It Takes A Village, Part Two: Party At The Belt

8 / 4 / 2022

This year, Library Street Collective celebrates their 10th Anniversary of being the most auspicious art gallery in the Midwest (scientific fact). To coincide with their anniversary celebration, the gallery hosted a one-night-only group exhibition entitled It Takes A Village, bringing together 70+ participating artists to raise funds for the collective’s new skatepark. Audetorium was invited to cover the event and tell the story of their experience during the celebration. This is Part Two of that story.

The crowd flooded in as soon as the doors opened to the gallery. The room was packed like a sardine with a large range of art enthusiasts. Some were there to gawk at the celebrities, both local and international, some were there to admire the paintings that packed every inch of the space with work by artists like Shepard Fairey, Philip K. Smith and Kelsey Brookes.

As the crowd moved in I shuffled my way through them in the other direction. I was on a mission. Once outside away from the cacophony of the clambering crowd, I was met with the sound of music playing throughout The Belt. If you aren’t aware of what The Belt is, let me help you out. In the heart of downtown Detroit’s former garment district, there is an alleyway separating two sides of a large parking structure known as the Z Parking Garage. In the early days of Library Street Collective, the young gallerists were commissioned to curate artwork from multiple artists that would change the parking structure from a simple cement parking garage into an elevated work of art.

Library Street Collective then took the art further out of the structure and, by bringing in artists and businesses, turned the belt, which at the time was simply an underutilized alley connecting two main streets, into one of Detroit’s most dynamic nightlife attractions. They created an outdoor gallery that showcases work from a revolving set of local, national and international artists known as Public Matter. They grew their gallery into a much larger space that would attract more people and by showcasing larger exhibitions. And they added businesses like the black-light riddled basement club Deluxx Fluxx, The Skip, and Standby - the restaurant that I was currently racing to in order to get there in time for the last bit of a free dinner.

After rubbing elbows with all the artists at the restaurant and ordering a beer for each pocket, I wandered back into The Belt, passing Tony Hawk once again as I made my way outside. By now, The Belt was beginning to fill up, guests from the gallery spilling out onto the dance floor where Walshy Fire of Major Lazer had taken his place on stage.

Wandering through the gallery while my photographer KP took portraits of the artists by their work, I had a chance to really take in the entire event. So many of my favorite artists like Daniel Arsham and Shepard Fairey had their work hanging on the walls next to some of my new favorite artists like Wendy White and Natalie Wadlington. All of these incredible artists came together to help celebrate Library Street Collective’s 10th anniversary and to support the skatepark that they’re building. A testament to the loyalty these artists feel to the Detroit gallery that has supported them and their craft for the last decade.

As the night moved on, the crowd continued to grow and as the party turned into an after party at Deluxx Fluxx, I did everything I could to drink enough to keep moving but not so much that I wouldn’t wake up to my alarm the following morning. Although the gallery show was a one night event, my coverage would continue on into tomorrow when I would be meeting up with Chef Matty Matheson and figuring out a way to sneak into a dinner he would be preparing for the artists later that evening.

Written by:

Kalvin Lazarte

Photography by:

Kyle Powell