Introducing Art Mile: a citywide digital art exhibition that champions Detroit’s vibrant and diverse arts community by promoting public programs and online acquisitions. In celebration of its launch, Art Mile will host a week of public programs from July 29–August 5, featuring digital installations, artwork sales, virtual museum tours, and live events such as panel discussions, artist studio visits, film screenings, and musical performances, with the potential for future activations.
Organized by Reyes | Finn and Cultural Counsel in partnership with Red Bull Arts, the project will present artwork and programs alongside over 55 of Detroit’s local art institutions. Bridget Finn, co-owner of Reyes | Finn showcased her vulnerability and want to support the city of Detroit through these unprecedented times.
“Since I moved back to Detroit, it has become increasingly clear to me that it is challenging to have a small business. In addition in trying to participate in Detroit’s art world, there are so many people doing so many amazing projects and Detroit is spread out so you are sort of navigating and trying to figure out how to participate in all of it.” says Bridget Finn, Founding Partner of Reyes | Finn “For me, that has been one of the most challenging things in my re-entry to Detroit, I think about that a lot, especially with COVID-19. Everyone is super secluded and knowing that people are working on projects that no one can see in person, you are feeling your way through that. We had to postpone all of the shows we had coming up. There was just no way to host anything in person safety, and for us just not worth the risk.”
Finn, who is on the board of Independent Curators International, struck the idea of Art Mile after countless meetings when the economy started to slow due to COVID-19. Later brainstorming ways for small businesses, and artists to find success during these unprecedented times in Detroit, with Founding Partner Terese Reyes and Adam Abdalla of Cultural Counsel. The group of entrepreneurs wanted to find a way for businesses and non-profits to stay open because there is an urgent need for more help and assistance from everyone right now.
“Half of the joy of doing what we do is being able to present artwork and its context, how it lives in a space. It is all of these things that are historically important. So we discussed the different models of online art fairs that have been popping up and essentially we realized we could find someone to build the technology for this site and provide an online, digital art fair experience, where it would these different portals into an array of different galleries around Detroit. That’s where Art Mile started.” says Finn.
Art Mile aims to provide Detroit’s galleries, institutional non-profits, museums, and artist-run spaces with a forum to sustain and amplify engagement with creative communities at a local level and beyond. Through Red Bull Arts’ partnership, participating organizations are given free access to Art Mile’s exhibition platform and point of sales system—without any transactional fees or service charges—and are invited to participate in various public programs, collaborations, and artist editions.
To safeguard Art Mile’s mission, and ensure its equitable management and execution, Art Mile enlisted an Advisory Board of local community leaders, artists, curators, and patrons of the arts, “We pulled together the advisory board, because, it is a daunting task to think about inviting art spaces from across Detroit without the possibility of leaving someone out.” says Finn “We figured it would be great to get as many heads together on that aspect as we could and really have a broad reach and be as inclusive as possible.“ The advisory board is comprised of Dr. Charles Boyd; Kresge Arts in Detroit Director Christina deRoos; artist and curator Jova Lynne; and Kresge Arts in Detroit Founding Director Michelle Perron.
Programming highlights include a live-streamed opening night celebration featuring a DJ set by Detroit techno legend Omar-S; special exhibitions such as ArtWork, a presentation of works of art made by Detroit’s art workers, co-curated by Jova Lynne and Tizziana Baldenebro; and a series of‘ empty museum tours presented by Red Bull Arts, featuring alternative cultural spaces such as the outdoor art environment Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum. Art Mile will also launch a fundraising campaign for three local non-profit organizations dedicated to providing Detroit youth with access to visual, performing and literary arts education: 482Forward, Inside Out Detroit and Living Arts.