It took a Village to Build a Temple

In June 2008, the Detroit Dream Project team built a public art park and temple pavilion with artist David Best in the Old Redford / Brightmoor area of Detroit adjacent to Motor City Blight Busters Resource Center and just down the street from the Artist’s Village.

This all-volunteer project was possible only with donations of land, labor, materials, skill, money and leadership.  We believe that building art together shapes and changes our world in positive ways.

The Detroit Dream Project’s “Temple of the American Dream” build is complete but our connections and our committment go on. We are invested in the Old Redford / Brightmoor neighborhood and we intend to strengthen our prescence through on-going projects. We welcome you to join us for Temple upkeep and future projects including neighborhood clean-sweeps, art walks, community gardening etc. please contact Cooky & Kurt at michigan@burningman.com and we’ll get you in the loop.

The Detroit Dream Project’s Temple build brought together the following people and groups:

Society to Promote Art & Recreation in the Community (SPARC)

SPARC is dedicated to directly improving the economy and community of Detroit by furthering the idea that the creation of art is an essential element of community life. Formed in 2005, SPARC draws together people from a broad range of backgrounds including business leaders, techies, artists, craftspeople, and laborers. SPARC builds practical skills and fosters community through collaborative creation and construction, drawing in all willing participants. SPARC’s primary inspiration for the Detroit Dream Project was the realization both that art is something everybody can do, and that building “big” depends only on igniting the imaginations of enough people. The Temples built by artist David Best gave SPARC the inspiration for how to implement those ideas. Volunteering with John George and Motor City Blight Busters showed SPARC that acting on those two simple ideas will change Detroit at a fundamental level in concrete, positive ways.

David Best

Based in Petaluma, California, David is well-known for his collaborative approach to building art projects as well as for his driving desire to use recycled and reclaimed materials. David holds a master’s degree in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute and has shown pieces in major museums. He typically creates together with people who don’t consider themselves artists. David has worked with more than 10,000 volunteers on various projects from art cars to multi-story installations. David began building Temples in 2000 to provide places for personal reflection and memorialization of those lost. David is the artistic lead for the Temple of the American Dream.

Charles “Chazz” Miller

Blight Buster’s resident artist, Chazz is the lead local artist for the Detroit Dream Project. Educated at Wayne State and the Columbus College of Art and Design, Chazz’s works have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums including the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Chazz is passionate about releasing the creative potential in all children through public arts education, community murals, and the creation of spaces expressly for public art. Chazz is leading the design process for the space surrounding the Temple, and is a key conduit for involvement and participation of the local community.

Motor City Blight Busters

Motor City Blight Busters is committed to stabilizing, revitalizing and beautifying the City of Detroit. For over eighteen years, founder and C.E.O. John George has motivated thousands of volunteers to make that vision real. Blight Busters tears down crack houses, rebuilds neighborhoods, creates summer camp opportunities, and supports public art to revitalize the spirit of the Old Redford and Brightmoor community residents. Blight Busters has provided the land upon which the Temple of the American Dream will be built and is actively connecting a host of volunteers from across the country with the neighborhood community to build the Temple together.

Black Rock Arts Foundation

Black Rock Arts Foundation supports and promotes community-based interactive art. The creation, display and character of this art should inspire active connections between people in the larger community. BRAF provided the initial challenge funding for the Detroit Dream Project. Financial donations are made through BRAF, whose federal 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status makes donations tax deductible (ID #91-2130056). Additionally, BRAF is donating structural engineering services, logistical support, and process guidance.