SC: A young photog on the rise; repainting Detroit

Susan Whitall and Chuck Bennett

A photog on the move

Art lovers and style seekers are taking note of Ackeem Salmon, an up-and-coming fine arts and fashion photographer who’s been setting the local art world on fire. Ackeem and his family moved here from Kingston, Jamaica, in November and, in that short time, he’s been busy booking exhibitions and winning awards. Did we mention that Ackeem is 17? Earlier this month, he won the 2015 National NAACP ACT-SO photography competition in Philadelphia. “It was an overwhelming experience when I heard my name being called as the gold medalist,” he said. Ackeem also racked up awards at the Detroit School of Arts, where he finished up in June.

On Saturday, Ackeem will be featured in an artist reception, “Visionary Voices II” at Sweet Potato Sensations, 17337 Lahser in Detroit. Wings and waffles are on the house, and the exhibition lasts through Sept. 5. On July 31 the Sherwood Forest Art Gallery will present Ackeem and another teen artist, Austen Brantley, in an exhibit that will run through Aug. 2. “My inspiration is everything around me,” Ackeem said. “My passion for theater and writing take my fashion and fine art photography to a higher level.” In the fall, he’ll start at the College for Creative Studies, majoring in advertising design. You can see Ackeem on “Detroit Performs” at 7 p.m. Tuesday on Detroit Public Television.

Helping to paint the town

The folks at the nonprofit Block by Block and Motor City Blight Busters are in a bit of a quandary. As part of their quest to beautify Detroit, their goal was to scrape and paint all the homes on Marquette Drive south of Jefferson, a neighborhood that could use some love. The good people at Behr Paint in California were kind enough to donate and deliver 250 gallons of exterior paint for the task, and a team of volunteers was prepped and ready to go. But then … “We were told that the volunteers were not permitted to climb ladders, making it impossible to paint the two-story homes,” said Shawna Peplinski of Block by Block. “We received generous $5,000 donations from the Roostertail and Oakland Civic Charities Foundation, but we still need more to do this properly and effectively. So we’re looking for monetary donations and/or professional painters who will donate their services under their own liability.” Sinbad’s restaurant also donated. If you’re interested in helping paint the town with Block by Block, call Peplinski at (313) 822-1234, ext. 149.

Strother family expands

We don’t always get to announce a blessed event here, but as it’s the first grandchildren of the late Shelby Strother, our former colleague and much-loved Detroit News sports columnist, we couldn’t resist. Shelby’s son, Tommy Strother, and wife, Becky, welcomed fraternal twins Aidan Jeffrey and Katarina Lee Strother at St. John Hospital on Detroit’s east side on Monday and Tuesday, respectively (the delivery took a while). Proud grandma Kim Strother is up from Florida to help out. “To make it perfect, Katarina was born on her grandpa Shelby’s birthday. “She had to make a grand entrance on behalf of her grandfather!” Kim said. Shelby covered many momentous events for The News, in addition to sports, including the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He died of cancer very suddenly in March 1991, 24 years ago.