The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) is developing an economic development and civic engagement strategy with the help of a $1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The DC3 stewards the City of Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design designation, which will play an important role in the center’s multi-year initiative.
Using practices outlined by the UNESCO network, DC3 will work with the local community and creative industries to strengthen Detroit’s economy. The center believes that design is more than a simple luxury and that it plays a vital role in the socio-economic well-being in the city. DC3 engages designers from disciplines ranging from graphic design through architectures.
“The Detroit City of Design campaign will include activities to raise public awareness about the value of design and creative industries, promote an international exchange of designers and ideas, and increase opportunities for Detroit’s creative community,” said Olga Stella, executive director of DC3 in a press release. “By breaking down silos between communities, business sectors, and creative disciplines, we will build a broad and diverse coalition to champion the role of design and creativity in driving equitable and sustainable development in Detroit.”
DC3 will work extensively on a 10-year vision for the Detroit City of Design. The year-long planning process is supported by a $150,000 award from the Kresge Foundation. Another $100,000 award was presented by the William Davidson Foundation specifically to support the engagement of residents, creative practitioners, businesses, and local organizations. Along with the funding from the Knight Foundation, DC3 hopes to put Detroit’s design community in a unique position within the city and the country.
“This initiative is a huge opportunity for Detroit to distinguish itself from other design cities by focusing on removing barriers to opportunity in Detroit’s creative industries and creating a benefit for the entire community,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit. “We hope to advance a broad understanding of city design as a pathway for success, and demonstrate its impact on growing jobs and businesses, as well as creating the kinds of neighborhoods where people want to live.”
Along with setting the groundwork a more robust design community, Detroit will be showcased internationally later this spring. DC3 and its partners, Creative Many Michigan and Akoaki, will all be a part of the upcoming Saint-Étienne International Design Biennial in Saint-Etienne, France, where they will present work internationally for the first time since the Detroit was named a UNESCO City of Design. The Biennial’s theme, the future of work, will guide DC3’s exhibition entitled Footwork: The Choreography of Collaboration. Curated by the Public Design Trust, the exhibition will examine the role of networked economies in Detroit.