You may see new art installations and clothing at some of your favorite downtown Detroit businesses.
This is due to an event called Shop and See, where entrepreneurs can partner with a local artist, who will create a temporary or permanent installation inside the storefront businesses.
The event is part of Detroit’s annual Design Month, which Design Core has hosted every September for the past thirteen years. Shop and See connects 10 businesses with designers, and business owners can choose a designer that fits the aesthetic of their storefront.
“Shop and See is a partnership with Bedrock to drive traffic to downtown businesses,” said Kiana Wenzel, Detroit Design Month director and co-CEO of Design Core. All installations are available to view during regular store hours.
Design Core provides the designer and a budget of $3,000, while Bedrock selects the storefronts and gives a budget of $1,000 to the business owner. Some companies now have facilities such as custom wallpaper design, a coloring wall, or a pop-up store selling clothing accessories.
“The Shop and See connects designers with business owners through long-term distribution channels and helps designers get training and really expand their network,” Wenzell said.
An art installation was created inside Vibe Ride Detroit, a group fitness studio that offers indoor classes, floor Pilates classes, HIIT classes, meditation sessions, and an infrared sauna. The roughly 2,500-square-foot studio has a Detroit-style mural and a yoga mat by Jean-Michel Basquiat, so business owner Latricia Wilder decided a new installation would be a great fit. Wilder was partnered with designer Rick Williams, co-owner of Distinct Life.
“We put our heads together, but a lot of it was led by Rick,” said Wilder, 42, of Detroit. “I was really pushing to get it because I like him and his family and his story. I thought it aligned with my thought process.
Williams, 42, of Southfield, designed a mural that features two speakers on the left and right sides of the wall, a camouflaged skyline-like design, and a phrase in the middle that says “Vibe True.”
Wilder told him the phrase meant being true to yourself. Williams said his company’s messages, such as living a privileged life and not conforming to most people, align with Wilder’s messages in her work.
“So, because of the synergy between that message and the message we portray, it made sense to highlight Vibe True,” Williams said.
When the fitness studio’s clients walked into their morning class, they were taking pictures of the new mural, and even caused the class to start late because they were discussing the new look.
The Shop and See will hold a daily event called Shop Downtown Detroit in Parkers Alley on September 23 from noon to 5 p.m. All participating Shop and See stores, along with a few additional businesses, will have activations such as guided walking tours, live music, luggage displays and food tastings.
Here are the companies and designers participating in Shop and See:
- James Johnson with Naga
- Natalie Pryor with The Lip Bar
- HM Bland with Rebel Neil
- Laura Jamie with Good Neighbor
- Tony and gin with milk and butter
- Taylor Childs with Ricochet Home
- Rick Williams with Vibe Ride Detroit
- Sheri Savage with a busty bra shop
- Joe Riley with Eastern Market After Dark
- Unzi Norman