The Library Street Collective (LSC) contemporary art gallery builds further on its vision to reanimate Detroit’s East Village neighborhood as a community-driven cultural hub for the Motor City. As announced late last week, LSC, which itself is housed in the historic LB King and Company building in downtown Detroit, has acquired a long-vacant industrial building at 9301 Kercheval Avenue, which previously housed a commercial bakery and warehouse, and transforms it into a multi-faceted arts hub featuring artist studios, galleries, offices for a pair of local non-profit arts organizations, and creative retail space.
LSC’s reimagining of the 1900s structure into a bustling arts center is the latest in a series of high profile adaptive reuse projects led by OMA Director Jason Long, including POST Houston (the first phase was acclaimed last November) and the more recently announced Center Pompidou x Jersey City. Partner Chris Yoon and project architect Samuel Biroscak join Long from OMA’s New York office. Metro CAD Group of Detroit serves as executive architect.
Dubbed LANTERN, the project comes just months after LSC announced plans for the Shepherd, a bustling 2.5-acre campus for the East Village’s booming cultural district anchored by a 111-year-old Romanesque-style Catholic church. years old which is being converted (with a distinctly respectful touch) into an arts and community space by Peterson Rich Office. Outside, the church grounds and adjacent vacant lots will also become a lush strip of public green space designed by New York-based OSD. Other notable elements of the Shepherd campus are a planned sculpture garden named for legendary late Detroit artist Charles McGee, a Tony Hawk-designed public skatepark-slash-community space featuring McArthur Binion, an event lawn , a bed and breakfast housed in the former presbytery of the church, and much more.
Meanwhile, just a five-minute walk down McClellan Avenue from the ongoing Shepherd Campus, LANTERN will offer a total program area of 21,400 square feet.
Much of the decaying building’s resurrected footprint (approximately 8,500 square feet) will be devoted to serving as the new headquarters for Signal-Return, a nonprofit letterpress printing company currently based in Eastern Market, and PASC (Progressive Arts Studio Collective), a program of Detroit STEP’s Disability Services Program that ranks as Detroit/Wayne County’s premier art studio and exhibition program exclusively dedicated to supporting adults with developmental disabilities and differences in mental health. Together, the two nonprofits will anchor OMA’s redeveloped industrial space, with PASC securing spacious new digs to include a new gallery, studio, and workshops, and Signal-Return populating a new East flagship location. Village which “will provide an opportunity to further expand its programming, which includes hands-on workshops, exhibitions, educational partnerships, and the sale of prints, ephemera, and gifts that primarily focus on the work of Detroit-based artists. according to a recent press announcement.
“The core of our mission in East Village is focused on creating an inclusive arts-centered community,” LSC co-founder Anthony Curis said in a statement. “Progressive Art Studio Collective (PASC) and Signal-Return are two very impactful non-profit organizations that provide vital support and inspiration to the local arts community. We are delighted to welcome them to the neighborhood.
“PASC and Signal-Return are two amazing organizations with a multi-faceted approach to community building through the arts,” added Long. “To support and enhance their ambitions, we are turning both the building inward and outward to bring a new density of activity and creative living to East Village.”
Joining the new non-profit twin HQs at LANTERN will, as previously mentioned, be 1,000 square feet of gallery space, 5,300 square feet dedicated to artist studios and 4,000 square feet of retail space and of restoration.
At the heart of the new cultural complex, the OMA has imagined a 2,000 square foot outdoor public courtyard that will serve as an “accessible community space and activity condenser”. The courtyard space takes advantage of an area of the existing building in a state of disrepair, lacking both an end wall and a roof. As a more detailed press announcement, bricked and boarded-up sections of the building’s facade (and there are many) will be removed to allow for functional fenestration, while gallery space windows will be extruded to serve as art showcases.
Last but not least, at the corner of Kercherval and McClellan, an expanse of windowless concrete masonry will not gain proper new windows. Instead, 1,500 holes will be drilled into the existing walls and filled with cylindrical glass blocks. At night, this “monolithic field of openings” will be illuminated, further giving the reborn building the appearance of its namesake light source.
A project schedule for LANTERNE has yet to be announced.