Vanguard CDC Update — Creators Project & More! 👀
What's happening with the E. Grand Boulevard Transformation Project?
The North End Creators Project is a community arts initiative that matches six local designers with the chance to create banners along the East Grand Boulevard and Woodward Avenue Corridors.
In the late Spring and mid-Summer of 2021, Vanguard CDC and its graphic design partner, Good Done Daily, held two listening sessions. During these sessions, North End residents spoke of their community's complex history, its innovations, and their speculations about its future. Through these dialogs, Good Done Daily identified 10 recurring themes that would become the origin of each banner's design.
The Process
Believing that it was important to recognize the impact that local designers have on the identity of their communities, Good Done Daily developed a process that invited people from across Detroit to co-create the banners. Fifteen designers applied. Six were chosen.
Creators were given feedback by a community-led team of reviewers from Detroit's non-profit, education, and community development sectors. Creators received support from Good Done Daily, compensation for their time, and were paired to engage in collaborative critiques of each other's work.
Banner concept sketch courtesy of Charlene Uresy
Banner concept sketch courtesy of Charlene Uresy
The Outcome
Creators began their design processes on October 8th and each week they share what they're working on; their approaches, their sketches, and their professional journeys via the North End Creators Instagram account. Since its launch only a few short months ago, the North End Creators Instagram has garnered over 130 new followers from across Detroit, Southeast Michigan, and parts of the United States.
The initiative has also drawn interest from notable platforms like IOBY Detroit, whose community-focused crowdfunding empowers projects that make neighborhoods more sustainable, healthy, livable, and fun.
Banner concept sketch courtesy of Charlene Uresy
North End Creators Instagram Account
Each week, the account takes a deep dive into one of the project's 6 participants (check out its write-up on Mandisa Smith, a local fiber artist). Readers are encouraged to interact with the Creators as they work through their ideas!
The account is quickly becoming a conduit that Vanguard can use to continue its exploration of art and design as a catalyst for its work in the North End.
The Launch
Finished works will be installed along East Grand Boulevard and Woodward Avenue in single and double-sided configurations. A complete launch of the signage is scheduled for mid-late November 2021. Until then, keep an eye on the Creators' Instagram and this very newsletter for future updates!
This initiative is part of Vanguard's East Grand Boulevard Streetscape Transformation Project. The project is generously supported by the Knight Foundation. Keep up with project updates at:

As the Creators work to finalize the banner designs for the lightpoles along the Boulevard, Vanguard is working with the various city departments to obtain the necessary permits for installation.  This process could take up to 8 weeks, however we are optimistic that banners can be installed by December, 2021 (weather permitting).
Carlos Neilbock is also working with Phillip Sign Company and their engineers to submit final designs to the city of Detroit in order to obtain the necessary permit for installation of the Public Art/Community Identification sign in the East Grand Boulevard median.  We will keep the community and North End/Milwaukee Junction Business District updated when we recieve the final permits and notice to proceed with construction/installation.  
Additionally, plans are also being finalized for the "Winter Wonderland in the North End", a Main Street event.  Save the Date...Saturday, December 4, 2021!  More details to follow.
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