Art X Detroit Celebrates Creativity in the Motor City

By: Amber Ogden | April 15, 2015

Metro Detroit is bursting with creativity, and whether you’re an artist or a dancer, a lover of film or theater, there is plenty of innovation to go around. Art X Detroit, a 10 day festival of dance, music and theatrical performances, film screenings, visual arts installations and workshops, is making it even easier to enjoy arts and culture in Detroit.

Art X Detroit (AXD) began last weekend on Thursday, April 9 and went through Sunday. It picks up again today, April 16 and tomorrow, April 17, and again next weekend on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26. The festival is held over a three-week period and is hosted throughout various venues in Midtown Detroit. All events are free to the public.

“Because of the broad reach of the artists involved in Art X Detroit, the festival provides a really unique perspective into the arts and culture that the city of Detroit has to offer,” Mallika Roy, Program and Communications Coordinator for Art X Detroit, said. “Art X Detroit is a special festival in that it brings together so many different kinds of art events that are accessible to all audiences—there is something for everyone, whether you’re a music lover, a literary enthusiast, excited about films, interested in visual arts, or just want to immerse yourself in interactive arts experiences that you’ve never (seen before).”

The ongoing Visual Arts Exhibition on display at MOCAD, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, goes hand in hand with Art X Detroit and is a great way to get a taste of AXD. The exhibition is on display through Sunday, April 26 and features works from 2014 Kresge Eminent Artist Bill Rauhauser as well as 14 of the 2013-2014 Kresge Artist Fellows.

“Each year, Kresge Arts in Detroit awards one Kresge Eminent Artist Award to an exceptional artist who has made a longstanding contribution to metropolitan Detroit in dance, music, film, theater, literary arts and/or visual arts,” Roy said. “The unrestricted $50,000 award is given to an artist whose influential work, impact on their art form and proven commitment to the Detroit cultural community are evident.”

Similarly, Kresge Artist Fellowships recognize creative vision and commitment to excellence within a wide range of artistic disciplines. A total of 36 fellowships are awarded every two years in categories including dance/music, film/theater, literary arts and visual arts. As mentioned, just under half of the 2013-2014 class of Kresge Artist Fellows will be taking part in AXD.

The first weekend of Art X Detroit set the tone for the entire festival. There were over a dozen events, including the World Space Party at the Michigan Science Center (which drew in 1,400 attendees), a book release from Leon Johnson, a film premiere from Jasmine Rivera and panels on various topics related to the role of art in our community. This weekend and next promises even more arts and culture to enjoy.

“During the second weekend of the festival, AXD visitors are invited to enjoy a public conversation between Jane Chu (Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts) and Rip Rapson (President and CEO of the Kresge Foundation), an artist talk with 2014 Eminent Artist Bill Rauhauser, book releases, poetry readings, live music, film screenings, a workshop for high school students and much more,” Roy said.

Attendees will likely recognize at least a few names on the program, because many Art X Detroit artists have been established in their respective fields for quite some time. Michigan Opera Theatre founder David DiChiera, jazz drummer Gayelynn McKinney, Detroit SOUP cofounder Kate Daughdrill and print artist Carl Wilson will all be part of AXD.

Those works and performances will take place at venues around Midtown including the DIA and Detroit Film Theatre, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Opera House, the Garden Theater and more.

A few upcoming “can’t miss” AXD events, according to Roy, include “Why the Arts Matter: A Conversation on Arts, Engagement and Community” on Saturday, April 18, “Juan Atkins Celebrates 35 Years of Techno” on Saturday, April 25, and “An Afternoon with David DiChiera and His Works” on Sunday, April 26.

Keep in mind that while free, some events do require registration; so make sure to secure yourself a spot! For more information on Art X Detroit, visit http://www.artxdetroit.com.