Skate House, Squash House, Play HouseDetroit, MI
Power House Productions (PHP) is an artist-run, neighborhood-based organization located in Detroit, Michigan. Their mission is to develop and implement creative neighborhood stabilization strategies, integrating artists’ projects and live-work spaces within the existing cultural resources of the community. That means that contemporary artists, architects and designers are working alongside neighborhood residents on a daily basis, demonstrating creative thinking and problem solving, new approaches and ways of thinking about issues confronting their community. It means that creative thinkers are actively engaged in the changing the trajectory of the neighborhood by working there and having conversations with neighbors, developing lasting, long term relationships and cross-cultural understanding.
ArtPlace spoke with Gina Reichert of PHP about the project.
ARTPLACE: Who outside your organization has been key to your ability to move your initiative forward?
REICHERT: The artists.
I don’t know that we would or could ever single out an individual, but the network of artists who have supported our work and neighborhood initiatives over the years is humbling. Whether it’s been through online crowd sourcing efforts or auctions of art work (Juxtapoz X Detroit) or custom skateboard decks (Good Wood), the generosity of artists seems endless.
Over 100 donated work to the Juxtapoz 15 year anniversary auction that got our organization started back in 2009, and then again this year another group of 100 artists donated their time and talent creating custom skate decks for the Good Wood Auction fundraiser. Some of these people we knew personally, and we had friends vouch for us, but a number of artists simply reacted to the projects or the work already begun here in the neighborhood.
Tapping into networks of people that these projects spark an interest with us has been an amazingly productive strategy for us. And that’s not just speaking in terms of fundraising but also in regard to the calibur of work and the national and international recognition of the projects and neighborhood initiatives. Each project alone is significant and substantial, but our efforts have always been geared toward integrating a network of active, working artists and their practices into this working class Detroit neighborhood we also call home. Adding new layers to the culture that already exists in this place, learning from one another and strengthening a sense of community along the way. This is something we could never accomplish on our own. This is why we started the nonprofit organization and this is why we facilitate the work of other artists, bringing their visions and ideas to life and programming these project houses.
PHOTO: Thank You ceremony event at the Power House, photo by Chido Johnson