Impact of Art X Detroit 2015



Art X Detroit: Kresge Arts Experience, a unique, multidisciplinary celebration of the 2013-2014 Kresge Eminent Artists and Kresge Artist Fellows, was held April 9-12, 16-19, and 25-26, 2015. The festival presented dance, literary, musical and theatrical performances, film screenings, an ongoing visual arts exhibition, workshops, panels, discussions, and interactive experiences. Staged over three weekends and taking place at nearly 20 venues across Midtown, Downtown, and Eastern Market, the celebration drew over 15,000 visitors. Media coverage for AXD resulted in nearly 157 million positive media impressions in local, regional, and national outlets including print, broadcast, and digital.

Art X Detroit was unquestionably a huge success: it generated local and regional excitement throughout the month of April around the thriving arts and culture scene in Midtown and beyond; nourished the artistic and professional development of all 38 Kresge Eminent Artists and Artist Fellows; connected artists to local and national art scenes as well as to new mediums and presentation forms; and more.

See below for some highlighted facts regarding the impact of the third biennial celebration of Art X Detroit.


  • Of the 38 2013-2014 Kresge Eminent Artists and Artist Fellows, all 38 artists participated in the planning process and/or attended Art X info sessions and boot camps; 36 of these 38 artist projects were presented during Art X Detroit.

  • Altogether, over 450 artists and collaborators were supported and highlighted during Art X Detroit.

  • The participating Art X Detroit artists and collaborators received $237,923.84 to support their work. Including tech expenses, 51% of the overall festival budget was given to artist programming.

  • 5 festival partners contributed to the Art X Detroit event advisory committee:
           Midtown Detroit, Inc.
           The Kresge Foundation
           The College for Creative Studies
           Creative Many Michigan

  • 13 community sponsors collaborated to support artist projects and festival programming, including:
           Allied Media Projects
           Arab American National Museum
           Art Detroit Now
           Cass Café
           Cinetopia Film Festival
           Detroit Public Library
           Freep Film Festival
           Jail Guitar Doors
           Keep Growing Detroit
           Marygrove College
           Mesopotamian Forum for Art & Culture
           University of Michigan’s Prison Creative Arts Project
           Wayne State University Press

  • Art X Detroit’s footprint expanded this year, with 18 venues across Midtown, Downtown, and Eastern Market hosting programming.


  • Audiences for Art X Detroit programming reached 11,000, while another 4,000 attendees visited the ongoing projects at MOCAD (2000 total visitors), Detroit Public Library, and Cass Café for a total of 15,000 AXD visitors.

  • 52 events were presented during the ten days of programming (April 9-12, 16-19, 25-26), as well as 3 ongoing exhibitions, installations and displays over the course of April 9 through April 26. In terms of audience size and positive feedback from the public, some highlights include:

            Daniel Land’s “World Space Party” - Over 1,400 visitors gathered at the Michigan Science Center to celebrate Detroit’s version of the world-wide celebration of Yuri’s Night, the anniversary of the first man in space. Rocketship projections, audio recordings of astronauts in space, a cocktail bar, planetarium screenings of Land’s newest film projects, outdoor telescopes and more kept the party going late into the night. [1400 visitors]

            Diane Cheklich’s “The Doctor Reddy Experience” – Across two evenings at Cinema Detroit, audiences gathered to celebrate the debut of a new Doctor Reddy film alongside the screening of the two existing shorts. Doctor Reddy poster and button giveaways, a live Bollywood dance with the stars of the short films, a trailer for the new space-based Doctor Reddy movie, and a dance party rounded the evening off. [200 visitors]

            Chace Morris’s “You’re Coming With Me” - Amidst a blend of live hip-hop, electronic, and rock instrumentation, Morris presented a series of poems, raps, and songs exploring his connection to the city. His personal narratives opened up a heartfelt exploration of the pros and cons of Detroit’s changing landscape from the perspective of a lifelong resident. [450 visitors]

            adrienne maree brown’s “Detroit Visionary Fiction Generator” – This event represented the Detroit book release within adrienne maree brown’s national tour promoting Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. Of all the book releases across the nation on the tour, this event brought together the highest number of collaborators from the book on one stage. Over 20 artists, musicians and writers participated on-stage in readings and live music performances celebrating her newly-released, ground-breaking anthology for science fiction fans and social justice advocates alike. [350 visitors]

