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Wyandotte introduces locals to new arts center, looking for redevelopment suggestions

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People are about to get their first glimpse of Wyandotte's new arts incubator while local officials get a sense of what the patrons want to see when it opens to artists.

The city will host an open house of the Downriver Arts Center, 81 Chestnut St., from 6-9 p.m. on September 24. The idea is to solicit suggestions from the community, especially local artists, on how they would like to see the old Masonic temple redeveloped.

"We want the artists to come in and look at the space and see all the possibilities," says Patt Slack, owner of River's Edge Gallery in Wyandotte and one of the point people on the Arts Center project.

The city purchased the 3-story building last year with the intent of turning it into a destination for early career artists. The structure date backs to the 19th Century and originally served as a Masonic temple. More recently it was home to the Church of Many Miracles.

The original idea was to turn the basement and first floor of the structure into a place for visual artists. The second and third floors, which house a stage, would be renovated to facilitate performance arts.

Food provided by The Good East Café and Grille will be available on the ground floor during the open house. Acoustic instrument musician Santos Madrigal will perform on the ground floor while performance artist Charlie Slick will perform on the third floor.

The city has not begun renovating the building into an arts center yet. However, it still plans to do so next year. The building needs an elevator among other expensive improvements to become habitable. Wyandotte Mayor James DeSana says city workers could end up doing some of the improvements while things like the elevator are worked on.

"That doesn't mean we can't put cubicles in for the artists in the meantime," DeSana says.

Source: Patt Slack, owner of Rivers Edge Gallery in Wyandotte and James DeSana, mayor of the city of Wyandotte
Writer: Jon Zemke
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