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In a series of public reintroductions, last week the Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission broke new creative ground when it launched a new website, released a new logo, announced two upcoming community art projects and, perhaps most notably, launched its Art Census 2020 project. Mike Flores has been the FACC’s chairperson since February of 2020, and on the Commission since December of 2019. He said that the move to rebrand fell in line with the Commission’s goals to connect art with the intersection points of “business, government and community.”
“Because we had experience with people that had come to the Art Commission and said, ‘Hey, I need an artist for…,’ and it would be for a particular project, or they would be looking to commission something, or they had an idea and wanted some additional insight. And we did not have a centralized database of potential Ferndale and surrounding-area artists that we could recommend,” Flores said. “So, we felt it was important … that we took on that role.”
The database will log the contact information and mediums of artists ranging from painters to performing artists around Ferndale and the Metro Detroit area, making it “as diverse as possible” and accessible to anyone in Ferndale looking to “activate their space with art.” In order to protect the privacy of the participating artists, Flores said that the Commission will serve as the “gatekeepers” of the database and facilitate connections when requested. Flores later clarified that “once the connection is made the artist and requesting organization will manage the relationship.”
He said that the goal is to create a working partnership with both Ferndale’s brick-and-mortar businesses and intangible ones, and that starts with The dot parking structure.
“So, we’re going to work very closely with the Ferndale DDA [Downtown Development Authority] to help facilitate that once we finish the plan. There is a DDA representative who sits on our commission as a liaison. The DDA is one of the stakeholders in the Ferndale dot … and one of the objectives of that parking structure is to activate it with art,” Flores said. “The Ferndale Arts [and Culture] Commission has two representatives that sit on that work group and they have already asked us for a list of potential artists that could be reviewed for the different pieces that are going to be commissioned for The dot.”
And while the type of artwork still has to be decided upon, The dot is only the first public project supported by the FACC under its new brand.
“The Parks and Recreation Department has reached out to the Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission to see if we can help support activating one of the parks within the city with art,” he said.
So far, Flores said there has been a “framework” provided for an art piece’s installation, but there will still be a decision-making process before the Parks and Recreation Department gives the final go-ahead. Flores said that, especially after the last two weeks, current events will not be dismissed as potential source material for the public art projects.
“We felt that art really is a tool to connect our community. And one of the things that we realized over the last couple of months and in the last couple of weeks, really, is that art really captures history. It captures moments in time, and we know that after COVID-19 and after the nation in the state and even in our local communities reflect on what has happened, that art is going to play a major role in the healing process,” Flores said. “Regardless of all the other man-made barriers we have created, art really connects us.”
Find out more about the FACC online at ferndaleartsandculturalcommission.com.