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> History

The Borders Within Eight Mile   

This class will be presented both in-person at the Vineyard Church and online via Zoom.

This presentation focuses on immigrant neighborhoods in Detroit and their art as a sense of place. In this “nation of immigrants,” the City of Detroit stands out for the incredible number of nationalities, ethnicities, and religious groups which have populated its 138 square miles. To fully appreciate the city’s turbulent history and its abundant cultural treasures, it is helpful to envision the many invisible borders that have served as demarcation lines between and among groups. In this class Ken Stevens will explore Detroit’s history of immigration and migration, the ever-changing maps, the disruptions, and the harmonies. We will look at the “new Detroit,” with its many cultural attractions, art forms, restaurants, and parks, and travel back to the hidden gems of “old Detroit,” some in ruins, others repurposed, and a few still viable and operating.  


Ken Stevens began his theater career in Cincinnati where he co-founded the Showboat Majestic and served as a Rockefeller Fellow at Playhouse in the Park and the University of Cincinnati. In 1972 Ken joined the faculty of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) where he created both the musical theater program and the graduate and undergraduate programs in arts management. Following his retirement in 2014 as EMU’s director of theatre, Ken has continued to serve as a lecturer, while supervising interns and supporting the resident artist program at Villa Barr Art Park in Novi and the Michigan Legacy Art Park at Crystal Mountain Resort.


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