African-inspired art lights up Detroit

Driving eastbound on I-96 through Detroit, you might see it out of the corner of your eye — a brief burst of light and color as you pass West Grand Boulevard. That fleeting flash of brilliance is Detroit’s African Bead Museum, a remarkable but unheralded collection of outdoor art on the city’s west side.

Started ten years ago by the artist Dabl, the open-air exhibit celebrates African language and culture through an exuberant display of broken mirrors, beads, colorful paint, and found objects. The collection consists of two brightly adorned buildings, a found art exhibit (“Iron Teaching Rocks How to Rust”), a community garden, a sidewalk mural featuring the scripts of African languages, and a small shop, Dabl’s Perette’s, which is filled to the brim with gorgeous African beads and jewelry.

It’s truly a sight to behold, and further evidence that Detroit deserves to be a national arts destination. You can check it our for yourself at 6559 Grand River Avenue, Detroit, MI 48208. It’s near the junction of W. Grand Boulevard, Grand River Avenue, and I-96, right across from Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church and Northern High School. Be sure to stop into the store, too, to meet the artist and peruse his fabulous collection of African beads.

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6 thoughts on “African-inspired art lights up Detroit

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  2. John Morris

    This is wonderful! Could I use an image or two for my blog about art’s and cultural stuff in the Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron, Pittsburgh Region?

    Or better, yet–would you consider doing a guest post? (just email me)

    We have some similar things happening, particularly in the Mon Valley towns like Braddock where several art collectives are operating and trying to start art projects.

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  4. Cooper Post author

    Sorry for taking so long to respond — life got in the way of blogging. By all means, use the images if you’d like — just link back to the original post. I’d also be happy to write a guest post. I visited Youngstown last fall and hope to explore Cleveland soon. All of the Rust Belt cities are struggling toward the same goal of revitalization, and the more we share amongst each other the better.

  5. Pingback: MBAD'S African Bead Museum in Detroit. |

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