House of Art in Eastern Market offers Red Bull sponsorship for local artists
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — Tucked away on Winder Street in Detroit’s Eastern Market, the Red Bull House of Art is a new institution providing an environment for young artists to develop their craft.
The facility provides space for artists to bring their visions to life. Once a month, the gallery hosts an open house for folks to mix, mingle and experience new and exciting art in Detroit.
On June 13, the Red Bull House of Art will host another edition of their “Drinks X Design” series, which gives local design artists a chance to speak on their ideas and creations, while visitors can enjoy cocktails.
This month will feature architect Todd Heidgerken and designer Bethany Shorb. The talk will be from 5-5:30 p.m. The studio will be open to the public, ages 21 and up, from 5:30-8 p.m.
Works from Kristen Adamczyk, William Harris, Lisa Poszywak, Kevin Skinner, Greg Siemasz, Lindy Shewbridge, Tylonn Sawyer and Ellen Rutt will be on display. Sponsors for the “Drinks X Design” event include the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, The Metro Times and Quicken Loans.
Although any institution that contributes to growing the resources of artists in the city should be welcomed, RB’s House of Art exemplifies a difficult dilemma facing Detroit as the city continues the redevelopment of its urban landscape.
One one end, corporate investors are implementing their vision of the city’s future through building developments and new business ventures sprouted through grants and investments.
On the other, grassroots initiatives throughout the communities are generating visionary solutions to many of the root problems facing the city but still struggle to develop institutions due to a lack of funding.
Gaining access to corporate-sponsored institutions can prove difficult due to the nature of their solutions favoring people’s rights over profits.
What is clear, though, is that corporate sponsors reaching worldwide markets have much to gain as a global brand by offering cultural development services to Detroit, which even in hard times, has a stellar reputation for art and music across the world.
For a modest investment, companies can contribute to the local arts and, in return, use that as investment in marketing their own cultural capital.
In a three-day celebration prior to the Movement Electronic Music Festival held during Memorial Day weekend in Hart Plaza, RB’s House of Art presented the free event called “Synesthesia.”
Seven Detroit electronic music artists showcased their talents with both a live DJ set and visual art display in the gallery.
Ron Zakrin and Matthew Hawtin were the featured music performers during the event, and a packed crowd flowed into the basement of the Eastern Market warehouse to experience the energetic atmosphere. Complimentary beer, wine and mixed drinks kept the room loose. Signs throughout the building told attendees that they could expect to be filmed or photographed during their stay and that Red Bull would retain those visual rights for their marketing purposes.
Red Bull provides resources and promotions, and in exchange, Detroit provides them culture. The company has built its brand over the years in this manner through its sponsorship of artists and various events.
The Red Bull Music Academy is one example of a sub-brand that presents concerts and exclusive seminars with music artists, in addition to their sporting events featuring surfing, motorsports and skateboarding.
In total, Red Bull exemplifies the “lifestyle brand,” a company attempting to embody the values of a targeted market or culture. Other examples of lifestyle brands targeting youth include Nike and Pepsi Cola, which have grown successful because of their marketing but often don’t display strong social values in turn.
In Detroit, artists and musicians within the Food Justice movement confront nutritionally deficient products like Red Bull that market themselves to young people as food and beverage alternatives, products available in many corner stores that contribute to public health crises like diabetes.
Red Bull ingredients, such as caffeine and sugar, offer only quick boosts of energy, which pale compared to a balanced diet and proper amounts of fresh water.
Developing a long-term sustainable arts movement for Detroit is part of a larger healing process that should also work to promote the healthy values of proper nutrition and environmental responsibility.
However, for adults seeking to network and connect with some of today’s brightest artists in the city and for artists seeking sponsorship to help realize their vision, the Eastern Market location is an intriguing and dynamic way to experience the voices and vision of some of the city’s current creators.
The Red Bull House of Art is located at 1551 Winder St. in Eastern Market. For more information, visit www.redbullhouseofart.com