"There's plenty of inspiration in the designated Cultural Corridor, in the Midtown neighborhood just north of downtown Detroit. I stayed at the Inn on Ferry Street, a bed-and-breakfast in a cluster of Victorian homes off Woodward Avenue. It's just a couple of blocks to the Detroit Institute of Arts, by my reckoning America's most overlooked major museum: 658,000 square feet (more than 11/2 football fields) founded in 1885 and reopened in 2010 after a five-year renovation. I could have spent an hour ogling Mexican painter Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry" frescoes (1932-33), but I was glad I made time for the collections of contemporary and African American art, and masterworks such as Pieter Brueghel's "The Wedding Dance" (circa 1566).
Within a few blocks' walk, the College for Creative Studies' student galleries exhibit skillful works of illustration, product and transportation design, photography and more. The campus sculpture park boasts pieces by Richard Serra, Alexander Calder and other 20th century luminaries. The nearby Scarab Club was founded in 1907, dedicated to artistic pursuits. Rivera, Marcel Duchamp and Norman Rockwell visited its Renaissance Revival building (1928); on my visit, the exhibition "Family Ties" featured intergenerational works by Detroit artist families.
The problem for these artists, said Simone DeSousa, is that "Michigan artists don't sell to Michiganders." Local collectors might visit New York or Los Angeles to buy work made in Detroit. Aiming to change that, DeSousa opened Re:View Contemporary Gallery in 2008 in a loft-style building that could be at home on either coast." [Read full story]