KickstARTing Creativity: Art and Social Change, Transit & How Our City Makes Us Feel

We highlight here some great articles we’ve read this week dealing with art, creative placemaking, and building great communities. You’re sure to find some inspiration to make your life and our community even better!

  • The Art of Social Change: “Socially engaging people’s minds is the heartbeat of what we do, all seen through the lens of storytelling.”
  • 10 Ways to Partner with Community Artists: “Co-create projects with artists that align with both institutional goals and the goals of the artist, and the community they work alongside, alleviating some of the barriers.”
  • Give Fans Transit Passes to Tame Game-Day Traffic: “Game-day congestion is part of football tradition, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Enter the concept of ‘transit validation,’ in which sporting venues contract with public transit operators so that all ticket holders can ride buses and trains free on game days.”

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Bob Young

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature author and musician Bob Young.

When did you first get started in the arts?

I wrote my first song at the age of 12. Since then I’m probably approaching 2000 songs, but I don’t keep count. Poetry began during my college years and a few years ago I published a collection of about 200 poems. I’ve continued writing whatever The Muse inspires.

Did you receive formal training in music?

I minored in Music Theory & Composition in college, and literature, poetry, and art appreciation classes were also helpful. I’ve also been a voracious reader since I was a child, so I’ve intrinsically picked up how to do it from the variety of authors I’ve read.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?
Dr. Sandy Matthes was my music theory mentor in college; when I asked her why she took an interest in me compared to the other “Music Majors”, she responded, “Because I know you’re going to actually use it!” Since then I’ve met a number of people in town who have been helpful in various ways, but perhaps the most prominent is Jill Jack.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?
Songwriters Anonymous at Trinity House Theatre in Livonia. I’m also on the board of Trinity House Theatre. With the publication of my recent book That’s What It’s All About, I’m looking for appropriate groups to connect with as well.

Keep at it. Some things you create are “just for you and your growth”. Some are for specific people. And sometimes it can be universal and benefit the world.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?
That’s What It’s All About was released on 2/5/2019 and is a culmination of my experience, philosophical changes, and unique inspiration.

I’m also recording an album of original material (my 16th, I think) later this month with local A-list musicians that is packed with meaning for me.

Has your work appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?
I’ve performed at Rhythmz in Riley Park a number of times and one year I booked bands and ran sound for the entire Art on the Grand weekend over at the Masonic Lodge.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?
“Love wins.”

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?
Keep at it. Some things you create are “just for you and your growth”. Some are for specific people. And sometimes it can be universal and benefit the world.

Don’t judge too early – just get it all out there, then begin to craft it where necessary to make it the best it can be.

What do you think is missing from the arts community in Farmington/Hills?
There’s an arts community in Farmington/Hills? Then I guess what’s missing is ME.

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a local community?
I refer to Robin Williams’ speech in The Dead Poet’s Society:

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to info@kickstartfarmington.org.)

KickstARTing Creativity: Public Art and “Dumb” Cities

We highlight here some great articles we’ve read this week dealing with art, creative placemaking, and building great communities. You’re sure to find some inspiration to make your life and our community even better!

  • How Better Bus Lanes Can Fix Everyone’s Commute: “Better and speedier transit options mean more people ride in densely packed buses, meaning fewer cars on the road, resulting in faster drive times, even for those who still take a car to work.”
  • In Defense of Dumb Cities: “The dumb city stands the test of time. And that is the best prediction that the simple tech of traditional city building will be here for some time to come, if we’re smart enough to use it.”
  • Tips for a New Era of Placemaking Philanthropy: “the landscape for placemaking funding opportunities has grown and diversified, now ranging from national nonprofits to family foundations, crowdfunding sites to state-level Main Street organizations.”

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Debbie Lim

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature artist Debbie Lim.

When did you first get started in the arts?

When my siblings and I were very young, our parents were very poor. Instead of coloring books, our mother gave us paper or cardboard boxes to create something with. When I was in 5th grade, I designed the school flag and won the art contests whenever the schools had them.

Did you receive formal art training?

I came from a very creative family. My mother was a child prodigy in music, my father was an artist, my aunt (Ethel Gold) was an illustrator in New York and did art for Highlights magazine, schoolbooks, and many children’s books. My younger sister (University of Maryland Dean, Dr. Adrienne Lim) is one of the most talented artists I know!

