MFA alum Steve Coy has been awarded a Coleman Fellowship and Knight Foundation Grant to fund “Minipreneurs” in Detroit.
Students from Lawrence Technological University are paired with a group of youth from Detroit to explore principles of entrepreneurship in art and design disciplines. This will emphasize group-based interdisciplinary collaboration and model projects after real-world business scenarios. Projects are based around an entrepreneurial opportunity rooted in the many community needs of Detroit. Students are expected to promote and market their project and find the appropriate venue to deliver their product to market. Projects will be funded based upon business proposals.
The program operates out of PonyRide, a community creative business incubator space purchased by Detroit entrepreneur Phillip Cooley. The program space has been named, by the particpants, Nelo (short for Neon Lounge): Bright Ideas! Our mission statement reads: A creative collective empowering community through micro-entrepreneurship in the discipline of art and design. Through this creative collective, formed by the students and Detroit youth, new businesses will emerge.
Detropia is a cinematic tapestry that chronicles the lives of several Detroiters trying to survive the D and make sense of what is happening to their city. An owner of a blues bar, a young blogger, an auto union rep, a group of young artists, an opera impresario and a gang of illegal “scrappers” make up an unlikely chorus that illuminates the tale of both city and a country in a soul searching mood, desperate for a new identity.
Detroit’s story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos.
With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. As houses are demolished by the thousands, automobile-company wages plummet, institutions crumble, and tourists gawk at the “charming decay,” the film’s vibrant, gutsy characters glow and erupt like flames from the ashes. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future.