The Scarab Club just received a share of a $57K grant from the city of Detroit for renovations. The 108-year-old arts and social club next to the DIA will share the grant with Belle Isle, whose share will cover re-opening the connection between the aquarium and the conservatory. While many Detroiters know and love Belle Isle, the tiny Scarab Club is a little less famous. The 1907 building, famously host to evenings with Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Norman Rockwell and inaugural Whitney Director Juliana Force, is a strange temple of sorts, lovingly adorned with touches of deco opulence as well as red brick austerity. Today, the club remains a hub for visual, literary and performing arts, hosting poetry readings, community event and musical performances in a variety of Genre. This week, the club opened a new exhibition, Natural Selection Works, curated by Jim Pujdowski
While the gallery shows are always intriguing, and the club hosts music and literary events regularly, the two invites we'd like to get are to the member and guest social evenings (the third Thursday of every month) and, or course, the 90th annual Halloween Costume Ball. Given that the ball's first theme was "Fashion in 2017," we're thinking there are worse ideas than this year's "Rat Pack," although in 1917, no one could've imagined things like visible whale tail, the Snuggie and the way fashionable women seem to all dress like it's 1957.
Natural Selection is well worth a visit to the DIA-adjacent club. The works, mainly by Wayne State alums, don't naturally suit one another, but something about the variety of styles and ideas represented suggests a harmony among very disparate elements. Artists featured in the show include Shirley Dombrowski Parish, Andrew Blake, Carlo Vitale and Robert Quentin Hyde. The exhibition continues through October 10. The Scarab Club is open Wednesdays from noon - 5 pm.