It’s no exaggeration to say the world awaits Detroit – seeking its ideas, its creativity, its designers and their dreams, its manufacturing prowess and its gigantic imagination.
To that end, the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) announced Thursday at the Mackinac Policy Conference the launch of the ten-year Detroit City of Design initiative. Now in its infant stages, Olga Stella, DC3 executive director, imagines a decade-long building process that is inclusive and brings Detroit into the world marketplace for its sustained and impressive contributions to art, music, literature and more.
“The Detroit City of Design is an opportunity for the city to share its story internationally,” said Stella, who joined the Detroit Creative Corridor Center in January 2016, shortly after it received notice that it would become the first (and so far) only recognized UNESCO City of Design in the United States.
To boost participation, take suggestions and find boosters, Stella said the Detroit City of Design initiative will kick off on June 28 at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Detroit (MOCAD). The event will feature Ralph Gilles, Ralph Gilles, head of global design at FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles); Maurice Cox, City of Detroit Planning Director; and Katy Locker, Program Director for Detroit at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Attendees of the June 28 event will hear more about the 2016 Detroit Design Festival, which now launches under the new Detroit City of Design brand. The Detroit Design Festival is a three-day citywide celebration of design that has attracted over 100,000 people over the past five years. This year, the festival will focus on “Designing Detroit’s Future” and will take place September 22-24, 2016. Those interested in building a vision for the outcomes of the longer-term initiative are encouraged to attend the festival.
Another highlight is a new film by DC3 Creative Co. member and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Stephen McGee to promote the 2016 Detroit Design Festival. The film illustrates how design is all around us and is inherent in the products, processes and places we use every day. It is narrated by Detroit native and internationally recognized poet and playwright, Jessica Care Moore. (Hint: It shows off many of Detroit’s impressive creative companies, including Cyberoptix Tie Lab. See the film here.)
UNESCO organizers reached out to Detroit to apply for the City of Design honor, which acknowledges Detroit’s design heritage and strong commitment to expanding its creative sector. Detroit is one of only 22 cities selected worldwide to be included as Cities of Design in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
The international implications of this honor cannot be underestimated, said Rick Rogers, President of the College for Creative Studies and DC3 Governing Council member. People of all creative levels – students to mid-career professionals to long-time experts – will be drawn to Detroit and want to participant given what has happened in other cities with this designation.
Everyone in Detroit – residents, business owners, philanthropists and creatives – are invited to this party, said Sabrina Keeley, BLM Chief Operating Officer and DC3 Governing Council member.
“We hope to inspire our community to begin to think about the impact that Detroit City of Design can have in creating jobs, improving place, and strengthening culture over the next ten years,” Rogers said.