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

Actually, it was life itself that kept me sketching. I am a self-taught artist. On the personal side, I had a very hard childhood, having only my art (and my siblings). My art was my “way out” to escape reality. My twin sister and I were “aged out of the foster care” system, turning shy of 16-years-old. Art was the only thing in my life that gave me stability.

Art keeps everything moving, conversations going, people acknowledging the beauty around them.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?

No. I never thought I would be accepted, so I never tried.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

I used to design clothes and used some of my designs for a local dance show that my twin sister and I were on, a “flopped” movie (with Jay Leno and Pat Morita) and I had over 200 fashion shows and my clothes were featured in two stores in the early 1980s. I taught myself how to make patterns from newspapers and how to sew! I felt that was a gift from God. That part of my art I felt was a gift and I was proud of it. As for my art now, I love creating art that has a Feng Shui flair to it and Wildlife art! So, to answer the question, my art with designing clothes, my Feng Shui art, and, of course, sketching wildlife are all meaningful to me.

Has your art appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?

Yes, currently I have a “Tiger in Water” colored pencil art that is hanging in the Farmington Hills City Hall and I had a solo show for the entire month of June 2019! I was also part of the Holiday Art Market! That was a lot of fun and the first time I ever did anything like that!

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

This is something I always say to myself: Everything in my line of vision, I see art and color … Keep your life colorful.

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

Keep drawing and being creative. Limit yourself on your cell phones and concentrate more on yourself – no matter if it is singing, drawing, playing an instrument or acting – stick to it no matter what. YOU WILL slip but KNOW to get right back up and start it all over. NEVER give up on yourself!

What do you think is missing from the arts community in Farmington/Hills?

With the new group running the Cultural Arts Division, I’ve noticed more arts programs for children and adults.

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a local community?

Art keeps everything moving, conversations going, people acknowledging the beauty around them. I try to tell people that EVERY DAY.  Most people walk around life like zombies. Most do not see, REALLY SEE the beauty around them. With art popping up here and there one will see more color and perhaps notice the beauty around them. Then the cycle begins. Art keeps everything moving, conversations going, people acknowledging the beauty around them …

Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to info@kickstartfarmington.org.)

KickstARTing Creativity: Designing Cities for Children & Cinema as a Catalyst for Social Change

We highlight here some great articles we’ve read this week dealing with art, creative placemaking, and building great communities. You’re sure to find some inspiration to make your life and our community even better!

  • “Jaywalking” Shouldn’t Even Be a Thing: “Jaywalking isn’t dangerous in itself. Fast-moving cars are dangerous. And in fact, just as people are the indicator species of a strong town, rampant jaywalking is most often a sign of a vital place and a successful urban street.”
  • How Paris Became a Cycling Success Story: “As the climate crisis and increased traffic congestion raise questions about land use, transit policy, and our car-first views of urban living, improved cycling access offers a potential means of addressing these problems.”
  • How Cinema Can Become a Catalyst for Social Change: “Film is the art form to create social change,” says Brittany Dobish, artistic director of The Nightlight Cinema. “You see something that excites you or enrages you while watching something outside of yourself, and that spurs you to become more engaged.”
  • How Modern Glass Buildings are Destroying the World: “All told, glass buildings are responsible for up to one billion bird deaths in the United States each year. At a time when two-thirds of North American birds are in danger of extinction from climate change, it’s no exaggeration to say that glass architecture is a threat to life on Earth.”

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Muriel Jacobs

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature fiber artist Muriel Jacobs.

When did you first get started in the arts?

As a child I was always cutting and piecing—eventually that turned into fabric, and I took off!

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

The Needle and Textile Guide of Michigan (also known as NTGM). Wonderfully talented women (primarily) happy to make their art and share their special talents with all of their members.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

About 20 years ago, I began making memorial quilts, e.g., quilts made from the neckties of beloved members of a family, now deceased, for the widow and it opened a career of quilts that range from men’s ties to the clothing of a three-year-old child who dies tragically and completely unexpectedly. As I remember those young parents picking up their memorial quilt at our house, it still brings a lump to my throat.

And then I went on to some upbeat quilts!

Has your art appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?

Yes, the City Hall Show/Exhibit for two years and a one woman show at the Costick Center from August through September in 2019.

As I remember those young parents picking up their memorial quilt at our house, it still brings a lump to my throat.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

My favorite quote for my career:

Have something to do … Something you love doing … Something to look forward to …

As a working artist, handwork (and everything I do is stitched by hand) is a rewarding form of labor and expression. Handwork resists the culture of faster and immediate. That suits me!

Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to info@kickstartfarmington.org.)