City of Detroit showcases artists as kickoff to Black History Month

Yearlong celebration of arts and culture will showcase Detroit’s creativity and contributions

The arts in Detroit are getting a big boost of exposure Monday.

DETROIT – The arts in Detroit are getting a big boost of exposure Monday.

The city is launching a year-long program called “UNDEFEATED.” It aims to showcase artists of every genre and every background.

It’s no secret that Detroit is a cultured city, but how cultured and diverse is Detroit’s art scene?

“We’re still the Paris of the Midwest,” said Rochelle Riley, the director of Arts and Culture for the City of Detroit. “We do everything. We do it better than most places and in some cases, people outside of that acknowledge that more than we do. It’s time for us to see how great we are.”

Riley has had her thumb on the pulse of the city for decades. She said art and culture in Detroit is a big deal that not enough people know about, so artists take their work elsewhere.

“Some of them make their money outside of Detroit because we’re not getting it,” Riley said. “I want to make sure people know they don’t have to leave the city to be successful.”

During the first week of Black History Month, her office is hosting a massive arts showcase -- starting with Mayor Mike Duggan interviewing a Detroit author who made the New York Times Bestseller list.

Riley will showcase every genre -- music, culinary arts, architecture, literature, fashion, comedy dance, theatre and more.

“When you see the monthly showcases that we’re going to have all year, every month is going to have a showcase of amazing work from people of all colors. I want people to understand that Black history is a part of everything else. They’re going to see Black artists and Black musicians alongside white artists, Indian artists, Arabic artists and then we can understand that it’s not just about one thing,” Riley said. “Everybody contributed.”

For more information on UNDEFEATED, such as the schedule and how to submit work, visit the official website here.

More: Black History Month stories

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.