Library Street Collective co-founders Anthony & JJ Curis announced plans today to expand the footprint of their cultural plans in Detroit’s East Village neighborhood with the redevelopment of a mixed-use building which will serve as headquarters for two local arts non-profits, Signal-Return and PASC (Progressive Arts Studio Collective). The Curises have partnered with New York-based architectural firm OMA, led by Partner Jason Long, to transform the vacant 22,300 square foot building at 9301 Kercheval, formerly a commercial bakery built in the early 1900s, and realize this bold new paradigm for arts education and public space. Nicknamed ‘LANTERN’, the building will also include roughly 5,300 square feet of affordable artist studio spaces, an art gallery, and nearly 4,000 square feet of creative retail – all connected by a 2,000 square foot outdoor courtyard that will serve as an accessible community space and open-air lobby.

“The core of our mission in East Village is focused on creating an inclusive community centered around the arts. Progressive Art Studio Collective (PASC) and Signal-Return are two highly impactful nonprofits providing vital support and inspiration to the local arts community. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the neighborhood,” said Anthony Curis.

Image courtesy of the artist

PASC and Signal-Return will anchor the development at 9301 Kercheval, occupying roughly 8,500 square feet of combined space on the main level of the building. PASC, a program of the disability services organization, STEP (Services to Enhance Potential), is the first art studio and exhibition program dedicated to supporting adults with developmental disabilities and mental health differences in Detroit and Wayne County. The new headquarters for PASC, which has served over 130 artists with disabilities to date, will provide studio space, workshops, and a gallery to showcase the work of artists participating in the program. Signal-Return is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and teaching traditional letterpress printing in Detroit. The new flagship location will provide an opportunity to further expand upon its programming, which includes hands-on workshops, exhibitions, educational partnerships, and the sale of prints, ephemera and gifts that focus primarily on the work of Detroit-based artists.

“PASC has quickly grown since launching in 2021, and we’ve been eager to find a permanent studio and gallery space. We’re grateful to find partners in the Curises who share our vision of fostering an inclusive and diverse arts community in Detroit. We can’t think of a better place that will offer this level of access to a growing and vibrant arts community in the city,” said Anthony Marcellini, PASC Program Manager.

"As we work with the Curises to establish our presence in this growing cultural district, we will expand our mission and our programmatic offerings by increasing the hours of Open Studio access, the number of artists and Detroiters working in the studio, and the exposure and market for the artists’ work," said Lynne Avadenka, Director of Signal Return.

Image courtesy of the artist

OMA’s design takes advantage of the building’s current state of disrepair, transforming an area missing both its roof and an end wall into a courtyard at the heart of the building. Defined as the primary entrance, the courtyard will be a both public, accessible gateway and a center of activity. Signal-Return and PASC’s diverse set of programs—art education, production and exhibitions—are organized within and across the existing structures to maximize access for the community. Production zones and artist studios create an active and inviting face to Amity Street; galleries line the courtyard to reinforce a public heart for the building; and neighborhood serving functions open to all are orchestrated on the opposite side of the courtyard to consolidate the most public amenities along Kercheval Avenue.

The existing, bricked or boarded up openings will be strategically transformed into operable windows for studios, extruded art vitrines for galleries, and larger openings for production spaces. The south building faces the intersection of two prominent streets, Kercheval and McClellan, but is currently a solid expanse of concrete masonry (CMU). Rather than imposing a new composition of windows, 1,500 holes will be drilled into the blank CMU walls and filled with cylindrical glass blocks. This monolithic field of openings will subtly reveal activities within and become a glowing lantern at night.

“PASC and Signal-Return are both extraordinary organizations with a multi-faceted approach to community building through the arts. To support and enhance their ambitions, we are both turning the building in on itself and opening it out toward the neighborhood—bringing a new density of activity and creative life to East Village,” said Jason Long, OMA Partner.

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