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Detroit Design Festival 2016: A guide to this year’s festivities

Celebrate the City of Design this weekend

Eastern Market After Dark
Michelle & Chris Gerard

If you’re in or around Detroit this week, you’ve likely heard that the Detroit Design Festival 2016 is taking place, with events starting on Wednesday.

In order to jumpstart the conversation and process for building a cohesive community vision, DC3 (the Detroit Creative Corridor Center) invites students, creatives, residents, executives, and industry leaders to attend the Detroit Design Festival to help develop what Detroit City of Design should stand for over the next ten years.

A full schedule can be found here, but if you’re like us, you’re trying to decide which ones to go to. We’re here to help.

Are you a fan of urban design?

If city planning and urban design is your thing, and you want to hear more about this whole UNESCO City of Design designation, you should plan on attending two events.

Wednesday night, the 21st, is the Opening Conversation about Leveraging Detroit’s UNESCO designation. It will be moderated by Detroit Planning Director Maurice Cox and guests will include speakers from all over the world who have had experience with a UNESCO City of Design. It takes place from 6-8 at the University of Detroit Mercy. This event is free, but ticketed, so RSVP.

Thursday and Friday will be the complete Design Summit, with multiple speakers and discussions. It will take place at the Jam Handy. This one has an added cost, and tickets can be ordered here.

Are you a fan of art?

The big event will be Thursday night with Eastern Market After Dark, which will have more than 30 studios and galleries open throughout the district and sheds. It’s free and starts at 7pm. And you can check out the murals that are currently being created around the market.

Also open is the big Gary Simmons Installation downtown on Broadway. It’s through Culture Lab Detroit and MOCAD. For this project, "Simmons has created an immersive, environmental installation by wallpapering the the space with self-created musical fly posters that reference specific musical styles, as well as their attendant subcultures and sociopolitical connotations."

Friday night in the North End will be a huge performance from the Detroit Afrikan Funkestra. This one runs from 6-9 live from the Oakland Avenue Farm.

Saturday will be Youth Day at the Dequindre Cut, with hands on learning and designing.

Saturday night will have Light Up Livernois, with performances, fashion, and small businesses open for visitors. It runs from 5-10pm.

Are you a fan of getting around without a car?

Open Streets is Sunday! Michigan Avenue and West Vernor Highway will be closed to motorized traffic from 12-5. There will be activities, performances, sports, and more.

Walkable Warren will also take place throughout the DDF, "Through creative yet practical streetscape improvements such as painted bike lanes, pedestrian bump-outs, and shortened crosswalks, Wayne State seeks to re-imagine Warren’s long-term design as a safe, active and vibrant corridor."

There are so many events taking place later this week. Check the full DDF schedule here.

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