Creating a Vibrant Arts Scene in Farmington/Farmington Hills: It’s Time for Some Foreign Films

Last week we wrote about the need for a performing arts center to be built in downtown Farmington to serve the Farmington/Farmington Hills community. Now we’ll consider the need for some alternative cinema options.

In Farmington/Hills we have two movie theaters: the Civic Theater downtown and the Dipson Theatre at West River Centre. The Dipson Theatre screens the typical Hollywood fare with few exceptions. The beautiful city-owned Farmington Civic Theater is a second-run theater, presenting films several weeks or months after the initial release, but at bargain admission prices. Other than occasional special events such as the screening of the Michigan Beer Film or the Greater Farmington Film Festival there is no regular program of documentary, independent, or foreign films at the Farmington Civic Theater (or any other venue in Farmington/Hills).


There are a few other venues in our community where you might find an occasional film screening: Oakland Community College, Farmington Community Library, the Holocaust Memorial Center, and some area churches.

But again, as noted above, there is no venue in Farmington/Hills that hosts a regular program of alternative (documentary, independent, foreign) cinema.

We are hoping to change that in the near future and will share information about it as soon as we have something lined up.

What do you think? Is there a need for a more diverse film experience in our community? Would you attend a regular series featuring documentary, independent, and foreign films?



Art at PLUSkateboarding

If you haven’t been to Rob Woelkers’ cool skate shop, PLUS, stop by the Village Art at PLUSMall and check out the store and Rob’s unique pen & ink and marker drawings. His work will be up for a month or so followed by a rotation of work by other artists.

PLUSskateboarding is located at 33335 Grand River Ave in downtown Farmington, in the Village Mall.PLUSkateboarding

What to do in Farmington/Farmington Hills This Week (4/28/14): Festival of the Arts and CAMP ROCK

It’s Festival of the Arts Week so check out some of the great arts & cultural Riley Park in Farmingtonevents to look forward to in the Farmington/Farmington Hills community this week:

Wednesday, April 30th, at 7:00 pm: Surviving Genocide: Armenians and Jews in 20th Century France, with a presentation by Dr. Maud Mandel at the Holocaust Memorial Center (28123 Orchard Lake Rd).

Thursday, May 1st through Saturday, May FAF Spring Exhibit3rd: Farmington Art Foundation Spring Exhibit at the Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile Rd.

Friday, May 2nd, at 7:00 pm: Art After Dark, at the Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile Rd.

Art After DarkSaturday, May 3rd, at 10:00 am: Festival of the Arts, offering art experiences for all ages, including community cultural displays by area organizations, activities, a wide range of
entertainment, and over 200 pieces of art to see and buy. At the Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile Rd.

Saturday, May 3rd, and Sunday, May 4th: Disney CAMP ROCK The Musical, presented by the City of Farmington Hills Youth Theater, with performances  Saturday at 7:00 pm, and Sunday at 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm, at the Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile Rd.

Sunday, May 4th, at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm: Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945 Exhibit Finale, with presentations by The Honorable Barney Frank at the Holocaust Memorial Center (28123 Orchard Lake Rd).

kickstART Your Weekend with Some Good Reads: A New American Dream, Small and Resilient Cities, and Art for Children

Our Friday update here at kickstART farmington highlights some communitygreat articles we’ve read this week dealing with art, creative placemaking, and building great communities. You’re sure to find some inspiration to make our community even better!

1. Top 10 Reasons for a New American DreamContrary to conventional wisdom, urban streets are significantly safer than leafy suburbs and rural areas…. The number one US cause of death from ages 5 to 34 is automobile crashes … Deadly automobile crashes are far less likely on lower-speed urban streets.

2. Creative placemaking is driven by the idea that shaping the physical and social character of a neighborhood around arts and culture animates public places and attracts new businesses.

3. Just Like Me: Explore, Imagine, Create … features images and paintings of children from diverse periods and cultures, encouraging young ones to reflect on the similarities and differences between their lives and those of families in other times and places.

4. On Resilient CitiesPeople are the glue and any city without a tightly knit social infrastructure can build all of the physical infrastructure it wants and still fall short in times of shocks and stresses.

5. You’ll likely identify with the 8 reasons you might like a small city in this video by Gracen Johnson.

Creating a Vibrant Arts Scene in Farmington/Hills: It’s Time for a Performing Arts Center in Downtown Farmington

Last week we noted the 23 characteristics of a vibrant and healthy arts scene, as formulated by Renny Pritikin. Today we’ll start the first in a series identifying some ideas to enhance the vibrancy of the Farmington/Farmington Hills arts scene.


The most complex, expensive, and time-consuming addition (but perhaps the most impactful in the long-term) to a vibrant and healthy arts scene in Farmington and Farmington Hills would be to provide the community with a high-quality performing arts center, much like the Village Theater in Canton* (pictured here), to include a 400-seat theater, art exhibition space, and headquarters for area arts organizations.

Village Theater in Canton
A performing arts space like this could be built on the space currently occupied by the Maxfield Training Center and be part of a mixed-use development overlooking Shiawassee Park in downtown Farmington

The theater could be used for local theatrical and dance productions, presentations by area musical groups, screenings of independent and foreign films, lectures and community discussions, and for bringing in productions by talented artists and musicians from across the state (such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra), country, and the world.

It would make sense for the cities of Farmington and Farmington Hills to partner on getting a facility built in downtown Farmington. Residents in Farmington Hills have consistently ranked the addition of a performing arts space high among the needs for our community as part of the recent Parks and Recreation Master Plans (including the 2014 plan). This would be a win-win for both cities and provide downtown restaurants and shops with additional customers coming into town for a performance.


Rather than build something near the Costick Center (and make driving a necessity) this facility could enhance the walkability of the downtown area and be built on the northeast corner of the space currently occupied by the Maxfield Training Center in downtown Farmington. One could easily imagine a theater atrium overlooking, and opening up to a new and more accessible path (for pedestrians and cyclists) down to Shiawassee Park.

In addition, this performing arts space could provide the cornerstone for a beautiful mixed-used development including condos or apartments along the north side, with great views overlooking Shiawassee Park, and a mix of retail and restaurants along Thomas Street.


Yes, it could be done … with a mix of public and private investment and the commitment of our residents and artistic community.

What do you think of this idea? Interested in making it happen? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

* Canton is nearly the size of Farmington Hills (in terms of population) and the community there was able to raise $5 million to build the approximately 400-seat Village Theater in 2004. The theater is home to nearly a dozen Canton-area arts organizations and has a very robust performance schedule.