Tag Archives: College for creative studies

DETROIT: Delights for the Eyes and the Appetite

24 May

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You may have noticed the increasing number of posts we have been doing on art in Detroit, the reason is simple: Detroit is steadily taking over the spotlight as the hub of the current art scene in the Midwest. There is a new realization that the creative industries are important to today’s economic growth. The College For Creative Studies is a world leader in art and design education and plays an integral part in educating artists and designers in fields such as transportation design, film, animation, fine arts, consumer electronics, advertising and more. CCS was founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, today it encompasses two campuses and enrolls over 1400 students. The last couple of years we have made it a point to attend the student exhibition and sale held in the spring, it’s amazing! Held at the A Alfred Taubman Center For Design Education, the building itself makes the perfect backdrop for the art. Located on West Milwaukee the building was designed by (you know who….) Albert Kahn, constructed in 1928 and known as the Argonaut Building. Home to the former General Motors Research laboratory,  GM donated the 760,000 sq. ft.  structure to CCS. After $145 million dollars in renovation, Taubman being one of the main benefactors, the place was renamed and opened its doors to CCS and the Henry Ford Academy School For Creative Studies.

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May 12th was the first day of public viewing and sales, so we were sure to get there bright and early. The exhibition takes place on floors 8 through 11, we like to start at the top. The building itself is fantastic, such character from the beautiful exterior brick and stone to the large windows and spectacular views. I always think an old building somehow absorbs the life of the activity going on inside its walls throughout the years, giving it a personality of its own. The structure feels solid, and sturdy. The 11th floor hosted Crafts, Fine Arts, Rugs and Transportation design, the level of talent displayed is phenomenal. Kris took special interest in transportation design, the student model shop area was open to visitors. As we walked around looking at the student’s work from rendering to models, I wondered if one of them may become the next Harley Earl, or Virgil Exner. Will cars really look like this in the future? The 10th floor exhibits were illustration, photography and product design, I think this was my favorite floor.

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In my wildest dreams I could never even imagine being able to draw, paint or create as these talented people do. We saw so many pieces we would have purchased if someone hadn’t beaten us to it……Greeting cards, posters, canvas and skateboards all uniquely decorated with striking or amusing images. Each floor is large and takes a fair amount of time to browse. The 8th floor showcased advertising, entertainment arts, graphic and interior design. Small rooms were set up with televisions showing both animated and shorts. In the advertising area it was fun to see the interesting ideas students dreamed up for well-known items. As a whole we generally walked around feeling absorbed and entertained by our surroundings; certain things really grabbed our attention such as the images projected on blank walls changing shape and color. The art feels fresh and exciting like looking at the world through a 20-somethings eyes.

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We walked through each floor twice, by then it was lunchtime. For years we have eaten at Seva which opened in Ann Arbor back in 1973. Much to our delight they recently opened a second location right here in Detroit. Tucked away on E Forest between Woodward and John R next to the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, they offer both indoor and patio dining. The menu selections are completely vegetarian, don’t let that scare you, the food is fantastic, vegetarian or not! The indoor space is light filled, exposed brick walls remind you that the building was a historic garage, art work decorates the walls. The restaurant offers a full bar, fresh juice bar and coffee bar, not to mention some of the best food in the city. When we eat at Seva we have to have the Enchiladas Calabaza, try it and you’ll understand why….The delectable enchiladas  are filled with a creamy concoction of butternut squash, cream cheese, green onions and chiles, topped off with a spicy tomato sauce, a winner every time. We paired the enchiladas with the spinach salad: baby spinach, avocado, char-grilled tempeh, cukes, red peppers and onions tomatoes and croutons served with an awesome smoky maple dressing, so good! We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and a cherry-lime Ricky cocktail, yum. Those of us in the Detroit area are lucky to have access to such high quality art and truly wonderful restaurants.

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Eastern Market Flower Day , Sala Thai & CCS

19 May

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 Eastern Market Flower Day, the words can’t describe the spectacle that awaits. One who’d never been could not expect the the enormity, energy & beauty of this event. Mother nature provides the acres of eye candy, the shoppers,vendors & musicians  provide the festival like vibe, a perfect combo for a great time . 

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After waking to the sound of rain hitting our bedroom window, we naively assumed we’d find easy parking and light crowds……wrong! It takes more than bad weather to deter flower day attendance. We parked a couple of blocks away, as soon as we hit the shelter of the outdoor sheds the umbrella went down and the shopping began. The mass of men, women, and children walked down the center aisles, the right and left sides a rainbow sea of color, Lilacs and Stargazer lilies perfumed the damp air. Annuals in flats and pots, trees, shrubs and vegetable plants as far as you could see. Vendors bundled up against the elements, drinking something warm and calling out prices. The sound of plastic sliding across the concrete as flats of Impatients and Petunias were loaded up. Smiles on the faces we passed, mini conferences between partners deciding between this or that, wagons piled three or four shelves high, not even pouring rain and 40 degress could dampen the spirit on Russell Street.

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We walked the market twice, which was no easy task, and then it was time to warm up and get some food. We had parked on the side of Sala Thai, which is also located on Russell Street, the restaurant occupies an old fire station, and is enchanting inside. This is the very first place we ever had sushi or Thai food, we lucked out because both are delicious here. We have returned many times since and continually enjoy it. They make the best Fresh Rolls I have ever eaten, so we had to order them, Kris is nuts about the sauce they come with. We had the California Roll, a standard, and the N4, sorry, that’s what we know it by. Tender egg noodles, we order ours with tofu, in a spicy brown sauce covered with bean sprouts and crushed peanuts, delectable. I was satisfied with a pot of jasmine green tea, Kris went for the plum wine, each warming us up just right.

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The College For Creative Studies was holding their annual student exhibition and sale at the Argonaut Building, so we thought we’d have a look. Floors 8-11 display the work of graduating seniors in each of the College’s ten studio departments.  This is not your average art fair, CCS is one of the top design schools in the country, whether it’s ceramics, fashion, or painting, everything here has an urban feel to it.The work is exceptional, cutting edge, the prices, moderate. We found many things we would have liked to purchase, but they already had little red “sold” stickers on them. It’s worth a visit just to have a look at the caliber of work that comes out of CCS, and the view from the building isn’t half bad either!  The sale continues through May 27.

Check it out !

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