Neighborhood Art School
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Clairmount Studios is the name of a duplex in our neighborhood of Detroit and is dedicated to providing affordable arts programming to residents.  It came about as a collaboration between Central Detroit Christian (a community development nonprofit), a grant from Kresge Arts, and a group of artists who live in the neighborhood. The right side of the duplex is occupied by The Red and The Storiers and the left side of the duplex is run by my wife, Sarah, and I. We are developing a center for place-based education called the Neighborhood Art School (NAS).  


We believe that art is already here in our lives, in our neighborhood and in our community. Art is not a distant thing to achieve. It is present. We don't have to earn a right to know what is beautiful or good. But in order to grow, we do have to learn and work. The good news is, we can begin right here and learn anything we want.  

Here are a few keys ideas that are shaping the Neighborhood Art School.


We are place-based: We learn the art history of our neighborhood, the art history of our city, our country, and our world. NAS encourages makers to be aware of the richness around them as they explore the richness of the world.  NAS encourages makers to develop their own canon. NAS is located inside a specific neighborhood in a specific city. We want to begin to experience our creativity where we are at. Our imagination and art is limitless, but it begins with us.


We are intergenerational: The arts are a part of the fabric of our lives. In this neighborhood, we grow up as a community learning the language of music and art. This collaborative learning never stops. The young learn from the elders learn from the young. And the cycle keeps going. 


We are student and community-led: The studios and pedagogy begin with the student's raw creativity, then access to equipment, then a library of curated tutorials, then introductory weekend classes, then ongoing classes taught by instructors, then masterclasses, then one on one mentorship. But the teaching always follows and supports the creativity and curiosity of the learners. 


We promote cyclical growth: Neighborhood art school is a place to both learn and perform so that the circle of creativity (learning, making, sharing, learning) keeps flowing between each other in our community and in our city.

We are an ecosystem: We focus our resources and attention on supporting the creative life of a community and therefore are drawn to supporting a vibrant creative ecosystem. No artist comes out of nowhere.

Ways to support this project

All donations for the Neighborhood Art House are tax-deductible and go through Central Detroit Christian.You can donate online, ACH direct debit or by mail. Please make sure to make a note that your donation is for the "Neighborhood Art School / Billy & Sarah Mark"