One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Detroit's Growing Artist Colonies

Because I'm in an artsy mood lately -- check out this story from The New York Times, which a realistic look at the challenges and opportunities here for artists. Opportunity: lotsa land. Challenge: Getting mugged and the resulting scar.


Brian Merkel, 25, is an arriviste from Portland, Ore.; he's been here since October. “I moved here blindly,” Mr. Merkel said. “I was an artist in Portland and I became more interested in food. I decided that when I moved here I would be a butcher. Within the first two weeks we had a charcuterie club.” People move to Detroit, he said, “because they have a sense of purpose.” That is true on a stretch of Farnsworth Street that has been reclaimed by artists and activists, a leafy block in eastern Detroit surrounded by severe blight. The Yes Farm, a communal building with a stage and a studio, beckons on a corner, even if it doesn't always have lights inside. Pickup soccer games happen on the empty lots at dusk. On a weekday evening Dutch artists in the middle of a two-month residency offered a talk on the sidewalk along with homemade fruit tarts.

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  • 1

    Who is Melvin Turner and why is he wearing a Detroit Police Badge?

    Police Officers must have the trust and respect of the community to effective protect the community?

    Then why is Melvin Turner wearing a police uniform?

    Just like Warren Evans, while Melvin Tuner was the 2nd in command at the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, he notoriously dated a female Lieutenant (Pam McClain) who he directly supervised, and promoted another of his girlfriends to the rank of Commander Rose Fodera.

    Melvin Turner was fired from 4 different police departments.

    He was fired from his $185,000 per year job as Undersheriff of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department after he beat up his baby momma, but not right away, because who cares if cops beat up their baby mommas. He was fired only after being convicted of domestic violence and had his police powers taken away.

    Next he took a job as police chief in Highland Park, Melvin came in and broke the backs of the Police Union and helped the city to go bankrupt. The police department was dissolved.

    Next he convinced the Emergency Financial Manager in Hamtramck, however the Hamtramck Cops disliked Melvin Turner and filed complaints and whistleblower lawsuits against him. The Emergency Financial Manager investigated the complaints and decided to fire Melvin Turner.

    Then he arrived in Sumpter Township as Chief of Police. He pissed off everyone there from the city dog catcher to the Township Supervisor. Seem Melvin thought the Township should provide him with his personal police car to take home. He was fired at one year.

    Then Melvin applied for every open police chief job in the State of Michigan and the State of Texas. When Clinton Township told him to hit the brick and that he was a four time looser, the filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against them claiming they would not make him Chief of Police because he was a dark black guy.

    Melvin Turner lead the State Police on a high speed chase down the lodge freeway.

    Melvin Turner was told that he was barred from testifying against drug dealers because many of the Circuit Court judges found him to be habitually untruthful witness. (a liar)

    Melvin Tuner has several complaints filed against him by drug dealers stating that he had unlawfully taken their gold jewelry for his own personal use. Melvin Turner had a retail store were he sold second hard goods and allegedly a lot a stolen merchandise.

    Melvin Turner threatened to shoot and kill Wayne County's Personnel Director when she told him politely it was not appropriate for him to attempt to kiss her and other females on the cheek at the start of a meeting. She advised Melvin that a hand shake was proper for the workplace.

    Melvin Turner was sued for sexual harassment by one of his female subordinates.

    Warren Evans hired Melvin Turner to be Deputy Chief of Police in Detroit.

    Mayor Bing and his new broom is sweeping clean. Time to sweep Mel Turner right out the door.

  • 2

    I get sick of people "saving" Detroit.
    I wish they would try getting into tI get sick of people trying to "save" Detroit.
    There's a 40-year-old debate that's been here which is cut along racial lines (and overt racism, that continues today and centers around who gets heard and who doesn't; and who's ideas are the "right" ones and who's aren't).
    As per usual, the new white people here are asking the old black people here to jump on the peace train and follow along to happiland, but should be moving in and listening to the reasons why the desolation has occurred and continued. Believe it or not, there are reasons that exist outside of helplessness (or choose your poison, of mis- or under-education, poverty, broken homes or other ignorance). I wish they would "help" the people, and not "save" Detroit.
    But. That's my two-cents, and, as per the usual, the new white people will have their way with the city, as their forefathers, the old white people, did. While we sit and watch, and get caught in the net.
    And listen while they mince words and grow "tired...."

