Friday, February 13, 2009

Detroit: Arsenal of Creativity

Here's a good article by Jenny Lee of Allied Media Projects about grassroots ideas for revitalizing Detroit's flagging economy, including expanding access to broadband internet, cultivating the local music economy, and encouraging local media production.

Michigan economic development officials are targeting the film industry as one component of a business development strategy for Detroit. But much, much more could potentially be done to build a stronger media-arts based economy.

WireTap Magazine - Detroit: Arsenal of Creativity

"Amid the current crisis we have an opportunity to fill the gap in our region's economy with diverse local initiatives, including community-based media, which thrives off the city's creative past and present."

"Ensuring that every household in Detroit has access to affordable, high-speed Internet has the potential to transform everything from education to public safety. Every year, the Allied Media Conference showcases new forms of collaborative learning through the Internet -- from environmental justice Google maps to digital storytelling exchanges between youth of color in the U.S. and youth in Palestine. These kinds of projects utilize the Internet to expand
students' belief in what's possible..."

"Barry Gordy started Motown Records with an $800 loan from his family. It went on to become the largest independent record label in the world before it was sold to MCA in 1988.
But today in Detroit, the city with the highest high school drop-out rate in the country, the easiest way for a young person to develop their entrepreneurial skills is by selling drugs. That's the conclusion reached by the Detroit Summer Live Arts Media Project, a youth media organization that has been conducting research into the city's drop-out crisis and proposing solutions. The study also found that schools don't teach students realistic, independent
strategies for turning their dreams into realities. Instead, young, talented artists hold onto the unrealistic dream of getting signed to a major record label."

"Detroit should look at models such as the High School for Recording Arts for lessons on how to integrate media arts and independent economics into the standard curriculum. With schools in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York, HSRA is designed to retain youth who might otherwise drop out of school."

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