Thursday, August 5, 2010

Solidarity Economics in the Erstwhile Motor City

Yesterday, The New York Times Art & Design blog carried a story about artists working among the ruins of postindustrial Detroit. One of the featured items was a monthly artist-run dinner/community funding project called "Soup."

Basically, what happens is someone volunteers to make the main course and others then donate side dishes and such. People pay $5 each to attend and then vote on proposals submitted in advance for using the proceeds from the evening. More than 100 people attended the event last Sunday, which took place above a bakery in the southwest Detroit neighborhood known as Mexicantown. (Pictured right: Voting booths @ Soup. Photo credit: Louis Aguilar via iPhone.)

This is an excellent example of the merging of citizenship and consumption. The proposal selected for funding was a plan to improve a small park located in one of Detroit's rebounding residential communities, Woodbridge, which dates back to the 19th century. Volunteers will use the money to buy materials for repairing playground equipment, upgrading the site, and other clean-up consumables.

Click here to read a more extended post on the evening published on another blog I edit, Motown Review of Art.

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