Blog: Christopher Schneider

Christopher Schneider is a photographic artist who teaches at Lawrence Tech and OCC. He is also the Program Manager at the Cranbrook Summer Art Institute and a founder of the Hatch arts collective. A native Nebraskan, Chris moved to Detroit in 2001 and has never looked back.

Post No. 4

Hurting cats

Not too long ago I was being interviewed for a publication. She wanted to know what is toughest part about running the non-profit art collective called Hatch. I told her that sometimes it is like herding cats. She sheepishly laughed.

A week later, just before the story was heading to the printer, she asked, "I don't understand what your group has to do with hurting cats."

Thus, lesson #1 in starting a non-profit:

Watch what you say. A-n-n-u-n-c-i-a-t-e.

Actually, lesson #1 is to start with a reliable core group of people to build around. Watching what you say is more like lesson #14.

Lesson #2 is to do something that is actually fun. For example, one of our first organized events was Dr. Sketchy, where we regularly host a figure drawing session at The Belmont bar in Hamtramck using burlesque dancers, cross-dressers and other enjoyably notorious folk as models.

Lesson #7 (I am skipping the boring ones) is to make friends. We made friends with Hamtramck's newest coffee house, Café 1923. Now we have a place to exhibit work, host meetings, and sit around thinking about what my next photo project should be (red pants… portajohns… stuffed animals…bachelors…).

Lesson #11 is to pay attention not to those who talk a lot but to those who actually do things. Whenever I hear someone start to say, "You should…" I tune them out. What they are going to tell me is that they have a great idea that they have no intention of pursuing themselves.

Lesson #21 is to find a benefactor that will help us get our very own building. Um, we still need this one (ahem).

Since starting Hatch a little over a year ago, we have grown to over 50 members who come from all over the area. We host booths at festivals, go on gallery crawls, create printed material (and Hatch patches!), critique each other's work, and find any number of ways to get our artwork out in front of your eyes. Our plans for the future is even more grand. There's talk of a fashion show, a record label, book publication and the biggie—a community art center. All of this is possible because on one giant reason. I'll call it reason #25: Living in and around Detroit makes this possible. It has the creative class, the space, the need and it will have the funding.

Recently The Detroit News ran an article with the headline, "Detroit's art scene fades: Area leaders see young talent moving away and local galleries closing". This is quite a declaration coming from a paper that doesn't have a section that covers art and culture in the area (unless their anime blog counts. I kid you not—they have an anime blog and nothing on art). Is the sky falling, too?

Let me just say pbtht to that.

Want to be up on the local art scene? Try The Detroiter at for all things involving art, theater, literature and music. Or ask Mr. Dozier to be added to his email list at You will receive a weekly rundown of all the art shows in the area along with his own pearls of wisdom.

Of course, you will also want to keep up with what Hatch is up to at