The Center for Craft and Applied Arts will encourage the artistic production of high quality goods, functional objects and interior architecture in Detroit.  The innovative model of the CCAA differs significantly from other craft centers and maker spaces around the United States in that the CCAA pairs existing and start-up for-profit manufacturers, which will utilize and maintain the studios, with a non-profit organization that is free to focus on exhibition and education programming. The non-profit and for-profit operations functions of the CCAA will be completely separate with revenue from tenant rents supporting the real estate functions of the Center and programming proceeds, grants, charitable donations, and sponsorships funding our non-profit programming.


The craft workshops, which will anchor the development, will be directed by successful Detroit-based craft manufacturing businesses. These nationally recognized artists will work in private studios while sharing resources such as large and expensive tooling, where applicable, allowing both businesses and students to benefit from their shared use. Additionally, this arrangement allows for organic exchanges between students and professionals, with the intended consequence of job creation and professional growth. The studios will include facilities for metalwork, woodworking, textiles, ceramics, glass, concrete, and leatherwork.


At the heart of the CCAA will be a non-profit organization of the same name that will administer the education studios and effectuate educational and exhibition programming. CCAA’s educational programming will include classes and workshops, afterschool programming, and technical training in addition to lectures and emerging artist/business mentoring. The center plans to partner with regional institutions of higher education to offer teaching opportunities for qualified students as well as post-graduate residencies, and internships with tenants in order to encourage a stream of qualified artists, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs to move directly into the regional niche manufacturing industry.


In the interest of making the CCAA a destination, several developments will complement the manufacturing and education space. A curated gallery with quarterly rotating exhibitions will bring the best national craft to Detroit, while a retail store will invite the public to explore the objects produced at the Center. Two ground level restaurants – one fine dining, the other casual – will also feature works produced at the Center both in their interior architecture and in their service objects (plates, flatware, etc.) thus helping visitors understand the depth and breadth of craft manufacturing through contextual use. The restaurant developments will also become an extension of the retail showroom.


In considering Detroit’s manufacturing legacy, many projects have sought to capitalize on the repurposing of existing infrastructure with marginal results. The CCAA envisions diversification, rather than resurrection, as vital to realizing a healthy manufacturing sector. Ultimately, the CCAA leverages the city’s international reputation as a production capital in order to catalyze and expand Detroit’s creative manufacturing sector through advocacy and education.