O.N.E. Mile, Anthony “Utē” Petit, BFA ID/Tex 2018
This summer I will be joining Agence Akoaki contributing to the complex project that is: The One Mile Mile Project (O.N.E. Mile) in Detroit. The project is a multi-disciplinary collaborative effort to support the cultural programs and socio-economic activity of Detroit’s North End neighborhood. I plan to assist in developing a masterplan to present to the City of Detroit by the end of the summer.
My first week in Detroit involved meeting a lot of people from the neighborhood. This can always be a bit nerve racking at first, but I quickly felt more at home in this beautiful “Afrotopia” as Mayoral candidate Ingrid Lafleur puts it. One component of the O.N.E. Mile Project is the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm. Arguably “ground zero” of the project, this is where most day to day operations take place. The first project I executed was developing jam labels for Ann Carter’s strawberry “AfroJam.” One of the products made on site. The final design is not quite ready, but updates to come on that.
My second week of settling in I was able to meet with my ‘mentor’ for the summer: Anya Sirota. She gave me and a group of students for University of Michigan a in depth tour of the site. We have been tasked with designing the function of three buildings that are in a state of transition. I will be working on a former liquor and grocery store, which will become the site of the masterplan unveiling come August or September. So far this consists of developing patterns, and thinking of formal interventions that can preserve the integrity of the neighborhood. In addition to that i’ve been tasked with developing patterns that reference the fruits, vegetables, and local fauna of the neighborhood (There’s a lot of wild pheasants).
I intend to develop a collection of fabrics that can be used for interior (hostel, upholstery, wallpaper) and exterior (greenhouse, street painting, mural) uses. They need to be “almost wrong” in Anyas words, and I want them to be pure Detroit, which means it needs to be gangster and opulent. Heres the initial two i’ve come up with:
A personal goal i’ve set for myself this summer was to research what other changemakers were doing outside of the O.N.E. Mile Project. My first step was attending the Allied Media Conference, a 4 day event “bringing together a vibrant and diverse community of people using media to incite change.” The set of the conference involves a series of workshops, lectures, discussions, and parties to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and organizational strategy.
The summer so far has been full of growth and new knowledge; my love of Detroit grows strong. There have been so many beautiful people I’ve met who have been contributing to the city’s “rebirth” since before the term began to enter headlines. Im anxious to see what else the summer has in store, and am curious to see how this relationship between Downtown and the neighborhoods progresses with mayoral primaries coming soon.