Art, Culture & Dance: Detroit’s Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts

By: Scott Davis | August 1, 2014

If you’ve ever been to Downtown Detroit, it’s more than likely that you’ve seen street performers—people turning buckets into percussion instruments, saxophone players, artists, and more. Just leaving Comerica Park earlier this week (after the Tigers beat up on the Chicago White Sox), I saw some of the aforementioned performers.

It is kind of a magnificent sight to see. I mean, what people can do with things as simple as buckets or dance moves is quite impressive. The way artists can tell a story or write and speak a poem is equally as impressive. If this sounds like something of interest to you, then you should attend the Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts this weekend in the neighborhoods of Old Redford and Brightmoor.

The event takes place Saturday, Aug. 2 with events starting at 3 p.m. This is the second installment of the festival. Site-specific performances, installation art and other forms of art from artists all over the map are set to show off their abilities.The event is free, but it is asked that you “pay what you can” for a donation to support the artists.

The festival is broken off into several different areas; each of which has events going on throughout the day. Check out acts from groups like Shakespeare in DetroitD.A.N.C.E. Inc., 313 Soul Entertainment, LLCMosaic Youth TheatreTeen Hype and so much more! Check out the complete schedule to see when and where performances are taking place (scroll down to “2014 Schedule of Events”). You can also check out the list of artists.

Parking in Detroit can often be a pain as well as expensive, but the fine folks putting this festival together conveniently let us know that free parking is available in the lot on Orchard Street (on the corner between Greydale and Lahser). Check out the details provided here for a map of the event and more parking information.

The 2013 Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts brought in big crowds and was a success! It had 35 artists and more than 800 people in attendance. You can check out some of the photos from last year’s event in the gallery.

This year’s event is even bigger, featuring 40 acts of culture and more participatory art. This event also focuses on the youth and community.

“We consider (this event) a Sidewalk and Art ‘staycation,’” founder Ryan Myers-Johnson said. “You can relax all day and see tons of different performances, and we are also focusing on community involvement and opportunities for youth.”

Since you will most likely work up an appetite and get thirsty whilst walking around and checking out the performers, several vendors will be at this event selling food, drinks and merchandise.

What better way to celebrate the unique culture of Detroit than with dance, theater, music, poetry, or installation? Nothing comes to my mind. Sounds like a perfect Saturday event in the sun! Get on down to Detroit and celebrate our city.