            David DiChiera’s “An Afternoon with David DiChiera & His Works” - The 2014 Eminent Artist brought over 250 audience members onto the stage of the Michigan Opera Theater on the last day of Art X Detroit to enjoy selected pieces of his work played by his favorite musicians. The audience was thrilled to have the chance to participate in an intimate setting with the renowned opera composer. [250 visitors]

            Gayelynn McKinney’s “McKinfolk: The New Beginning” - Bringing together 17 jazz musicians both young and old from across the city, state and country, McKinney and her band paid homage to her father, the legendary Detroit pianist Harold McKinney. The audience packed the First Congregational Church Sanctuary and danced along to the music for the full performance, getting a rare insight into a circle of jazz collaborators who felt like family to the artist’s late father. [600 visitors]

            Art X Detroit Visual Arts Exhibition – The ongoing display at MOCAD drew a hugely positive response from the public and our partners. The most common feedback received anecdotally was that this exhibition far surpassed the previous ongoing Art X Detroit exhibitions in terms of visual interest, subject matter, overall layout and presentation, and participatory nature of many of the projects on display, including Marie Herman’s mug exchange, Kate Daughdrill’s community food sessions, Oren Goldenberg’s brick takeaway, Peregrine Workshop’s postcard prompt, and Coco Bruner’s interactive floor sculpture. [3000 visitors]

  • Of the 52 Art X Detroit events, there were 14 panels, discussions, or artist talks with featured Kresge Artist Fellows, community members, and national leaders in the arts. A few of the most well-attended discussions were:

            "Lynne Tillman and the State of Arts and Cultural Criticism" kicked off Art X Detroit’s Opening Night with a reading from Lynne Tillman’s new book and a Q&A with the national art critic. [110 visitors]

            Arthur R. LaBrew, Africlassical Musicologist was held to honor the life and legacy of Arthur R. LaBrew, who passed on February 19, 2015. Arthur LaBrew’s nephew and two fellow researchers presented a discussion in place of Professor LaBrew’s plans to present original work. [75 visitors]

            “Artists as Social Entrepreneurs was a discussion with Laura Callanan (Senior Deputy Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts) and the dynamic Robert Karimi (The People’s Cook) about artists advancing creative solutions to real-world challenges at the macro- and local levels. [80 visitors]

            “Why the Arts Matter: A Conversation on Art, Engagement, and Community” presented a public conversation between Jane Chu (Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts) and Rip Rapson (President & CEO of The Kresge Foundation), facilitated by Juanita Moore (President & CEO of The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History). [300 visitors]

            Bill Rauhauser’s Artist Talk packed MOCAD as Art X Detroit attendees came out to hear the 2013 Kresge Eminent Artist on a panel with his former students and associates Michelle Andonian, Carlos Diaz, and Michael Hodges. [150 visitors]

            “The Art of Food Sovereignty”was organized by 2013 Visual Arts Fellow Kate Daughdrill and Keep Growing Detroit to explore the creative and artistic ways that urban farmers are cultivating a more food sovereign Detroit. [70 visitors]


  • The AXD media relations campaign garnered significant media coverage, with $2.3 million in news publicity value and nearly 157 million media impressions in local and national outlets including print, broadcast and digital.

  • AXD coverage included The New York Times, Associated Press, Washington Post, ABC News, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Metro Times, Crain’s Detroit Business, Michigan Chronicle, DBusiness, HOUR Detroit, MLive, Zipr Magazine, Hyperallergic and extensive live and in-studio coverage from broadcast outlets including WJBK-TV (FOX), WDIV-TV (NBC), WXYZ-TV (ABC), WMYD-TV (TV 20), WJR-AM, WWJ-AM and WDET-FM (NPR).

  • Thank you for your participation in Art X Detroit and please continue to provide MDI with feedback!