michigan radio picture project

Ali Lapetina / Michigan Radio Detroit Journalism Cooperative

One thing that strikes us about Detroit – as the city teetered on the brink of insolvency, then entered Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, and finally, last week, officially emerged from bankruptcy – is that life in the Motor City goes on.

We asked photographer Ali Lapetina to take her camera all over the city in a single day, and shoot pictures from before sunrise until after sunset. What she captured is exactly that: the life that keeps beating in Michigan's oldest and biggest and most complicated city.

Here are some of the people who remain in Detroit after the bankruptcy is over, and will be part of its future.

Paige Pfleger

In a city like Detroit, urban art and outdoor art installments have become a way to beautify neglected spaces. The alleyway between the Z Garage, called The Belt is one of the most recent spots in Detroit to get a facelift — it has been turned into an outdoor gallery where international, national, and local urban artists have contributed murals and graffiti pieces.

Search for images of Detroit and you're likely to find pictures of abandoned buildings and crumbling walls filled with graffiti – urban blight captured by the camera's lens.

In recent years, however, communities have embraced some graffiti artists.

The increase in the amount of sanctioned graffiti art is the focus of our most recent "Michigan Radio Picture Project." The Picture Project is a forum for photographers who capture Michigan's people, places, events, and issues.

Doug Coombe

Eighteen-year-old sculptor Austen Brantley makes some pretty impressive art. But don't take our word for it, check out these photos of Austen's work, at the Michigan Radio Picture Project.

Professionals in the art world agree. "It's just amazing to see the amount of talent that he has at 18 years old. He’s right up there with some of his peers that are in their 30s and 40s," says Garnette Archer, owner of Jo’s Gallery in Detroit.

Hip Hop duo Passalacqua in front of the Detroit Institute of the Arts checking out part of the 4 mile long hopscotch course the was created during the Detroit Design Festival.
Doug Coombe / Michigan Radio Picture Project

Michigan Radio’s Picture Project is an experimental blog and forum for photographs that address Michigan people, places, events, and issues.

See the site for new features on Grand Rapids ArtPrize 2012 and Detroit Design Festival 2012.

Now in its fourth year, ArtPrize is an open art competition sprawling across downtown Grand Rapids--in galleries, on the street, and all over the city.

Doug Aikenhead / Michigan Radio Picture Project

You can file this story under "silver lining."

Michigan's recession has left a lot of empty buildings in its wake. When James Marks was looking for a larger building to house his t-shirt and flat screen printing company, VG Kids, he looked at a two-story brick building on Railroad Street in Ypsilanti.

The building had plenty of space, but was divided into dozens of small rooms. Marks says the space wasn't a good fit for his company, but it was perfect for artists’ studios: