Last weekend I had the privilege of exploring Grand Rapids during ArtPrize. For those of you who don’t know what ArtPrize is, it’s basically a ginormous art competition featuring pretty much any sort of medium all over the city. Here’s the website.
It’s pretty neat. It also brings in a ton of activity for Grand Rapids. It felt like a huge city when we were there, the streets were absolutely packed. Which is amazing to be apart of (besides the occasional claustrophobic moments). Also, superb people watching. Multicolored hair is trending right now in Grand Rapids for the teens. Those crazy youths! (I can say this because I’m about 4 months away from 30.) I took some photographs of the things I liked best.
The circus also happened to be in town and there was a group of people outside protesting, which made me very happy. If only the children attending knew what happened to the poor animals behind closed doors. (That’s all I’m saying!)
Last week I headed over to the East side of Michigan to attend a wedding with my boyfriend. I met up with my lifelong friend, Bree, and we took a little field trip to the hood. She works at Quicken Loans in downtown Detroit and her and her fiance take frequent trips into the wastelands of the surrounding area to take pictures. Let me tell you, there is no shortage of material. There’s beautiful graffiti, creepy graffiti, bright colors, broken buildings and broken people.
Most pictures were taken from inside the getaway car but we did walk around the Packard Plant for a few minutes. Jim pulled in backwards so we could escape quickly if we needed to. There were a few unsavory individuals and a very loud van that came sputtering through. Bree and I would start fast walking back to the car when we saw them. I think it’s a sort of knee jerk reaction. You would expect that the individuals brave enough to hang out OUTSIDE in these areas probably aren’t your friend. And it’s probably safest to think that way but a lot of the people we saw were curious wanderers just like us. Most of the cars that drove by were full of people with a camera out the window. I think a lot of people have a fascination with abandoned areas and the adrenaline rush of being somewhere that you shouldn’t.
There’s also the draw of tons and tons of graffiti. Some of it is AMAZING. I mean, a true artist at work. Some of it is just tagging or creepy stuff. There is also a lot of repetition on different buildings.
If you’ve never physically been to Detroit, it’s probably a bit different than you are thinking. A lot of it is a ghost town. The houses are either half burnt down and boarded up or the people living inside do not come out. I’ve heard rumors of gangs of wild dogs, but we only saw one lonely dog.
There were people inside the Packard Plant doing some sort of welding or artwork, it was hard to get a good view. It’s also possible that someone was just starting a fire. Either way I hope they are current on their tetanus shot.
I wish I would have been brave enough to really get up close and personal with some of the buildings but my gut (for the most part) was telling me to stay in the car. The house with the sunflowers was the closest that I got. I actually left the car for that shot. I was about to walk through the tall grass to get a close up on the sunflower and almost stepped in a huge dog turd. I decided to take a few from the driveway and ran back to the car.
I’m looking forward to going back and getting some more shots of different areas with Bree. There are a few places I would love to check out. Maybe I’ll put on my brave girl face and get a little closer to some of the buildings.
Bridge at Packard Plant
This was once the Packard Plant. There are rumors that it’s going to be restored but it doesn’t look salvageable.
Yes, that is a bear next to a syringe. I’m guessing it wasn’t used for insulin.
Pretty sweet graffiti
Creepy stuffed animals stapled to electrical pole.
Love the dichotomy of flowers and ruins.
This building is visible from the highway. You’ve probably seen it if you’ve been to a Tiger’s game.
If you are several blocks away, you can see that there are several large trees growing at the top.