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Exploring Art & Gentrification: Stamps School Partners with ∞ mile: a journal of art + culture(s)

Citings 13 January 2015 12 crop
Image: Corrie Baldauf. Featured in Essay’d, an exhibition at 9338 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck. 

A new series published by the online journal ∞ mile in partnership with the Stamps School casts a critical eye to the topic of art and gentrification in the city of Detroit and beyond. Over the next six months, the series will invite a diverse group of contributors from multiple disciplines and locations to respond to a series of prompts on the topic. Articles will appear in the next six issues of ∞ mile, a Detroit-based art and culture(s) journal.

Detroit is in the news because of its bankruptcy, while at the same time, there’s an influx of capital and interest in the art scene here,” says Jennifer Junkermeier, co-founder and co-editor of ∞ mile. This is a complex topic and one that has impacted so many cities. In a sense, we want to be able talk about this before gentrification happens to Detroit.” 

Nick Tobier, Director of Detroit Engagement at U‑M Stamps, initiated the partnership with ∞ mile in order to extend the School’s ongoing cultural partnerships in the city. Both organizations recently received Knight Arts Challenge awards which fund ideas that engage and enrich Detroit through the arts.

This a perfect partnership for us,” says Tobier. As artists and designers, our faculty, students and alumni, are engaged in multiple creative projects around the city. Joining forces with ∞ mile opens up new opportunities for generating critical discourse and dialogue. What is happening in Detroit is important to us both as a regional and national conversation.”

∞ mile editors, Jennifer Junkermeier and stephen garrett dewyer, founded the journal with the hope of facilitating a critical and nuanced discussion in support of Detroit’s experimental and diverse art scene. We were concerned about the lack of serious art writing and art criticism here,” says Junkermeier. There’s so much media interest on the city but it’s coming from outside the city. We wanted to go deeper than the Mike Kelley and Tyree Guyton stories and invite the community to engage in a critical dialogue about what is happening here. In a way, the idea is also to document and create an archive of it. Detroit is at a historical juncture and the arts are playing a major role.” 

By focusing on the particularities of Detroit,” writes dewyer, “∞ mile situates the part larger than the whole and thereby shows the commonalities between cities.” 

Upcoming articles in the series will include essays and more from Marsha Music, Vince Carducci, Stephen Zacks, Lauren Hood, Michael Stone-Richards, Syed Ali, Daniel D’Oca and Stamps faculty members, Osman Khan, Seth Ellis, Rebekah Modrak, Irina Aristarkhova and Nick Tobier. 

A release party for February’s issue will be held at Cass Café on Thursday, Feb. 12 from 7 — 9 pm, and a panel discussion on Art and Gentrification will be hosted at The Carr Center on March 21.

For more information, visit the ∞ mile website.