Detroit is busting out in beautiful graffiti, like this glorious example above stretching around the old Wayne Foundry & Stamping plant.
Something is trying to happen in Detroit, and art is trying to tell us about it. Perhaps the wildest thing is that people want to be there. They are seeking to be there. The rental occupancy rate in the city center is 98 percent. Every time we visit, which is often, we see more and more positive signs.
As one little example, a year ago, we went downtown for dinner, and for the first time in ever, we could not find parking. We could not. The weather was terrible, it was late, but the streets were thronged. People were out walking around and shopping and going places and living their lives. It was just life, but in a way I had not seen downtown for decades.
Who understands the sources of creativity and change? But to see the little explosions of beauty that you find all over Detroit now is to see how the city is psychologically near a crossroads. Much of it is still on the hard desperate path down. A lot has been done to break it. A lot still is being done. But despite that, people want to remake Detroit. Not bring it back, because you can never bring back the dead, but make something new here.
I think of the young people who live in Detroit – the college-educated kids in their 20s and 30s who have moved there in the hundreds and thousands in the last couple of years, but even more the kids who were born there and are growing up there. They are the ones who are hungry to be more and, if they can, make their world more.
Detroit is ready to go beyond the broken places. I am only catching glimpses of that, from a distance, through the window of graffiti like this one.