Blog: Monica Bowman

Any way you cast it, the beauty of art is its ability to project intrigue onto, say, an overturned refrigerator. This week Monica Bowman, founder and director of The Butcher's Daughter gallery, opens a window onto the relevance of contemporary art for Detroit communities.

Post 4 - REGIONALISM: The New Cultural Capital

I've really enjoyed my time writing this blog for Metromode and sharing with you a small part of my life in contemporary art. To wrap up my series, I want to reassess the interconnectedness of the relationships within the local economy to once again stress the dependence of artists on their local community and environment.
When I was starting out in this field, I often had conversations about the dangers of an artist being dubbed "regional". Unlike sport teams, artists traditionally sought an audience outside of their hometowns to propagate and sale their work (the anomaly being artists working in wealthy urban centers like New York and London). Historically the reason for this was, among other practicalities, the finite amount of collectors within a geographic proximity. That said, much has changed today with the size and speed of information we can exchange, courtesy of refined technology.
Once, corner shop-chic Detroit brands like City Bird and Hugh would be destined to remain local gems. Today these small businesses are flourishing due to their affability, local flair, and web presence. Sometimes the concepts are strikingly new and sometimes an old idea can be a welcomed-back addition to the community, like the affordable Ferndale-to-Detroit eco-friendly bus service, The Night Move. The same can be said for art being made in Detroit today. The old regionalism is today's hot commodity: Authenticity and resilience.
The nation, perhaps the world, views Detroit as economic Ground Zero. Generally speaking, we can perceive empathy through the public's furor of post-apocalyptic news reports and photographs of the ruin of the city and translate that into an example of sustainable jobs in the creative sector. Local business partnerships, retention of local talent, and a lot of hard work are what it will take to regenerate the interest in the city. Each person in the community plays a role in the development and maintenance of the infrastructure in their neighborhood and surrounding city.
I believe together we have what it takes; I'm betting my future on it.