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McArthur Binion
The Shepherd

Opening 18 May 2024
The Shepherd, Detroit, MI, USA

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Library Street Collective co-founders Anthony & JJ Curis are proud to present their ambitious neighborhood-wide cultural revitalization effort in the East Village neighborhood of Detroit, known as Little Village. At the heart of this initiative lies the Shepherd, a one hundred ten-year-old Romanesque-style church, most recently identified as Good Shepherd before closing in 2016. The Shepherd has been transformed into a cultural arts center that offers multi-faceted programming, including exhibitions, public projects, and performance. The adaptive reuse of the church, led by architectural design firm Peterson Rich Office (PRO), maintains the integrity of the original architecture while creating two new gallery spaces, a public library, and abundant classroom and workshop space for the local community. The main gallery allows for programming opportunities on the mezzanine, while the church altar has been outfitted as a space for performance and musical programming. In addition, the grounds of the Shepherd offer over 3.5 acres of new, publicly accessible park and green space to the local community, designed by OSD. The Curises have worked closely with the City of Detroit, members of the East Village community, and other neighboring arts organizations to designate this area as Detroit’s next cultural district.

Located in the former rectory of the Shepherd is ALEO, a boutique bed & breakfast envisioned as a haven for artists and those seeking a cultural retreat in Little Village. The bed & breakfast showcases the work of nearly 30 Detroit-based artists or those with deep roots in the City throughout the six guest rooms and communal spaces. Additionally, the third floor of ALEO houses Modern Ancient Brown, the Foundation started by internationally renowned artist McArthur Binion in 2019. Modern Ancient Brown supports the intersection between the visual and literary arts in Detroit and sponsors two artist residency programs–one of which is facilitated out of ALEO. Throughout each year, the Foundation provides four visiting fellows—emerging and established BIPOC scholars, thinkers and writers whose practice involves research and creation in all aspects of the arts—with a private apartment and study space in the rectory.

McArthur Binion also played a hand in shaping the physical landscape at the Shepherd. Following up on a collaboration between the Curises and legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk in 2017 that led to a temporary skatepark being built in downtown Detroit, the Curises and Hawk, along with the support of professional skateboarder Alec Beck and artist McArthur Binion, partnered on a permanent skatepark for the grounds of the Shepherd, titled It Takes a Village. While Hawk and his team led the functional design of the park, while Binion oversaw the artistic design, enhancing the skatepark’s visual appeal.