If you’re ever felt uncomfortable at an art opening, you’re not alone. The lights make people look terrible, the objects look expensive, and lend a museum feel that makes everything untouchable—and unbuyable. Unless you’re a collector, you may not think of shopping at an art gallery as easily as you would a boutique or museum gift store.
With a focus on emerging Detroit artists, Playground Detroit shows art that’s accessible to collectors and recreational art fans alike. Why buy art? Simple answer: so artists can continue to make work and galleries can keep throwing parties with free libations.
The most direct way to support artist is by purchasing their work.
Other ways include engaging artists during studio visits and attending artists talks because everyone loves a cheerleader and no one wants to speak to an empty room! Which makes Playground’s recently launched membership program convenient. Perks include access to private preview nights, studio visits, and workshops. Bonus: the first 100 people who join get a limited edition tote. You can now retire that New Yorker bag everyone is wearing.
Yes, yes—the holidays, but we’re not going to treat you like people who let a calendar dictate their shopping habits. We caught up with Playground Detroit founders, Paulina Petkoski and Samantha Bankle Schefman, to learn about some of their favorite artists and gift ideas, for year round giving.
In line with their mission to build community around art, Playground’s membership allows you to connect with fellow artists and art enthusiasts alike through exclusive bonding experiences like show previews and studio visits. The cost? Fifty dollars for the year. That’s like 14 cents a day. The first 100 people to join get a limited tote.
Patrick Ethan: Binary Star
Patrick Ethan’s light installations are typically grand affairs that take months to create. VLVA, a sort of interactive moodboard, lives at the top of the Detroit Foundation Hotel, and is a favorite in the city to visit. Those looking to bring home his work without a hotel’s budget, can now do so. Binary Star is one of a few smaller scale pieces he created for Playground Detroit. Works start at $300.
Ellen Rutt: Untitled
If you’ve spent any amount of time in Detroit, you’re familiar with Ellen Rutt’s playful geometric paintings. Despite being the most wanted painter to “Detroit” a new downtown retail operation—Lululemon, Madewell—we can’t get enough of her work. With a collection of small paintings starting at $350 each, we can now own a piece of it.
Have you been to a coffee shop in Detroit? Have you left your house and looked at the side of a building? You’ve seen Ouizi’s work. Whimsy flowers that grow like whimsy flowers all over the city. And now you. Because she made a limited edition set of pins. At $15 each, you can treat yourself to a whole bouquet of them.
Cristin Richard: Postcards
Cristin Richard’s sculpterable, wearable (sort of) art and performances have been a defining part of Detroit’s art scene for years. Photographed in some of the city’s most stunning, historical buildings, the recording of these works comprises a body of photography that is equally impressive. For those who aren’t ready to invest in a full size print or simple want to share her work with the world, this collection of eight postcards for $30 is the perfect choice.
Danny Sobor: Cold Summer
Prints are a gateway drug. Buy enough of them and eventually you’ll have your eye on paintings. That’s not a fact, but it is the case for Danny Sobor, who got his start in illustration and moved on to painting this year with a solo show at Playground. Out for the holidays, Cold Summer won’t keep you warm., but it will satisfy your craving for art—on the cheap. Price: $50.
Zach Thompson: Misreading My Madness
A self described “bedroom artist,” Zach Thompson’s Basquiat-esque paintings bring to mind a teenager who has spent many long hours alone in his bedroom. His drawings, united under the title Misreading My Madness, conjure the same nervous energy—in the best way possible. Hardcover. Fifty dollars.