DETROIT – The recently completed Obama Building development in Detroit’s Old Redford neighborhood will be dedicated on Saturday during the first Artist Village Detroit Arts Festival.
The festival, co-sponsored by the Platform, runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is centered around the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Lahser Road, the heart of Old Redford. At 2:30 p.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony will officially launch the opening of the Obama Building, and an art exhibition by Detroit artist Charles “Chazz” Miller will be unveiled.
Miller’s inaugural exhibit, called “Yes, We Can,” features the restored and reimagined “First Dance” mural that had graced the exterior of the building before its renovation and is now on display in the gallery. This mural was what led to the building being named after the former president. Guided art tours of Miller’s exhibition in the gallery and other murals in the neighborhood will be offered throughout the day.
“I’m inspired by people, engaging with their imagination and creativity, challenging their perceptions of reality, and elevating the vision of their existence,” Miller said. “My paintings are about those exchanges. I envision their stories in my own expression and reflect that back to the world. The Platform gets that and has been incredibly supportive of my vision and my work.”
Visual artists, a musical showcase of Artist Village musicians will grace the outdoor stage, and local businesses – including four soon-to-open Black-owned small businesses in the Obama Building – will feature their services. The festival also will feature delicious food, make-and-take art projects and more will offer engaging family-friendly experiences focusing on the importance of using your imagination and creativity. Vendors and artist booths and food trucks will be set up along the streets and alleys.
Speakers will include Platform Executive Chairman and CEO Peter Cummings, Miller, Blight Busters founder John George, and representatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the City of Detroit.
“Our investment in historic Old Redford demonstrates our commitment to supporting local entrepreneurs and artists, providing affordable housing and creating places that benefit all Detroiters,” said Peter Cummings, The Platform’s executive chairman and CEO. “The Obama Building has been a testament to the resilience of community and how collaboration can yield great results for a neighborhood. We are excited and proud to celebrate the progress made, and the dedication of the Old Redford community, at this festival on Saturday.”
The $3.6 million renovation of the historic bank building at 22000 Grand River Ave., brings four affordable housing units and 12,000 square feet of retail space to the corner.
The building was originally a Peoples State Bank branch and designed by architect C. William Palmer. It opened in 1917, nine years before Redford was annexed by the city of Detroit. After the bank closed in 1931, a likely victim of The Great Depression, the building was home to Stein’s Department Store, among other tenants.