New Detroit gallery on The Belt features 'portal' into art world

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News
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A Detroit alley transformed into one of the city's biggest public art destinations has a new feature — a unique "portal" to literally peek inside the art world.

On Saturday, Library Street Collective opens its new flagship gallery connected to The Belt, featuring an opening with sculpted bricks and glass to see inside. Located just off Library Street on the ground floor of the historic L.B. King & Company Building, the new 1,600 square foot gallery was designed by New York-based Snarkitecture.

Library Street Collective's new flagship gallery on The Belt features an opening with sculpted brick and glass to see inside. The Belt is between Broadway and Library Street and links Gratiot and Grand River.

The goal was to connect the new gallery's programming with the pieces the gallery has in The Belt and the portal allows that, said Library Street Collective Co-Founder Anthony Curis.

It's "sculpted out of the original brick facade of the building that functions as both an art installation in the Belt as well as a glass window into the gallery," he said.

The Belt, which opened in 2014 and is located in the alley between Broadway and Library Street, has become a big tourist destination in Detroit, featuring large scale works by both local and national artists, including Conrad Egyir, Ellen Rutt, Nina Chanel Abney and Shepard Fairey. Curis said when they transformed the Belt in 2014, they always hoped it would be a space where artists could engage with Detroit.

"The response that we’ve received has been truly rewarding," said Curis in an email. "What was once a desolate alley is now one of the most pedestrian and active public spaces in the city."

And with Library Street's new gallery, they'll have more room for exhibitions and programming. Curis said they'd outgrown their original gallery space on Library Street, which opened roughly 10 years. They plan to use it as a private gallery space and office.

Alex Mustonen, co-founder of Snarkitecture, said it was an honor to work on the historic L.B. King & Company building. Built in 1911, the six-story building with a white terra cotta facade is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"We cannot wait to see how Library Street Collective will take full advantage of the space,” said Mustonen in a press release.

The new gallery's inaugural exhibition is "Light" by Sam Friedman, curated by KAWS. KAWS is the same artist who created the quirky "Waiting" sculpture in front of One Compuware. It runs through April 3.

'Light'

  • An exhibition featuring the works of Sam Friedman, curated by KAWS, through April 3.
  • Library Street Collective's new flagship gallery, 1274 Library St. in Detroit
  • Visits by appointment only.
  • To schedule a visit, go to lscgallery.com/visit.

mfeighan@detroitnews.com

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