One of my new favorite spots in Downtown Detroit is The Belt. I’ve mentioned The Belt before in my previous post about my date night with Travis (hubby). The Belt is this cool, hip alleyway situated right next to the Z Parking Garage. The Z Lot is another cool city attraction, as it’s filled with beautiful murals on each level of the parking garage, but I’ll save that for another blog post. 🙂
The Belt — Popular City Attraction in Detroit
What’s really unique about The Belt is it features eclectic art pieces, such as wall murals and canvas paintings. Sometimes restaurants open their backdoors and create a patio for guests to sit down and enjoy food and drinks in the alley. Not to mention, it is also a popular photography attraction where many photographers bring clients for photo shoots.
I feel silly writing this, but I didn’t know the Library Street Collective (LSC) transformed The Belt into a public exhibition art space. You guys, know I’m still kind of new here so I’m just going to use that as my excuse. 🙂
“Library Street Collective has transformed a formerly disused alleyway near the gallery into a public exhibition space called ‘The Belt’ and welcomes one artist per year to display a series of panels as part of their Public Matter program.” –Library Street Collective
Discovering The Belt for the First Time
I remember when I first discovered The Belt. It was on a cold, winter’s day January or February 2017. I was out in Detroit with my older son Elijah (17), and we were on a photo walk exploring Downtown Detroit. I had never been on the People Mover before so I thought it would be a great way to ride around the city and explore.
As we were riding the People Mover, I was looking out of the window taking in all of the city scenery. All of a sudden, I caught a glimpse of an alleyway with art murals up on the walls. It happened so fast, though, that I didn’t have time to notate the location. A few weeks later, I found out the alleyway was called The Belt, and it wasn’t until this past Spring I was finally able to visit it.
And even then I still didn’t know it was a public street art gallery! All of those times I walked by the LSC, I didn’t make the connection between the two.
See, this is why I highly recommend you take the time to explore your city/town. I promise you there is so much to discover and learn about your city. When you start making connections, well, all of a sudden you’ll have a new-found love for your city.
Library Street Collective Presents FAILE: Size of the Fight
All of this leads me to the art exhibit Travis and I attended over the weekend. The Library Street Collective hosted the first Detroit art exhibition for FAILE, Brooklyn-based artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. LSC really knows how to have a party because the art show was not at all what I expected it to be! It was a very awesome experience and I was really impressed.
Not only did LSC present FAILE’s art show in their art gallery and at The Belt, but they also held an after-party in The Belt! Musical guests such as Detroit’s own Flint Eastwood and Clear Soul Forces, performed.
Travis and I only stayed for the art show, though. As much as I would have loved to stay for the music shows, being in a large crowd with loud music while 34 weeks pregnant is no fun. As we were leaving the art show, a line was forming at the entrance of The Belt. People were definitely excited to attend the party!
FAILE– Progenitors of Street Art Culture
As I already mentioned, FAILE is comprised of two Brooklyn-based artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. The artists are “progenitors of the street art culture”. They incorporate “imagery, bold hues, layered source material, and enigmatic text into their work.”
When I viewed some of FAILE’s art pieces, I noticed some of the art reminded me of a quilt. You know how a quilt has patches of different colored fabric sewn together to make one whole piece?
Well, some of FAILE’s art was created in this way, too. There were different colored woodblocks, some with writing and some with images, and together as whole it made one complete art piece. I found it to be very interesting. I was happy to learn I was correct in thinking the art intentionally looked like a quilt. When I read the news release for the art show, I learned FAILE paints separate woodblocks and patches the blocks together to create a texture, quilt-like work of art. Their work is “imbued with a sense of nostalgia.”
“We are interested in exploring American Folk Art through the lens of urban life.” –Patirck Miller, FAILE artist
FAILE’s artwork is brilliant and even thought-provoking. As I was drawn to the art, I felt led to take my time in examining the images and deciphering the phrases on the art pieces.
FAILE: Size of the Fight
The FAILE: Size of the Fight exhibition will be on display at the Library Street Collective until August 12, 2017. The show’s title, The Size of the Fight, references a Mark Twain quote, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” FAILE relates Twain’s quote to Detroit’s “impressive comeback over the past few years. FAILE is inspired by the resilience, passion, and energy they see the Detroit community bringing to the city’s infrastructure and art scene.”
I am a big fan of street art. I think that is why I am so drawn to Detroit because of the street art culture in the city. Attending FAILE’s art exhibit was a real treat for me! I definitely recommend you go out and see FAILE’s amazing art. Location details and other information is down below.
More Photographs from the Art Exhibition FAILE: Size of the Fight
FAILE: Size of the Fight
Now open at the Library Street Collective June 24 – August 12, 2017. For more information, visit the LSC’s official website here.
**All of the photographs featured in this post were taken by Good Life Detroit.