Detroit Dream Day with Arts Writer and Curator Taylor Aldridge

The itinerary includes Belle Isle, Ima, and Room Project
Taylor Aldridge
Photograph of Taylor Aldridge by Rog & Bee Walker of Paper Monday

Why is art criticism so white? The  question troubled 30-year-old Taylor Aldridge for years — until she took matters into her own hands. In 2015, the West Village resident co-founded the online journal Arts.Black to amplify writers of color who wanted to share their thoughtful musings and critiques on art with the world. “There haven’t been many opportunities for critics of color to break into the field,” Aldridge says. “[Arts.Black] is an opportunity to mine a collective of creative thinkers from around the world, from within the black diaspora, and beyond Detroit.”

Besides writing about art, Aldridge is also a prolific curator, working with venerable museums, including the Detroit Institute of Arts. “It’s always a hustle,” she admits about juggling various projects throughout the year. Naturally, if Aldridge had a free day to do whatever she wanted in Detroit, it would revolve around her passion for art and the creative spaces that champion it.

Belle Isle
Belle Isle photograph courtesy of IStock

My ideal day would be waking up, making a big breakfast, and then getting on my bike and going to Belle Isle. I would do a few trips around the island to get my heart rate up and sweat it out, and then make a stop at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory to sit with some plants and be around some greenery. Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, 4 Inselruhe Ave., Detroit; 313-821-5428;

Then I would hop back on my bike to trek home and have lunch at Ima. Ima has really great Vietnamese food, great dumplings, and it’s a great place for an introvert who just wants to eat alone and bury themselves in a book. I would go there and maybe get some udon noodles and some shrimp dumplings. Ima, 2015 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-502-5959;

I would then go to Source Booksellers. They mostly carry non-fiction, and it’s owned by a woman named Janet Jones. She founded this bookstore several years ago and used to be a Detroit Public Schools principal. She’s an incredible bibliophile. She’s constantly reading and constantly has good suggestions for me, and she knows the type of books that I’m into. Source Booksellers, 4240 Cass Ave., Ste. 105, Detroit; 313-832-1155;

Room Project
Photograph of Room Project by Christin Lee

I really love hanging out at the Room Project. It’s a women-led, gender queer space for writers. It was founded by Christin Lee, who is a recent MFA at the University of Michigan. It’s such a comfortable space with a lot of plants, a lot of natural light, comfortable seating, and it’s always super quiet. In the evening, they sometimes host readings and workshops for writers to strengthen their practice. Room Project, 6513 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-262-6338;

Then I would go home, make some dinner, and maybe go to Craft Work. It’s right around the corner from me. It’s an incredible cocktail restaurant that also has incredible scallops, which are my favorite. Depending on my schedule, I usually, at the end of the day, come back home and then walk over and get some dinner, and maybe have a Manhattan to end the day off. Craft Work, 8047 Agnes St., Detroit; 313-469-0976;

And again, depending on the day, like a Thursday or Friday, feeling like I want to dance, I’ll go to Motor City Wine or Marble Bar. They usually have a good DJ. Motor City usually has live music or a house DJ for R&B, jazz, or house. Marble Bar is primarily just house and soul, and maybe some disco. Motor City Wine, 1949 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-483-7283;; and Marble Bar, 1501 Holden St., Detroit; 313-338-3674