Detroit’s historic Livernois Avenue of Fashion gets a makeover with REVOLVE Detroit’s ‘Art + Retail on the Ave’ winners


The Thrifty Broads of THRIFT on the Ave., TaNisha D. Prater (left) Tisha Prater.

More than 20 artists from as close as the local neighborhood to as far away as England have been selected to participate in REVOLVE Detroit’s “Art + Retail on the Ave” program to revitalize Detroit’s historic Livernois Avenue of Fashion into a premier shopping and cultural destination. The artists will work alongside twelve Detroit–area retailers who were selected to open new permanent and pop-up businesses on Livernois Avenue.

The new art installations and businesses will debut Friday, September 20, when Livernois Avenue hosts the Detroit Design Festival.

REVOLVE Detroit issued a call for entries for artists and retailers in June and received nearly 100 proposals. Winners were selected based on interviews, feedback from the community, and expert reviews from a panel of 28 Detroit leaders in art, business, local universities and community organizations.

“We received a huge response from artists, and proposals came in from countries like France, Austria and Romania, as well as cities here in the United States, including New Orleans, Baltimore, New York and more,” said Michael Forsyth, REVOLVE program manager at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

“We received many strong proposals from both pop-up and permanent businesses based in Detroit. Some of the strongest proposals were from residents right here in the community. All of the entries were excellent, making the selection a difficult but exhilarating process.”

The temporary and permanent art installations will include a variety of media, such as painted murals, projections of “living” paintings in ink and oil, metalsmithing, and photography.

Michael Owen, a contemporary painter from Baltimore, Md., will be painting a mural on the wall of Jo’s Gallery on Livernois that honors the legacies of African American musicians from Detroit.

“I’m honored that my proposal and the quality of my work led the committee to believe I’m the right candidate for this project. My plan is to talk with the galley owner and others in the community to hear who they feel should be on the mural,” Owen said.

Native Detroiter Mandisa Smith and her business partner Najma Wilson will open Detroit Fiber Works, a cooperative of artists who work in a variety of fiber techniques and offer classes as well as sell their work, with a focus on community service.

“I grew up in the neighborhood. My parents both shopped on Livernois, and one of my favorite pastimes was walking up and down the street, looking in the windows. Najma and I remember how wonderful Livernois used to be, and we really want to be a part of the transformation. We know it’s going to be great,” Smith said.

The permanent and pop-up businesses will include streetwear, women’s fashions, books and gifts, specialty bakery, coffee shop and more.

Katrina Studvent, who with her husband Donald owns 1917 American Bistro on Livernois, will be opening Social Ice Cream Bar.

“It will be a social gathering place for a play date, a first date or a meet-up. Our goal is to engage the community to get out of their house and meet for a cone and conversation. The families in the neighborhood work so hard, and we want to offer a space they can walk to and enjoy being with their friends and family,” Studvent said.

Art + Retail on the Ave Winners:

Permanent Retail:

• Regal Cafe – Detroit, MI

A coffee shop that provides a connective space for students and neighbors and a venue for arts and culture

• Local Social Ice Cream + Good Cakes and Bakes – Detroit

Two complimentary businesses building a neighborhood gathering space for ice cream, treats, snacks, drinks and social events on the Ave.

• Renaissance – Detroit

A high-end streetwear shop representing designer sneakers, hip-hop fashion, Japanese streetwear, and modern haute couture

• Art in Motion – Detroit

A ceramic studio where the community can participate in workshops, attend classes, gain technical skills, enjoy private lessons and work in an open studio setting

Pop-up Retail:

• Thrift on the Ave. – Detroit

Name-brand, mid and high-­end women’s fashions that accommodate all body styles and shapes on any budget, curated by social media darlings, the Thrifty Broads

• Fresh Food Co-op – Detroit

A community of food entrepreneurs committed to making the possibility of good food in Detroit a sustainable reality. Participants include Batata Shop, Beautiful Soup, Fresh Corner Cafe, and Treats by Angelique

• H2BT – Detroit

An online radio station and boutique clothing retailer for emerging musicians

• Pages on Livernois – Detroit

A collection of books and gifts curated specifically for the neighborhood

• Fill-Anthropy – New York, NY

A temporary, non-profit bar whose profits go back into projects that benefit the community

• Detroit Fiber Works Creative Center – Detroit

A space where community members can see fiber artists at work, purchase fiber art by local Detroit textile artists, and attend classes and/or workshops in various fiber craft techniques

• Love Travels Imports – Detroit

Fair trade, handmade goods in a variety of colors and themes, sustainably created by artisans from around the world

• True Indulgence – Detroit

A specialty bakery featuring bite-sized desserts and decorated cakes

Art Projects:

• Michael Owen – Baltimore, MD

Murals that honor the legacies of African American musicians from Detroit

• Vaughn Taormina – Detroit

A mural that captures the spirit of the Detroit landscape and engages viewers in a dialogue about the city as a muse

• Walter A. Bailey, The Millenium Project- Detroit, MI

Innovations in acrylic arts

• Pam Tietze – New York, NY

Outdoor installation of viewfinders that use ‘h0les’ crystal prisms for a transformative, sensory experience.

• Thomas Humery – Paris, France

A photographic series that captures members of the community through an international lens

• Harrison Richards Bartlett III 1/2, Delaney Martin, Taylor Lee Shepherd, Margot Couture, Arielle De Pinto, Artem Voevodin, and the Treasure Nest present Dacha – Detroit

An art installation and performance space constructed using locally-sourced, recycled and found materials

• Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic – London and New York

Black As Ink: projections of “living” paintings in ink and oil that explore the visual dynamism of the substance which fueled Detroit’s history

• Carrie Walker, Ghost Jungle – Detroit

An art installation composed of layers of light and paper that will take the form of plants, vines, and small trees, to form a dense and colorless jungle of surfaces on which light can play

• Jessica Janda and Joshua Smith – Detroit

Graphic design and identity development for businesses selected to participate in the Avenue of Fashion program

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