Women’s Caucus for Art Show At 555 Gallery: “Eye on the D: Seeing Detroit With New Eyes”

October 29, 2013
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K.A. Letts's drawing incorporates poetry written by a Detroit youth.

K.A. Letts’s drawing incorporates poetry written by a Detroit youth.

“I’m a Michigan artist, but I’ve always concentrated my efforts on having my work shown in Chicago,” Ann Arbor-based K.A. Letts says. “It seemed easier to get your work shown, there was more press coverage. But then I looked around and saw all these people doing all really interesting things [in Detroit], and it occurred to me that I should be also looking closer to home.”

Letts only really opened her eyes to the Detroit art scene when a tour with national organization, the Washington, D.C.-based Women’s Caucus for Art took some of its members on a tour to Detroit artists spaces last summer. In response to this tour, WCA members have put on a group show at the 555 Gallery. Titled “Eye on the D: Seeing Detroit With New Eyes” and running Nov. 1 – 21, the show features paintings, drawings, photography, and more: all commenting on Detroit.

Letts will have a drawing featured in the show, which incorporates poetry written by a Detroit youngster named Christopher J. Burges. Other artists include Brenda Oelbaum, who has painted a portrait of local artist Patricia Hill Burnett, the first woman to have a studio in the Scarab Club. Another artist, Patricia Izzo, took photos of a memorial and home of a Detroit girl who was slain while walking around the city. “She was afraid [the family] was going to be objecting,” of taking personal photos, Letts explains. “But they said thanks for noticing her.”

Patricia Izzo's photography will be part of the show Eye on the D.

Patricia Izzo’s photography will be part of the show Eye on the D.

Of the gallery, Letts says it’s the perfect place for an art show about Detroit: “555 is very much a microcosm of the Detroit culture scene right now. It’s in that old precinct station, it’s a repurposed building but also it’s right next door to the Detroit agriculture company, so it’s like urban, agriculture, and art in the same building.”

Eye on the D will be on view from Nov. 1 – 21. 555 Gallery hours: Monday – Friday, 9 – 3 p.m., Sat. and Sun., 2 – 5 p.m. Artists’ Reception, Thursday, Nov. 21, 5 – 9 p.m. with a dance performance of “nature abhors a vacuum” during the reception, Thur. Nov. 21, at 7 p.m.

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  • Margaret Parker

    This show was a two year long effort to involve women artists in Detroit, Michigan and around the country in how Detroit looks, acts and feels right now. Many of the artists had lived in the city earlier in their lives and still felt attached to it. Some have just moved here and find the energy exciting.