Artists Take On Detroit - Projects for The Tricentennial
Gotfeldt and Ward

Riches of Detroit: Faces of Detroit

Across the street from Catherine Ferguson Academy, a high school for teen mothers on the city’s southwest side, Grotfeldt and Ward have worked with Detroiters from a wide variety of backgrounds to transform part of a city block. Through the physical reclamation of the unused buildings and vacant lots, the artists and their collaborators both alter the urban landscape and enhance the lives of the people living nearby. Achieved with partner organizations Detroit Summer and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture, their creative project includes two rehabilitated houses that are residences for the students and their children, a community center, and an art park.

In their installation at the DIA, Grotfeldt and Ward document their experiences, the people who worked to realize the project, and visions for a rejuvenated community. Two videos and a slide show introduce the community and their endeavor, conveying affinities that developed among the volunteers. Architectural renderings, material samples, models, and prototypes demonstrate the work done by architecture students, whose designs complement the neighborhood buildings. Gallery seating made of hay bales and concrete replicates the conversation area in the art park. Another focus of the park is a maze that surrounds a griot tree, where Mary Washington, who lives on the block, tells stories in the West African tradition. Washington will also perform at the museum in conjunction with this exhibition.

> Downloadable QuickTime Version of Installation Video (27.1mb)

Project Image

Deborah Grotfeldt
and Tricia Ward
Riches of Detroit: Faces of Detroit

Installation, 2001

> Installation Slideshow (Flash Required)

> Excerpt from Installation Video
(Flash Required)

> Artists' Statement

> Artist’s Biography/Deborah Grotfeldt

> Artist’s Biography/Tricia Ward