REVOLVE Livernois

Detroit Economic Growth Association (DEGA) REVOLVE Program

Funding Received: 2013
Detroit, MI
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
November 5, 2013

Hunter's Supper Club, transformed by a series of temporary uses that showcased and engaged the community in the vision for its redevelopment; photo by Joshua Hanford.

The Big Launch: Light Up Livernois
Four months, two blocks, ten vacant storefronts, 31 projects.

On September 20, exactly four months after the ArtPlace America grant announcement, the REVOLVE Detroit team unveiled 31 new art and entrepreneurial projects at the Detroit Design Festival.  A regional audience of more than 3,000 people experienced the transformation of Detroit’s historic “Avenue of Fashion.” New art and entrepreneurial projects supported by funding from ArtPlace America were featured alongside 18 existing businesses, hosting special events.

In total, the project transformed ten vacant storefronts and four public spaces through art installations, performances, and new businesses in a two-block area in the heart of the business district. The impacts of the project extended far beyond those storefronts. Existing businesses were inspired by new art and the increase in attention. New coalitions formed under the pressure of a near-impossible deadline and the necessity to make an unforgettable first impression on a regional audience. Competing business associations joined together to promote the event. Over 60 volunteers came out on weekends leading up to the event to help makeover the storefronts. New models of collaboration and engagement through the arts were on full display throughout the project. For example, Dacha, a performance installation by Harrison Richards Bartlett III, Delaney Martin, Taylor Lee Shepherd, Margot Couture, Arielle De Pinto, Artem Voevodin, and the Treasure Nest, showcased previously unseen local talent from Majik Touch Dance Company, Happy to be Nappy Hair Salon, Teaser’s Boutique, Motown Photography, EastSide Riders Bicycle Club, and Echoes of Silence in a spectacular tableau and performance. The Hunter’s Supper Club, the original building that settled the entire neighborhood, was transformed by a series of temporary uses that showcased and engaged the community in the vision for its redevelopment.  Detroit artist, Walter Bailey, assisted Michael Owen, a muralist from Baltimore, to complete a massive mural project in just three days showcasing famous musicians like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder that called this community home.


Performers from Majik Touch Dance Compamy in the Dacha performance installation space; photo by Joshua Hanford

The overall goal was to return the Avenue to the shopping and cultural destination it once was. For one rainy fall day, this was achieved at the Detroit Design Festival. The event received tons of praise from locals and guests to the area even weeks after the event. “Detroit was showcased in a fantastic way,” said one user on Twitter. Kay Willingham, owner of Art in Motion, the new ceramic studio on the Ave, said, “I’ve lived here in this neighborhood for 45 years and I used to shop the Avenue of Fashion with my mom when it was the Avenue of Fashion so I have seen the transition, but I think we have an opportunity for a win-win here.”

The challenge now is to sustain the momentum of this transformation. The use of art to enhance the community and retail experience continues to bring a refreshing image and audience to the Avenue. Canvas Detroit, an arts studio offering acrylic painting classes for masses, and Just Speak, a youth outreach program, are hosted daily in a formerly vacant space turned into a community storefront. Good Cakes and Bakes, a new permanent bakeshop that prominently features art in interior design and new ceramic studio and gallery, Art in Motion, are favorites amongst visitors.

Photos from the event and leading up to the event can be found on the REVOLVE Detroit Facebook page in the “Light Up Livernois” album. Many of the people involved are also featured on our website at under “Meet the Revolutionaries.” Additional press can be found here: