cash Gold as well as a variety of hip bars.

The other is further north, Woodbridge, which has seen at least one new pub open and an influx of urban professionals.

“The neighbourhood I think will inevitably be revitalized just because of its geographical location, you have Corktown proper there, you have Woodbridge kind of there,” Chidester, pointing, says.

“Just its location between all these creative areas I think it’s inevitably going to be activated regardless of our participation.”

Meanwhile this old two storey building, which used to house an ice cream parlour - there’s even a street window from where ice cream was served - provides a space for artist studios and where members as well as outsiders can exhibit work.

The collective has six member artists “going on nine” says Chidester, who in his other life is a professional architect. 

The artists came together because they’ve needed space to work.

“We all live in condos and apartments and we don’t have a basement or a garage to make that messy creative space,” he says. “So this kind of functions as that third space where it’s not your home it’s not your office. 

“And the idea of a collective is we’re all working different mediums but we can help each other out in terms of equipment and expertise.”

Like some other inner city Detroit galleries Corktown Studios has an open and free-spirited atmosphere about it.

It encourages non-member artists to exhibit and has hosted events for the wider arts community.

“We’ve done events with the Detroit design festival, we’ve done fundraisers here for non-profits, we’ve used it as a community storefront to do design charrettes,” Chidester says.

There’s also live music once a month “where we’re showcasing local musical talent” - often in collaboration with an exhibit opening.

The gallery is located at 2707 14th Street, at the corner of 14th and Perry in the North Corktown - also known as Brigg's - Neighborhood.

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