Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Funding Received: 2011
Detroit, MI
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
August 12, 2011

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit updates the exterior of its facility to create a welcoming, creative atmosphere.

Since it opened its doors in 2006, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) has been about change: in perceptions, in energy, in art. We are Southeast Michigan’s first and largest institution dedicated solely to contemporary art, and we aim to empower the community by connecting them to the best of national and international art and by presenting an a broad and eclectic selection of public programs that make MOCAD a unique and exciting place.

MOCAD is located in the Sugar Hill Arts District, in the heart of the ever-reviving neighborhood called Midtown. Within this framework, our entire facility exists as much more than a mere building – it has also become an artistic and cultural anchor in the city, a hub for the community and a gateway to the emerging arts district. We’ve proved in the last half-decade how essential this experience is for Detroit and the region, and we continue to grow our offerings as we learn what the community wants and needs from a contemporary art museum.

Our facility is a former auto dealership designed by the architect of some of Detroit's most iconic buildings, Albert Kahn, that was lightly and respectfully renovated by Andrew Zago for our grand opening almost five years ago. The first renovation was just the beginning of a larger vision that sees the Museum as a major site of creation, presentation and exchange of ideas in art and contemporary culture and as a one of the principal stewards of Detroit's renewal. ArtPlace's recognition of the Museum's short but successful and eventful history is a major step in realizing that vision, one that will not only benefit the city but will contribute to its growing visibility as a place where art lives and is a major force of positive change.

MOCAD has always viewed its building and surrounding area as places for art and performance as well as leisure time. With support from a Space for Change grant from LINC/Ford Foundation, MOCAD has already begun a process to plan not only the upgrades to the building but also the eventual development of a space of community participation that will provide a link between area greenways and the proposed light rail line along Woodward Avenue, Detroit’s main artery.

Our first steps will be securing the building, making its exterior more welcoming and open to visitors, creating a work environment that is inspiring and comfortable for our staff and ensuring that art that is exhibited is in a safe environment through climate control. While basic upgrades such as these might seem pedestrian, they are a crucial piece of the puzzle as MOCAD evolves into what we should and can become.

Our hope is that this support from ArtPlace will propel us into the next five years with a new perspective that stretches our thoughts and deeds even further into the realm of possibilities. Change is never easy, but it’s often worth it and never boring.