Detroit has launched a new initiative called Undefeated. During a time when the pandemic has made it difficult for many local artists to perform and exhibit their work, the program aims to give creatives a platform by highlighting arts and culture in the city with monthly digital showcases.
“Our goal is to prove that Detroit is still the Paris of the Midwest,” says Rochelle Riley, director of Arts and Culture for the city, in a press release. “We have an overabundance of talent here, and we want the city, the region, the state, and the world to see it, to see all of it. As we work our way forward from the pandemic, we want to bring our entire creative community with us.”
As part of the Undefeated program — made possible, in part, by $176,000 in funding from the Kresge Foundation — the Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship is accepting submissions of video performances and work samples. The department will pull from these submissions to organize creative showcases each month that will be featured on Channel 22, and the city’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
To kick off the initiative, the city is hosting a lineup of virtual Black History Month events. Programming, which began yesterday with an interview led by Riley on Black authors and a conversation between Mayor Mike Duggan and New York Times best-selling author Alice Randall, runs through Feb 7.
Other scheduled events include a look at the history of Black theater in the city with John Sloan III, CEO and founding artistic director of Ghostlight Productions, and Yolanda Jack, public programs coordinator at The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; an interview with fashion designer Tracy Reese and Détroit is The New Black owner Roslyn Karamoko; a hip-hop, techno, and rock concert featuring Curtis Roach and other artists; and a comedy showcase with local comedians Crystal P and Horace H.B. Sanders.