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Neighbors Create “Fiber Art on the Ave”


After nearly two years of planning, fundraising and creating, Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion (between 7 Mile and Outer Drive) will be dressed up in an array of fiber art created by local children, teens and adults.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 during the annual Detroit Design Festival event, Detroit Fiber Works will preview its Knight Arts Challenge project, “Fiber Art on the Ave”. When completed, the 150 foot outdoor fiber art installation will be comprised of two rectangular metal and wood structures, connected by solar light fixtures and adorned with fiber art.

The installation is a collaborative effort between Detroit Fiber Works, a black-owned, woman-owned creative gallery, and U of D Mercy’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center, and incorporates art created by several dozen residents of neighborhoods surrounding the historic “Avenue of Fashion.”

The median on Livernois between Outer Drive and Cambridge will be adorned with more than 70 unique works of art, including twine lanterns, fiber art bowls, eco-dyed scarves and mixed-media weavings, in a rainbow of colors.  

Participants ranging in age from 9 years to 60+ in small group workshops, were taught fiber art techniques including wet felting, eco-dyeing and weaving using natural fibers, plant materials and mixed media materials.   “The workshops were so much fun and I learned how to do lots of different techniques that I had never even heard of before. I’m really proud to be part of an effort to make my neighborhood a more interesting and artistic place.” said Deena Allen, one of the teens who participated in the workshops.

Each workshop series began with an hours-long tour of existing public art in Detroit, led by the Detroit Experience Factory, with visits to Dabl’s African Bead Museum, Lincoln Street Art Park, City Sculpture Park, the DIA, and other “artful” locations. Workshop participants and community members also attended brainstorming sessions to express their views on the installation design.

 “With Detroit now named a UNESCO City of Design, we are thrilled to have made it possible for ordinary citizens to put their stamp on the design esthetic of Northwest Detroit. We had a unique opportunity to create what we call ‘Public Art Created by the Public.’” said Mandisa Smith, co-owner of Detroit Fiber Works.

The project was made possible with support from the State of Michigan Public Spaces Community Places Grant, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Experience Factory, Detroit Luxury Transportation, the Surface Design Association, and more than 100 individual donors who helped to match the Knight Foundation’s $20,000 grant last year.

The celebration will begin at 5 p.m. Sept. 24, and expected to attend is Dave Walker, the City of Detroit’s new Director of Design for the Department of Planning and Development. Workshop participants will demonstrate various fiber art techniques throughout the evening, both on the Livernois median and inside Detroit Fiber Works, at 19359 Livernois Ave. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to create their own eco-printed paper. Donations toward completion of the project will be accepted in any amount.

The date also marks “Light Up Livernois” and the third anniversary of the four Livernois businesses that made their debut in September, 2013 as winners of Detroit Economic Growth Corporations “Revolve Detroit” program. Like Detroit Fiber Works, all are black-owned, woman-owned businesses: Art In Motion, Good Cakes and Bakes, and Love Travels Imports.

The Fiber Art on the Ave installation is expected to be completed by Fall, 2016 and will remain on the median indefinitely. “Because fiber art is, by its very nature, temporary, especially when exposed to the elements, the installation will forever be evolving. That makes it even more exciting!” said Smith.

A Great Big Thank You!


Our Online Patronicity campaign ended on November 30, and thanks to so many wonderful people, we achieved our goal! A BIG Thank You to everyone who made a contribution, posted their support, sent emails to friends, sent us good vibrations, or supported us in any way!

Our Financial supporters:


Conceptual rendering by the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture

Conceptual Rendering by Detroit Collaborative Design Center, University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture. Final design and installation to be created through the efforts of community members, artists and businesses.

Jennifer Alridge, Kevin Guy Anderson, Melvin & Patricia Askew, Genet Asnake, Dora Badger, Jena Baker-Calloway, Barbara & Spencer Barefield, Alana Barter, Katherine & Julian Bass, James Bland, Dr. LaVerne Bostic, April Boyle, Dr. Debra Brodie, Kathryn Brown, Marjorie Brown, Charlotte Brown, Daryle Brown, Alice Brown, Cecile Keith Brown, Trevis Cage, Evan Carr, Halima Cassells, Mahala Clayton, Alicia Clinton, April Cobb, Desiree Cooper, Augustine Cox, Tosha Cox, Cheryl Danley, Ella Davis, Paralee Day, Rose DeSloover, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Soup, Sarah Donnelly, Amy Draybuck, Tracey Edwards, Ann Eskridge,  Estate of Dorothy Korchak, Kimberly Fracassa,  Fred A. & Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Karen Gaither, Derek Gardner, Marcie Greenfield, Marjorie Grevious, Trever Harris, Al & Kathy Harrison, Algea Harrison-Hale, Cynthia Hepburn, Laura Host, Bruce & Debra Hunt, Sue Kawamoto, Denise Kinlaw, Julia Kowalski, Julie La Framboise, Lindiwe Lester, Khalil Ligon, Leon & Jametta Lilly, Jason Lindy, Vickie Elmer & Mark Loeb, Priscilla Lynch, Greg Mangan, Barry McDonald, Nancy Minckler, Joan Mitchell, Jejuan Moy, Kenneth Peebles, Larry Allen Peplin, Jane Larson & Kevin Peterson, Dan Pitera, Walter Pookrum, Jodee & Roy Raines, Paul Reece, Patricia Rencher, Shirley Richards, Ericka Richards, Lauren Rivers, Nancy & John Rodwan, Cathy Samanen, Brittany Sanders, Sally Schwartz, Jackie Sellers, Delphia Simmons, Nyamekye Smith, Audley Smith, Pat Solonke, Laurie Sparks, Carol Stanley, Margaret Tucker, Sharon Dell Pryor, Charlene Uresy, Sharon Vlahovich, Tobi Voigt, Cynthia Walat, Monna Wejrowski, Cheryl Willette, Tracey Williams, Cynthia Williams, Lynda Willingham, Kay Willingham, Paulette Wilson, Angela Young and Numerous Anonymous Donors

If you made a contribution and did not intend to remain anonymous, please contact us so that we can include you in our public expressions of gratitude.

Help Detroit Fiber Works Bring More Art to the avenue of fashion! this is what we are going to do:


Host free fiber art workshops for children, teens and adults in our community, including lectures, field trips and hands-on creation of fiber art using a variety techniques including quilting, felting, eco-dyeing, crochet, stitchery, etc. There will be three six-week sessions with twenty participants in each session.

Construct an outdoor art installation on the Avenue of Fashion median, created with fiber art made by participants in the free fiber art workshops, with design input from neighborhood residents and area businesses. The Detroit Collaborative Design Center at U of D Mercy School of Architecture is assisting us with the design and installation.


This is a HUGE project. We will use your donation for art materials, teaching fees, transportation, architectural design consultation and construction.


Our online campaign ended on November 30, but you can still make a tax deductible contribution. Make your check payable to The Avenue of Fashion Business Association, a registered 501(c)3. Please put 'Detroit Fiber Works' in the memo to ensure proper allocation of funds, and mail to Detroit Fiber Works, 19359 Livernois, Detroit MI 48221.

Sign up for updates. Complete the "SUBSCRIBE" form to receive updates about this campaign and all other Detroit Fiber Works events.

Tell EVERYBODY! For questions or more info, you can reach us at 313-610-5111 or 313-457-3431.