Celebrating Detroit’s creative community, Art Mile kicks off its 2021 festival today. The nearly month-long digital event — which launched last year as a one-week event to support the area’s art scene during the pandemic — will run through July 11 and feature a lineup of public programs, online exhibits, and panel discussions.
More than 60 local arts organizations are participating in this year’s festival, which is organized by Detroit art gallery Reyes Finn and New York consultancy group Cultural Counsel in partnership with Red Bull Arts. First-time Art Mile participants include Cranbrook Art Museum, Library Street Collective, Pewabic Pottery, and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, while Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum, Lawrence Street Gallery, Playground Detroit, and David Klein Gallery are among the returning participants.
“…Art made in and around Detroit has a sustaining impact on all who encounter it and with Art Mile, we hope to offer more people the opportunity to engage,” says Bridget Finn, co-founder of Art Mile and partner at Reyes Finn, in a press release. We are so honored to welcome all of the participants that put in that work on a daily basis and continue to shape Detroit’s unique voice.”
This year’s exhibitions include Art Mile Editions, a showcase of local artist books, zines, screenprints, and other printed materials, and Breathe, a multidisciplinary show that explores the disjointed relationship between humans and nature. Breathe is organized by Art Mile Curatorial Fellow Juana Williams, a visual arts curator and writer who works as the director of exhibitions at Library Street Collective. Williams was named the festival’s curatorial fellow by a committee made up of Finn; Jessica Allie, Red Bull Arts Detroit’s curator of public programs; and Renaud Proch, executive and artistic director at nonprofit Independent Curators International (ICI).
ICI is Art Mile’s programming partner, and it’s presenting a series of panel events during the coming month, including a discussion between Williams and Detroit multidisciplinary artist Ellen Rutt. Taking place at 6 p.m. on June 16, the virtual event will cover the key themes presented in Breathe.
To complement ICI’s programming, Red Bull Arts Detroit will host a conversation between art historian Samantha Noel, artist Akeem Smith, and artist Damon Davis about the practice of collecting expressions of Black identity. Artist and MOCAD senior curator Jova Lynee will moderate the discussion. The gallery will also present Amanecer de Aquario, a screening of contemporary Puerto Rican video works by artist Christina Tufino, and Becoming Dion, a live-streamed performance by artist Darryl Deangelo Terrel that explores using self-care as a form of healing for femme-identifying fat, Black, queer folk.
All events and exhibitions can be accessed at no cost via the Art Mile website.
For more information, visit artmiledetroit.com.