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In a blend of the virtual and tangible, the Detroit-based gallery Library Street Collective has created a new digital exhibition platform called SITE: Art and Architecture in the Digital Space. Set in Detroit’s historic State Savings Bank, the show features an array of animated works that seem to interact with their real-life environment. Its featured artists include Daniel Arsham, Kadar Brock, Greg Fadell, Simphiwe Ndzube, Jose Parla, Rachel Rossin, Phillip K. Smith III and Kennedy Yanko. And there’s a charitable element to the exhibit, too, a total of 10 percent of sales will go to aid the Ruth Ellis Center — a Detroit nonprofit that provides help and housing for LGBTQ at-risk youth.
“Ruth Ellis Center has extraordinary partners in the Detroit community, and Anthony Curis, co-founder of the Library Street Collective is no exception,” said Mark Erwin-McCormick, director of development and advancement for REC. “Through SITE: Art and Architecture in the Digital Space, guests will experience important artwork framed within some of Detroit’s most historic architecture, while also supporting the legacy of one of Detroit’s most significant pioneers, Ruth Ellis. We are honored to share in this partnership.”
Exhibit organizers say that the exhibit shows “a unique digital connection between the visual arts and the built environment, incorporating aspects of storytelling, architectural history and an artist’s unique perspective through the presentation of SITE.”
To help Library Street Collective realize its vision for SITE, the gallery called upon architectural photographer James Haefner. Haefner is the co-creator of the books “Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America” and “Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy.” Similarly, those works display images in places in “often private realms not open to the public to explore the innovative and often breathtaking design solutions presented on these pages.”
And beyond simply offering an artistic glimpse into places rarely visited, Library Street Collective asserts that the online presentation “carries with it an important environmental benefit” that helps to reduce the gallery’s carbon footprint.”
“SITE is entirely digital, and so the art displayed is skillfully and seamlessly rendered into its environment,” said exhibit organizers.
Curis himself chose to give REC a portion of the show’s proceeds when he saw how the organization was navigating the “stay home, stay safe” order that resulted from the novel coronavirus.
“As LGBTQ young people continue to face barriers to housing, health and wellness, even more so during the coronavirus global pandemic, support from our community has never been more critical,” Erwin-McCormick said. “All funds raised through the exhibition will support the center’s critical programs, including the Ruth Ellis Health & Wellness Center, Ruth’s House – Residential Foster Care, and Ruth’s Pantry, providing food and safety resources to LGBTQ young people twice weekly. SITE: Art and Architecture in the Digital Space not only brings visibility to some of Detroit’s historic buildings, but it also brings visibility to some of our city’s most vulnerable.”