    • 2.1

      This is a very racist comment. Why should it matter what color someone is who wants to do something positive with the city? You are assuming they don't know the whole story. Maybe you have not spoken with them. There are some groups of people working together, black and white, to bring some life into Detroit. Sometimes it takes a fresh approach, and these artists have it, as do all of the local urban farming groups and the new small businesses. Perhaps you could take the time to meet them and talk to them before judging. Some of the people with the fresh new ideas are actually locals. Take a look:

  • 3

    ...Ok, save it yourself... It doesn't take any money to sweep up glass and garbage.. True illegal dumping on lots was winked at for years due to political influence, or lack of COMMITTED MANPOWER. But somebody's kids DID IT..Right?..I doubt suburban white kids would sneek out at night to go to Detroit to litter. Maybe I'm wrong , but it's always been a 'message' to punks to stay away from clean alleys, neighborhood cleaned parks, etc.,. Like the late Honorable Mayor Coleman A. Young said: ..'...Because when you have pride, you show it..."... I'm not critical of a few old people vs. gangs and such, but a certain 'mindset' develops in some people just to accept it because life has enough big problems... That's the point...We all can't solve life's bigger problems; Hopefully some self pride just caring a little bit , can solve most of little ones.. Why blame some 'youngbloods' for cleaning up the crap?..How does that help anything? It might be embarrassing, but sometimes we become 'used to crap' that happens: OR happens to us! Why bemoan any race that wants to spend even a little money to improve a place....IS THIS THE NEW GANG-TAGGING?..Garbage, broken storm doors, junk EVERYWHERE... Yeah , those damned "Blue-Eyed Devils" just won't leave us alone.. It kind of reminds one of the racism SOME black citizens felt when THEY moved into ALL WHITE AREAS....When did Detroit HAVE TO BE BLACK, OR WHITE, or Hispanic, or POLISH, or...? VS. THEM?...REV. King would truly be appalled.

  • 4

    I could be wrong, but my guess would be that this forum has over time lost some of its Detroit (proper) contributors, long term Detroiters, especially African Americans. If this is so (again, a hypothesis), the reason is simple, there are some dominant views that have not learned to listen to voices that do not sound like their own. That would include ssalas100's voice. It would be naive to think that all perspectives are created equal even in a democratic society. What salas is saying is that long-term Detroiters have experienced the marginalization of their voices for decades. On the other hand, he/she seems to suggest as well that certain ideas and perspectives appear at the moment to be all the rage. On the surface, this trend (e.g. "urban pioneers") seems innocent enough and even hopeful unless your are awakened to the reality that the constant romanticization of some perspectives and some movements are given approval (and potentially funding) while others--especially critical ones--are maligned and pushed aside. One way in which this is done is to respond to any and every race critique or criticism that even touches upon race as an unresolved issue as "the new racism." Insidious. Reason: accusing those who acknowledge the relevance of race today, i.e. those who understand that past racism is not past, is only the latest form of domination--intellectual and otherwise. Lastly, King was a lot more radical than capitalist America has made him. We turn everything into product and cliche. King would not be appalled that people who continue to suffer domination insist on pointing this out.

    • 4.1

      Wait a minute! Who's doing the PRE-Judging here/..Again, Skim reading, and one's own perception of "others" has entered into a simple Welcoming of neighbors, turning it into that 'old Detroit Political Gold- Reverse Racism'...Atta Boy!...OH OH..Damn...Atta Girl! Give it a rest..!rst how could ANY SANE person, belly-ache over hope and, literraly, positive 'construction'?..Same old Same old!!..As for MY PERSONAL HERO...THE GREATEST AMERICAN, NOT BLACK, HERO in my lifetime...CHILL...As the good Rev. MIGHT SAY,' MY SICK White brothers, don't know any better '...He'd be appalled AND disgusted AT ANY PERSON, OF ANY RACE, Complaining about ANYONE who wants to be his, or our , Neighbors, and friends..... ...Detroit!..Never let positive news go unchallenged!!! You're Marginalizing yourself!Please be a little positive...I know that means WE ALL ARE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ACTIONS(i don't like it , either, all the times) IF WE RUN OUT OF ENERGY OR EXCUSES!

  • 5

    City leadership could do more in terms of promoting its various arts communities (graphic/fine arts, music, sculpture, dance, etc.), both in terms of uplifting the folks who are already here as well as inviting other folks from elsewhere to come and lay roots.

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