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Posts Tagged ‘Highland Park’

There is an 18,000 square foot building in Highland Park that’s full of art. The building is located in a small industrial section of Highland Park, just off Hamilton Avenue north of Oakman Boulevard. It’s a vintage 1920’s building, constructed in the Art Deco style.

The old place has walls of windows with hundreds of panes that extend from about 5’ above the floor to the 30’ ceilings. The windows allow sunlight to flood the interior space creating ideal lighting for artists. The well-built, industrial place is the former home of Lewis Metal Stamping, an early supplier to the once booming auto industry in both Highland Park and Detroit. Some of the windows look out to green, lush fields where other factories once stood but have been torn down over the years. In some ways, it’s almost like being in the country.

Exterior of the Big Factory building located at 333 Midland

Exterior of the Big Factory building – 333 Midland

A couple of outdoor pieces by Nicole Macdonald

A couple of outdoor pieces by Nicole Macdonald

Today the building is used as art studio space where large-scale paintings, (some 20’ tall, others at least 30’ wide or more) fill the vast industrial space. I had the opportunity to tour the studio this past weekend to view the enormous art pieces created by 47 local artists. They were amazing! The huge pieces were painted in a variety of colorful styles that include portraits, abstracts, line drawings, and modern interpretation of religious renaissance paintings.

Interesting portrait by Tylonn Sawyer

“The Devil Finds Work” – Tylonn Sawyer

"Woven Lines" - Bill Dilworth

“Woven Lines” – Bill Dilworth

Renaissance style painting with a modern twist hangs on a tall wall

Renaissance style painting with a modern twist hangs on a tall wall

This large painting seems somewhat small in the large factory

These large paintings seems somewhat small in the large factory

The art is all part of a show called “Big Paintings @ The Factory” that had its public opening a few weeks ago. Currently, reservations must be made to view the art.

I was fortunate to be invited to a private tour of the factory. A big thank you goes out to Bruce Giffin for organizing the tour and extending the invite to me. I appreciate it!

Here is a little more of what I saw.

"Womancrush" - Tead

“Womancrush” – Tead

One of many large scale paintings

One of many large scale paintings. This is called “Spectre” by Betty Brownlee

"I Remember When This Was All Houses" - Chris Zagacki

“I Remember When This Was All Houses” – Chris Zagacki

"In the Garden of Cultural Change" (Integrated Balance) - Diana Alva

“Vita Brevis Longa Ars” – Vito Valdez

"Nightmare in Kitty Land" - Jerome Ferretti

“Nightmare in Kitty Land” – Jerome Ferretti

"I Hate Myself... and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" - NUL

“I Hate Myself… and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” – NUL

 

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Early Sunday morning is a perfect time to ride the streets of Detroit. The multi-lane, asphalt streets and roads are virtually traffic free. Buses are few and far between, and there’s an overall calmness to the city.  One of my favorite Sunday morning rides is going north on Second Avenue from West Grand Boulevard to Palmer Park where it ends. The street is one way from the Boulevard to Highland Park where it goes to a traditional two lane street. Plus, its four lanes wide to Highland Park, and unlike other streets in Detroit, it’s relatively smooth, with few potholes to deal with.

Second Ave and West Grand Blvd

Second Ave and West Grand Blvd

Palmer Park Fountain

Palmer Park Fountain

This past Sunday I took this ride once again. What always amazes me about riding the northbound avenue is the lack of traffic. Knowing that it’s Sunday morning, less traffic is expected, but on this ride only one car passed while I pedaled the total length of Second Avenue north to Palmer Park! The one car that did pass was in Highland Park. The lone car was heading south as I was pedaling north. It’s hard to believe that I can ride a bicycle in a major city for about 4.5 miles and only have one car pass by!

Looking south on Second Avenue north of West Grand Boulevard

Looking south on Second Avenue north of West Grand Blvd

North from the Boulevard, Second Avenue runs through a variety of neighborhoods. There is the iconic Historic Boston-Edison Neighborhood with their restored, large stately homes. Beyond that it’s basically smaller single family residences. A few multi-story apartment buildings line the street along some sections, especially closer to Highland Park.  Some of those apartment buildings have been abandoned and are in disrepair.  Despite the financial problems Highland Park (a small city surrounded by Detroit) is dealing with, there are some spectacular, well-maintained homes there. Many are easily seen from Second Avenue.

Second Ave. is a two-way street in Highland Park

Second Ave. is a two-way street in Highland Park

A charming Highland Park home

A charming Highland Park home

One of the most fascinating things about the ride is a pedestrian subway. It passes under Second at the corner of Cortland Street in Highland Park. The little subway is now sealed and probably hasn’t been used in over 50-years.  It’s hard to imagine that at one time there we so many cars jammed on the street that a subway was needed for people to cross.

Pedestrian subway at the corner of Cortland St. and Second Ave.

Pedestrian subway at the corner of Cortland St. and Second Ave.

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