In 1997, Simone DeSousa left Brazil after getting a degree in architecture. “I knew in my heart that it was not my calling,” she says.
With the promise of a scholarship, she took an internship at an ergonomics-consulting startup in Ann Arbor. She also found her “true calling” in graphic design at the University of Michigan.
In 1998, together with four College for Creative Studies (CCS) students, DeSousa founded Salt-Mine Studio at the Russell Industrial Center, where she honed her craft as an artist for a decade before opening Re:View Contemporary Gallery in Midtown’s Willys Overland Lofts in 2008.
DeSousa now partners with CCS, providing mentorship and exposure to promising juniors and seniors through a pilot program, which culminates this month with a show displaying the work of 10 student finalists.
What’s the purpose of the program?
We’re trying to connect students to professional experiences. When you go to school, you’re nurtured. But what do you do when you get that degree and get out there?
How are finalists selected?
I submit them to what they’d go through if they were actually applying to do a show.
What kind of advice will you offer?
How to approach galleries. It’s such a basic thing, and it’s really not taught in schools.
Why do so many locally cultivated artists flee for New York or L.A.?
We have some amazing [art] schools in the region. But once people graduate, there are really not a lot of venues to have actual shows. What we’re missing in this city is an infrastructure of galleries that can allow the talent to stay here.
Re:View is … a commercial gallery in Detroit, and our focus is really on those artists that are on the cusp of being well-known.
What is the gallery doing to establish that infrastructure?
Re:View is splitting into two entities. Our plan is to bring the conceptual projects to more of a national platform. We’ll be representing 10 artists [down from 15]. The other five will be moving over to this side of the gallery, which will be called See Art Design. It’s like a small, almost museum-like complex where there’s a more conceptual space and then there’s a more down-to-earth spot. We want to be inclusive.
What do you hope to achieve?
That one day it will be really true that if you graduate from CCS or Cranbrook, you can stay in the city and have a fruitful, professional career.