Bretony and I go WAY back, so I'm honored she asked me to do a guest blog! We go all the way back to our hometown Detroit. We've been knowing each other since about the third grade. We went to middle school, high school AND college together! Good times!
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Whitney White, a born and raised Detroiter still residing in the city of Detroit. This city has some kind of hold on me. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have trekked out to NYC several years ago with Bretony. But, I really do just love this place! If you've seen or read the news lately, we're creating quite a buzz here. Detroit IS a little rough around the edges, but I have always been the type to see potential. I'm a visionary. If there's something tarnished, I want to make it flourish with color, and Detroit is the perfect canvas.
It's a little bit of a struggle living in Detroit. I'm still trying to figure out what accomplishments I can show for my 20s. Career-wise, I chose the non-profit industry about six years ago. I wanted to do good things for my community at the grassroots level. The non-profit I worked for did amazing work, but I was never able to transition out of an administrative role. As important as non-profit work is, and as passionate as I felt about the organizations, I wasn't really using my talents. I was at the low end of the totem pole, often the youngest member of the staff, while my duties were relegated to filing, typing,data-basing, organizing, coffee-ing, and answering the phones. These are all great basic skills... if you want to sit behind a desk forever. I joined the non-profit sector to pound the pavement about issues I'm passionate about. But alas, it was not meant to be. It took the majority of my 20s to figure out that I should be leaning into my God-given talents.
The only thing I'm really actually good at is being creative. Artistically, I paint and write poetry. I believe creativity is also about thinking big. When I tell people my ideas, sometimes I get the "you have to start small" response. What they don't know is the idea DID start out small in my head an hour ago or a couple days ago, but the idea grew with each passing minute. The plans developed because I had more time to think about it. The idea grew because it took on a life of it's own, one dot connected to another, and then another. I want to do what I'm good at. I WILL prove to anyone that my ideas can and will reach the top. So I'm extracting myself from the totem pole and working on my big ideas. Yes, I CAN file and I CAN fax, but that's not putting the best of me to the best use.
A few blogs ago, Bretony talked about gentrification. It's running rampant here in Detroit. It seems as though some people feel entitled to MY city. That may sound a little selfish, but Detroit has always been in my life; teaching me, shaping the person I am today, and pushing me to achieve great things. I want what's good for Detroit. Not to say new buildings and pretty things aren't good, but I want those who have endured the not so pretty parts of Detroit to experience all the good things and be able to stake a claim in the city that they've called home all along. I've called Detroit home for over 20 years and I want to claim my corner of the city. New and old Detroiters alike, and all the new visitors to the city will be invited to my little artistic corner. My vision is to open a co-working art studio.
The co-working art studio will be open to all types of artists (painters, poets, crafters, dancers, musicians, photographers, filmmakers etc). Shared studio space will be available to every artist with membership. Getting a studio space can be very expensive (especially for us starving artists) and being invited to a collective might not happen, especially for new artists. So, the idea for the Artists' Lounge Detroit was born! The co-working art studio.
To make the Artists' Lounge Detroit a reality, I've been taking advantage of a wonderful thing called crowdfunding! Crowdfunding is awesome. It has allowed so many people to realize a dream, and it helps to bring communities together for a common goal. This sounded like the perfect way to bring the Detroit community and the artistic community together to help make the Artists' Lounge Detroit actually happen. Detroit not only produces so many talented, creative people, but shows that talent and creativity is in the air! Breathe the air here and the ideas start flowing! I could really talk about my city ALL day, going on and on about the potential it has, and my wonderful idea to open a co-working art studio, but you really just have to experience it yourself. Come visit! Let a native Detroiter like myself show you around. We'll take you to more places than just the (newly flourishing) downtown areas. And definitely go and check out the Artists' Lounge Detroit!
p.s. Yes, me and Whitney really do go all the way back! Neither of us were ever really keen on working for anybody else. It's good to see we are both still following our dreams no matter what! You know how some people have a work out buddy to keep them motivated? I have a wafting creative hippie buddy to let me know that I'm not COMPLETELY insane for going off the beaten path.
p.p.s. Remember when we said we were gonna move to Orland beach and be professional beach bums, Whit? I'm still down!
p.p.p.s. If you do happen to live in Detroit, or are visiting soon, get in contact with Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org to check out the progress with her business and help. Support the arts and they will support YOU!