Through a unique partnership model with forty-five community organizations, the Detroit Institute of Arts' 2012 community photography project Reveal Your Detroit offered Detroit residents the chance to respond to the Museum's contemporary photography exhibition Detroit Revealed: Photographs 2000-2010. Using disposable cameras, each participant captured people, places, and things that make their lives in Detroit distinctive, inspired by the questions "what does your Detroit look like?" and "how do you want others to see it?". In the final display, over 2,300 images rotated across 60 digital photo frames, from a selection of over 10,000 submitted. For this volume, author Bradford Frost selected 192 images from the exhibit to showcase the perspectives of hundreds of residents and the places they presented, from the gritty to the sublime.
Reveal Your Detroit is composed of two main sections--The Authentic City and Detroit's Vital Transformation--photo essays that evoke Detroit's spirited resolve and response to the dominant imagery of the city in decline. Photographers visit favorite Detroit sites like Eastern Market, the Detroit Riverfront, the Charles H.
Wright Museum of African American History, Comerica Park, Michigan Central Station, and the Fox Theater; but they also highlight lesser known spots, like the cobblestone streets of West Canfield in Midtown, Hostel Detroit in Corktown, and the Central Business District Community Garden Downtown. Photos highlight Detroit's vibrant street and folk art, the diversity of the city's natural environment, and the vitality of residents and businesses in a range of city neighborhoods. The participating community groups are introduced in short text sections throughout the book and credited in the captions of each photo they submitted. Frost concludes with a personal section containing snapshots of a few of his own Detroit highlights.
Reveal Your Detroit is not only a beautiful gift book and record of a transforming American city, it is also a testament to the possibilities of creative partnership between grassroots organizations and larger cultural institutions. Anyone with roots in Detroit or an interest in community-based art will appreciate the multilayered picture created by Reveal Your Detroit.
Bradford Frost is the Director for Detroit's Living Cities Integration Initiative. A former Detroit Revitalization Fellow at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Bradford led the design and execution of over one million dollars in new projects including ArtPlace America's 'Cultural Living Room' transformation of Kresge Court, and a new community engagement model to connect residents to creatively respond to contemporary exhibitions. The pilot project succeeded in partnering with 45 community organizations and over 1,000 local residents and is the basis from which Reveal Your Detroit: An Intimate Look at a Great American City is based.