Detroit's hip arts scene lures Brooklyn-based Galapagos

Galapagos' decision to relocate to Detroit puts an exclamation point on the degree to which arts and culture have become an important driver of the city's revitalization.

Detroit's burgeoning reputation as a haven for young urban artists got a boost Monday with news that Brooklyn-based Galapagos Art Space will move to Corktown and Highland Park in 2016.

Founded in 1995 and often cited as an anchor for Brooklyn's revitalization, the multi-purpose arts center is closing in New York this month.

"We were priced out of New York," Robert Elmes told the Free Press on Monday.

Elmes, the founder and executive director of Galapagos, said that young artists unable to afford New York prices are moving to places like Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas, or Minneapolis. Yet the nation continues to need a "national mixing chamber" for young artists and Detroit appears to be stepping up to that role, he said.

A plan to make Vernor area pop in Detroit

For Kathy Wendler, it's long been a goal to transform a shuttered Detroit Public Works facility along Vernor into a retail center and community gathering space in the southwest Detroit neighborhood.

And thanks to a pilot project spearheaded by the Michigan Municipal League, the president of the Southwest Detroit Business Association says her efforts are now a step closer.

The southwest Detroit community was among eight statewide selected last month to participate in the league's PlacePlans project. Other PlacePlans recipients are Cadillac, Flint, Kalamazoo, Holland, Jackson, Marquette and Midland.