3rd Thursday: Get to Know the Detroit Art Scene

By: Toni Cunningham | June 18, 2013

I’m willing to bet that if most of you were asked to name a local art gallery or museum, the first thing that comes to mind would be the Detroit Institute of Arts. While I enjoy the DIA as much as the next gal, there are countless other art galleries in the area that are just as cool. Sadly, unless you majored in Art History, you might be unaware of their existence.

That’s where Art Detroit Now steps in. The organization, founded in 2006, acts as a voice for local galleries and museums, organizing and making the public aware of local art events. Third Thursday—a monthly art hop—is ADN’s latest effort.

The idea for 3rd Thursday was born in late 2012 when local gallery owners met with ADN to brainstorm ideas for showcasing Metro Detroit’s growing art scene. The first 3rd Thursday event was held in February of this year, and according to Milana Duthie, managing director of ADN, they have been growing steadily ever since.

“Every month, more and more businesses and attendees come out,” Duthie said. “It provides a great opportunity for local businesses and galleries to bring in artists, shows or special programming for one evening.”

When 3rd Thursdays began, there were only 25 participating venues, which has since grown to over 40. With the warmer weather, Duthie expects the next few 3rd Thursday events to bring out more than a thousand attendees each, a huge jump from their initial number of 400.

Third Thursdays provide Metro Detroiters with the opportunity to experience the local art scene while engaging in events on a regular basis. It’s not just art galleries and museums participating, either. Local businesses, small boutiques, cafes and coffee shops are also getting involved.

“It is a way for art and creative businesses to support and cross-promote one another. Not only can you visit a gallery and buy art, you can visit the café next door,” Duthie said. “It’s an opportunity for local venues to further organize the existing dialog between one another.”

Since Duthie expects 3rd Thursdays to gain popularity, she and the rest of ADN are already planning ahead for a larger crowd.

“In the coming months, the Detroit Bus Company will start conducting specialized 3rd Thursday tours… I think that 3rd Thursday will easily gain national and international exposure and bring more attention to the art scene in Detroit,” Duthie said.

Keep in mind; if you attend 3rd Thursday one month, the next one will be completely different. Just like a snowflake, no two are the same. With so much art and culture in Metro Detroit, Duthie strongly encourages residents to take advantage of all the city has to offer.

“Third Thursday is a very simple idea that is reflecting a bigger moment in the city of Detroit. There is a lot of interest from outside the city directed to the arts in Detroit right now,” Duthie said. “It is important for area residents to promote the energy and vibrancy occurring and take ownership and support all the great (things) happening.”

Be sure to put the following date into your iCal: the next 3rd Thursday will take place this week on June 20. For more on 3rd Art Thursdays, including a list of events and participating venues, visit http://artdetroitnow.com.