Art for the People by the People – Commissioner Opens New Chapter in Detroit

(Photo: From left to right: MARS Marshall, Dejha Carrington and Darryl DeAngelo Terrell at the Commissioner Detroit Launch. Photo by Bre’ann White)

Inaugural Artist Editions feature Detroit-based Contemporary Artists Amna Asghar, Judy Bowman and Darryl DeAngelo Terrell

Commissioner—a membership program that helps locals collect the work of contemporary artists in their cities—announces a new chapter in Detroit. To launch this initiative, Detroit-based contemporary artists Amna Asghar, Judy Bowman and Darryl DeAngelo Terrell were commissioned to create a series of mystery works that debut today and are available both individually or as a collective set of three.

This initial offering, the first of its kind for Commissioner, is just one of many entries to collecting art and arts patronage that the organization is building in collaboration with partners on the ground and through its subscription-based model. Commissioner was launched in Miami in 2018 with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Detroit is the first city outside of Miami where this program will be shared, thanks to support from Knight and curated in partnership with Louis Buhl & Co.Commissioner Detroit’s inaugural artist editions are now available for pre-order at Twenty percent of the sale’s proceeds benefit We the People Detroit.


“We believe the future of arts patronage is collaborative and community-led, which for so many reasons, makes Detroit an ideal civic partner. The city has long impacted art, industry, and social progress. Detroit stands out as a model of individuals challenging structural norms to create more equitable systems through its strong creative culture and fierce dedication to autonomy and authenticity,” says Commissioner Co-Founder Dejha Carrington.


Commissioner Detroit will help forge a network with locals interested in the arts but in need of valuable access, knowledge and relationships to engage more deeply in supporting artists.

Through storytelling, commissioned artwork, and intimate connections, Commissioner hopes to expose new audiences to artists in their city and cultivate patrons who, after a full season, become persistent in their relationships with artists, purchase new work on their own, and consider how their investment in the creative sector impacts their lives personally and their communities.


Participating artist Judy Bowman says, “being selected to be one of the inaugural artists for Commissioner Detroit is quite an honor. To help emerging collectors learn how to be a collector advances the world of art. I create pieces that capture today’s climate of people standing up for their rights worldwide. I believe these pieces will be relevant to both new and seasoned collectors.”


Asghar, Bowman, and Terrell each created 15 limited-edition artworks to be sold and five artist proofs. Individual works will be available for purchase at for $500 or as a set of three for $1,000. In addition to the artist’s commission of $4,000, artists receive a $1,500 materials fee and curatorial support. Commissioner Detroit will donate twenty percent of sales to We The People of Detroit, an organization that educates and empowers Detroit residents on issues related to civil rights, land, water, education, and democracy. The Detroit edition of Commissioner will reflect Detroit’s long-standing commitment to artists, advocacy and social justice by distributing economic growth through the arts to contribute directly to community needs.


“Art is the lifeblood of communities. Artists create works that inspire, share important histories and connect people to place and each other. Arts patronage, in turn, allows art to thrive,” said Victoria Rogers, Knight Foundation’s Vice President of Arts. “In Miami, the collaborative approach of the Commissioner program has helped connect community members with the work of some of the best local artists — we can’t wait to see how Commissioner will connect Detroiters with their city’s rich arts heritage and empower its contemporary artists.”


Thus far, the organization has commissioned over $200,000 in new works by some of Miami’s most gifted contemporary artists. In addition, the organization has placed more than 500 works in the hands of primarily first-time collectors, hosted 35-plus events, and introduced more than 200 members to their local arts community in just four years. Commissioner hopes to share Miami’s success by fostering community unity and enjoying editioned artwork with another thriving creative city.



Amna Asghar’s work looks to the American experience through a multitude of cultural motifs: from her family’s Pakistani popular culture ephemera to Disney movies to Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Orientalist paintings to Hudson River School works, to currents of contemporary political thought. Asghar draws from her own life in the Detroit area where she grew up and now resides, making sophisticated works that mix imagery across cultures, creating conversations between communities.


Judy Bowman is a mixed-media collage and fine art print artist who was born in 1952 and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Her art practice centers on exalting America’s Black culture that moves beyond institutional racism and disparaged perspectives of the Black experience. Considering herself a visual griot, she pays tribute to personal memories from her coming of age in Detroit’s Eastside and Black Bottom neighborhoods.


Darryl DeAngelo Terrell is a BLK queer lens-based artist, and digital curator, currently based in Detroit.

Terrell’s work is centered around the philosophy of F.U.B.U. (for us by us), thinking about how their work can aid a larger conversation about Blackness and intersectionality. Their work explores the displacement of Black and Brown people, femme identity and strength; the Black family structure, sexuality, gender, and safe spaces. Terrell earned their MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Photography.

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