Symphony in D

I’ve served on the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Trustees for approximately one-and-a-half years. In that time I’ve become much more acquainted with the work of the DSO and I’m quite impressed with the vision for becoming an innovative, 21st century symphony. Currently, there are many exciting new projects in the works. Perhaps the one I am most excited about is Symphony in D, which is a new collaboration with Tod Machover from the MIT Media Lab. The goal of this project is to create a collaborative symphony “by, for and with the people of Detroit.” The final composition, which will debut later this year, will feature notes and sounds that reflect the identity of the city.

What’s great about this project is that it is a collaboration with the people of Detroit. Anyone can contribute a sound they feel reflects the pulse of the city by uploading it at or through the the Symphony in D app. What’s more, you can listen to the sounds uploaded by other contributors. Ultimately, Tod will synthesize the sounds into a symphony for the orchestra to perform.

This is not Tod’s first time developing such a project. In fact, he has created similar collaborative symphonies in Toronto, Edinburgh, Perth, and Lucerne. However, this is the first such collaborative project in the U.S. Speaking to this, I am really stoked it’s happening here in Detroit!

I had the pleasure of having meeting Tod last weekend during a dinner in Detroit. Tod is incredibly creative, affable, and curious, which bodes well for working with Detroit’s diverse population. I’m very much looking forward to watching this collaboration unfold. For now, my goal is to help liaise Tod with as many different communities that reflect the diversity of our region.

A picture of Tod and DSO representatives
Tod and DSO representatives

To learn more about the project, check out the following short video.

Also,to learn more about Tod, check out his TED Talk.

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Art X Detroit

The third biennial Art X Detroit returns on April 9. For the uninitiated:

Art X Detroit: Kresge Arts Experience (AXD) is a 10-day festival of dance, literary, musical & theatrical performances, film screenings, visual arts installations, workshops, panel discussions & interactive experiences. AXD presents works created by the 2013-2014 Kresge Eminent Artists and Artist Fellows. AXD will be hosted at multiple venues throughout Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center over a three-week period in April & is FREE to the public.

AXD is presented by The Kresge Foundation and produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc. AXD partners include: Kresge Arts in Detroit, College for Creative Studies, Creative Many, and MOCAD.

Dates: April 9-12, 16-19, and 25-26.

The Arab American National Museum is proud to sponsor two events as part of AXD. We’ll be supporting the sessions Rola Nashef, The Director’s Cut on April 16 at the Detroit Film Theatre, and Poetry and Music from Iraq (featuring Dunya Mikhail) on April 25 at MOCAD. Both Rola and Dunya are amazing artists. Further, they are both involved with several Arab American National Museum programs, including DIWAN6: A Forum for the Arts, which will take place on May 8-9, 2015.

Flyer for Rola Nashef, The Director's Cut- AXD
Rola Nashef, The Director’s Cut- AXD
Flyer for Poetry and Music - AXD
Poetry and Music – AXD
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2015 Knight Arts Challenge Q/A Sessions

The Knight Arts Challenge has done an amazing job of investing in arts initiatives throughout the metropolitan Detroit region. Starting Monday, March 16, interested parties can apply for a share of $3 million as part of the 2015 Challenge, which funds ideas for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts.

The deadline for the challenge, a project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is April 13. Thus far in Detroit, the Knight Arts Challenge has awarded 114 winners about $5 million.

The Knight Foundation will host a launch party and a series of community Q&A sessions throughout Detroit to answer applicants’ questions. The Arab American National Museum is pleased to host an information session on Monday, March 23 at 6 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Flyer for the 2015 Knight Arts Challenge
2015 Knight Arts Challenge
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2015 Kresge Eminent Artist Award Winner…Ruth Adler Schnee!

As a member of the Kresge Arts in Detroit Advisory Council, one of our responsibilities is to select the Kresge Eminent Artist Award recipient. Choosing one artist to bestow the title of Eminent Artist is no easy task given the amazing talent in our region. However, the 2015 winner – Ruth Adler Schnee – is a most deserving awardee. An immigrant. A pioneer. An innovator. A celebrated designer.

From the Kresge Foundation’s press release:

Schnee joins six other artists who, since 2008, have received the Kresge Eminent Artist award recognition of professional achievements, contributions to metropolitan Detroit’s cultural community and dedication to Detroit and its residents. The award includes a $50,000 prize.

Schnee’s work elevated Michigan’s stature in modern design and architecture. She worked on the General Motors Technical Center in Warren (with architect Eero Saarinen in 1950-55), the World Trade Center (with Minoru Yamasaki in 1970-77) and the update of Albert Kahn’s Ford Rotunda in Dearborn, which she worked on in 1952-53. The Adler-Schnee store in Detroit – a partnership with her late husband, Edward Schnee – opened in 1948 as one of the first shops in the nation to sell modern home fabrics and furnishings to the public. She still designs custom fabrics for KnollTextiles, where she holds a 20-year contract, and Anzea Textiles, an upholstery company.

At 91, she continues to work most of the year from her studio in Southfield, a suburb of Detroit.

Congratulations Ruth Adler Schnee! Head over to the KAD blog to learn more about Schnee.

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2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships Application Cycle is Open

It’s that time of the year! Calling all Detroit-based writers and visual artists, the application period for the 2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships opens on December 1, 2014. In the spirit of transparency, I serve on the Advisory Council for this program. However, I am not a judge for this particular award. Details:

Emerging and established metropolitan Detroit Literary and Visual artists are invited to apply for a $25,000 Kresge Artist Fellowship. Fellowships are funded by The Kresge Foundation and administered by the Kresge Arts in Detroit office at the College for Creative Studies, with professional practice opportunities for the selected fellows provided by Creative Many Michigan.

  • Thursday, October 30, 2014: Application Guide and Resources Available
  • Monday, December 1, 2014: Online Application Opens
  • Thursday, January 22, 2015 by 11:59 p.m. EST: Application Deadline

In 2015, the program will provide support for nine Literary Arts Fellows and nine Visual Arts Fellows living and working in metropolitan Detroit (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties). Kresge Artist Fellowships are given to artists whose commitment to artistic achievement, in contemporary or traditional forms, is evident in the quality of their work.

Flyer for the 2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships
2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships
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