The Detroit Institute of Arts and Midtown Detroit Inc. are launching a design competition to reimagine the museum’s grounds as a public plaza that could act as a gathering point for the whole city.

DIA director Salvador Salort-Pons has long said he wants the plaza around the museum to become an inviting “town square” of the sort found in European cities, one that could help connect the DIA to its neighbors.

Interested landscape architects and other designers are asked to submit their qualifications by April 30. Eight firms will be picked and will make public presentations in June. Eventually, three finalists will present plans next January.

A nine-person jury including Salort-Pons, University of Michigan architecture dean Jonathan Massey and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s president and CEO Juanita Moore will make the determination.

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