Rhonda Bishop (MPP ) offers this field report from her summer 2016 internship at the Detroit Creative Corridor Center in Detroit, Michigan.
The space is a fun, eclectic mix of industrial décor and bold patterns. Bright posters adorn the walls and artistic work spaces serve as a welcoming space for creative innovation. When you walk into the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), the studio reflects the organization's core mission: to strengthen Detroit's creative economy and connect people to it.
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Before my internship, I had very little exposure to Detroit nor did I comprehend the city's rich legacy as a global epicenter of design. Detroit is filled with iconic buildings and has attracted some of the most distinguished architects in the world. It is home to internationally renowned educational institutions and over half of Michigan's design workforce resides in Detroit. An economic study conducted in 2008 determined that strengthening Detroit's creative economy was essential for the city's revitalization efforts.
Created in 2010, DC3 has played a meaningful role in strengthening the creative economy by serving as a valuable resource to creative professionals and design-reliant industries through offering business services, marketing exposure, and professional networks to the Detroit creative community. Over the years, DC3's entrepreneurial services have evolved from a respected business accelerator to their flagship membership program, Creative Co., which in two years has generated over $57.4 million in revenue and $1.2 million in investments. Additionally, they worked to secure Detroit's UNESCO Creative City designation, an honor that globally recognizes Detroit's design legacy and commitment to their creative economy.
DC3 wanted to seize an opportunity to develop and implement a public awareness campaign and I was recruited to lead these efforts. The experience was a valuable one; both professionally and personally. Throughout the summer, I worked to develop a comprehensive advocacy campaign to create a general awareness of Detroit's UNESCO designation and help galvanize community-wide efforts to develop an urban planning blueprint for using creativity to drive a more sustainable and equitable future for Detroit. By devising an advocacy strategy, we began to build the case for the value of design to key stakeholders, which included Detroit's businesses, public sector, and local neighborhoods.
On a personal note, I got to fully immerse myself in Detroit, which is a delightful eclectic city: rich with historical theaters, cultural museums, and international cuisine. I learned the value of design and witnessed how good design can be transformative in many different ways from urban development to business incubation.
Rhonda Bishop's internship was made possible through support from The Neil Staebler Fund for Political Education.