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Home > News > Students Explore Artists' Roles in Remaking Cities, with a Focus on Detroit

Students Explore Artists' Roles in Remaking Cities, with a Focus on Detroit

January 28th, 2016
"House of Soul" — one the original "inside-out" houses in the Heidelberg Project — was one of the numerous houses set ablaze in a series of arsons in 2013. The loss of one of Guyton's crucial works was a tragic reminder of Guyton's persistent theme of change and time on the historic Heidelberg Street. The image above captures the reconstructed framework of the "House of Soul," and features Guyton's current project of placing painted clocks throughout the street. (Photo and caption by Alex Quetell, Class of

Imagine artists with a city as their canvas, their stage.

Princeton undergraduates in the course "The Arts of Urban Transition" have spent the past semester using texts and methods from history, theater and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York City and Detroit.

"We're examining what it meant for industry to leave, what it meant for the economy, the built environment, the populations," said Aaron Shkuda, one of the course's instructors and the project manager of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities. "We're considering why New York and Detroit have had such divergent histories since deindustrialization, how artists have shaped the process of development, and how they have responded to some of the contradictions of the postindustrial city."

Among the topics explored in the class: gentrification, relationships among artists, changing urban economies and the impact of urban arts initiatives.

Read the full story here.

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