Detroit Calls on Artists to Save Art Space

By |2019-05-01T15:20:01-04:00May 1st, 2019|Entertainment, Features|

Advertisements are commonplace in modern life, so much so that the average American likely doesn’t realize that they’re being exposed to thousands of them a day. And depending on one’s lifestyle and location, Red Crow Marketing Inc. report one might see anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 a day. Amid this constant stream of marketing, Travis Rix and Justin Aversano saw an opportunity to use some of the infrastructure designed to sell products to bring local art to the fore.
They created SaveArtSpace, a New York-based non-profit dedicated to creating urban museums by putting art on billboards that is now partnering with the Playground Detroit art gallery to highlight the work of at least six Detroit creators. SaveArtSpace is putting out an open call that will last through May 28 for anyone who wants to feature their art on ad space across Detroit starting in July.
“Everyone, regardless of age, skill level or background can apply and it’s $10 per image and they can submit up to 10 images,” Rix said. “And, if they cannot afford that, they can send us an email with the art they want. … The theme is your art, so whatever you’ve got, we want to see it and include it.”
The only content exceptions are those that include logos or advertisements for companies, or ones that self-promote explicitly.
Rix said that after having toured across the country to cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami, the best instances of showcased work were the ones that highlighted a diverse group — something that he hopes will happen in Detroit this summer.
“Ever since the beginning back in 2015 we’ve always been getting accessible art, like in our first show we had everyone from a 4-year-old to a 94-year-old. There was also a young man who was autistic and then we also had professional artists, emerging artists and career artists in the same show,” Rix said. “Since then, we’ve always tried to do something very similar and bring in as many different people as possible and put it where they live so it’s not in the same hip neighborhood, it’s where they’ll be within the city.”
Rix said that the passion he and Aversano have for this project was born out of companies taking over the local flair of their own Brooklyn neighborhood.
“Back in 2015, in that section of Brooklyn that we were living, right up until then for the previous 10 years or so there were a lot of murals throughout the neighborhood,” he said. “And then, all of a sudden, they got covered by ad companies. They came in, would literally paste their ad over the mural. … So, me and my business partner saw it happen right in front of my eyes and said, ‘We have to do something, we’ve got to save space for art!’”
Thus, the non-profit was born. When asked why he and Aversano dedicate their time to highlighting the work of local artists across the country, they made clear the value of local creators.
“There’s a better quality of life when there’s public art involved. And most of the time where there are these ad spaces, there isn’t a lot of art,” Rix said. “We don’t make a big ton of money, it’s just me and my business partner and we try to do what’s in our price range, which is usually in a smaller price range. But, usually, it’s more personal and you can usually touch it, get a better picture of yourself with it, and it’s usually in a neighborhood [where there’s] a lot more community than the one on the freeway which maybe might be seen by 100,000 people or more but the people in the community [will recognize it].”
To find out more information about submitting work visit

About the Author:

Eve Kucharski
As news and feature editor at Between The Lines, Eve Kucharski's work has spanned the realms of current events and entertainment. She's chatted with stars like Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho and Tyler Oakley as well as political figures like Gloria Steinem, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Her coverage of the November 2018 elections was also featured in a NowThis News report.