• Art in The District Detroit program to offer a unique, hands-on learning experience for CCS students to design and create major public artworks
  • Sculptures and other art installations to enhance public spaces across The District Detroit
  • Ilitch organization to contribute $800,000 to support new program and artwork
  • Contributions also to provide scholarship funds for participating students

DETROIT – Olympia Development of Michigan (ODM) and Ilitch Charities today announced a new partnership with the College for Creative Studies (CCS) to launch a unique, hands-on learning experience that will bring student-led artwork to public spaces in The District Detroit. The innovative Art in The District Detroit program will engage students, faculty, community members and professional artists in the design, creation and installation of public art in The District Detroit. Ilitch Charities and ODM will invest $800,000 to fund this innovative class at the Detroit-based CCS, as well as to manufacture and install the resulting public artworks.      

Selected CCS Fine Arts students will begin the special course in January 2017. Participating students will work with faculty to conduct research, develop designs and physical models and produce documents outlining their design intentions. The students will receive scholarship funds to be used towards tuition. Additionally, the students whose artwork is selected for installation will receive scholarship funds or a stipend. 

CCS students will also be responsible for engaging and collaborating with the community throughout the process. Over the course of the semester-long program, CCS will invite visiting artists, community members and architects who have specialized knowledge in creating and designing outdoor sculptures to collaborate with students. Together, ODM and CCS intend to engage the community through this special project by designing pieces that foster a vibrant sense of personality within The District Detroit.

"We applaud Olympia Development of Michigan and Ilitch Charities for recognizing that public art can be an essential element in defining the character of a neighborhood and for wanting to develop that art through a collaboration among student artists, professional artists and members of the local community,” said Richard L. Rogers, President of the College for Creative Studies. “CCS is excited to be part of The District Detroit project because it presents a unique educational opportunity for our students and is a major contributor to Detroit's resurgence."

“The District Detroit represents a transformative effort in the heart of our great city, and public art is an important part of our plan,” said Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “The College for Creative Studies attracts many of the best, brightest and most talented creative students from around the world, and they are an ideal partner to bring public art to The District Detroit. The sculptures that result from this innovative class will bring additional personality and character to the world-class neighborhoods in The District Detroit and will be a source of pride for CCS students who help create them.”

CCS will also engage the greater community through a series of interactions with its CCS’ Community Arts Partnerships (CAP) and community+public arts:DETROIT (CPAD) programs. CPAD projects reach beyond the typical arts audience; involve neighborhoods in unique ways; and engage with their sites, taking into account specific communities, the environment and their political and social histories, which is the intended outcome for The District Detroit. Through CPAD, the College is also in the process of building an advisory council comprised of local artists and creatives that will work with the students throughout the semester. Current members are:

  • Michael Boettcher, Urban Planner
  • Vince Carducci, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, College for Creative Studies
  • Francis Grunow, Detroit Community Representative
  • Kimberly Harden, Architecture Instructor, Cass Technical High School
  • Tim van Laar, Professor and Chair of Fine Arts, College for Creative Studies
  • George R. N’Namdi, Founder and Director, The N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art
  • Marcel Parent, Arena Curator, Olympia Entertainment
  • Gina Reichert, Architect and Co-Principal, Design 99, and Co-Founder, Power House Productions
  • Melissa Thomas, Detroit Community Representative
  • Nathaniel Wallace, VP of Communications Professionals Inc

At the conclusion of the semester, a juried process will take place to select up to four concepts to be developed into full-scale sculptures that will be installed in The District Detroit. Once selections are made, students will work under the guidance of a faculty advisor to partner with a third-party to create the sculpture and manage logistics of manufacturing, shipment, site preparation and installation. It is anticipated that the sculptures will be installed during the summer and fall of 2017 to be in place in time for the opening of Little Caesars Arena.

Visit to learn more about the partnership and for regular updates on the public artwork initiative.

About Ilitch Charities

Ilitch Charities is a non-profit organization that invests in our community's future by supporting innovative, collaborative and measurable programs in the areas of community development, human services, education and recreation through contributions from the Ilitch companies, their colleagues and the generosity of others. Ilitch Charities is affiliated with the companies owned by Michael and/or Marian Ilitch. Ilitch companies include: Ilitch Holdings Inc., Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Champion Foods, the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment, Little Caesars Pizza Kit Fundraising Program, and Olympia Development of Michigan. Additionally, Michael Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers. Marian Ilitch owns MotorCity Casino Hotel. For more information, visit

About College for Creative Studies

Located in the heart of Detroit, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) educates artists and designers to be leaders in the creative professions. A private, fully accredited college, CCS enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees. Students in the BFA program can major in Advertising, Copywriting, Advertising Design, Communication Design, Crafts, Entertainment Arts, Fashion Accessories Design, Fine Arts, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, Product Design, and Transportation Design, in addition to a dual major Art Education program. Students in the MFA program can major in Color and Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design, and Transportation Design. The College also offers non-credit courses in the visual arts through its Continuing and Precollege Studies programs and opportunities for youth through its Community Arts Partnerships programs.

About The District Detroit

The District Detroit is one of the largest sports and entertainment developments in the country. Located in the heart of Detroit, this 50-block, mixed-use development led by the Ilitch organization unites six world-class theaters, five neighborhoods and four professional sports venues in one vibrant, walkable destination for people who want to live, work and play in an exciting urban environment. Home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions - The District Detroit represents the greatest density of professional sports teams in one downtown core in the country.

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