In June of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech to a throng of 25,000 Detroiters. “I have a dream,” he told them, a dream of equality for blacks and whites, as well as a dream specific to the city, “that one day right here in Detroit, Negroes will be able to buy a house or rent a house anywhere that their money will carry them and they will be able to get a job.”
Parts of that speech would go on to appear in King’s most famous address at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. And it continues to resonate with listeners, including a group of artists in Detroit.
For the group exhibition “We Have a Dream,” opening January 24 at Inner State Gallery, curator Roula David asked 40 of Detroit’s emerging artists to submit a piece that took King’s words as inspiration. In true Detroit fashion, the works in the show reveal a future tinged with optimism and grit, full of both joy and darkness.
David told HuffPost one of her favorite things about the Detroit art scene is something that echoes King’s dream — despite artists’ differences, it’s a tight-knit community that connects across boundaries and borders.
“This show, for example, is such a diverse group of age, race, gender and medium, and yet [the artists] are all familiar with each others’ work,” David wrote in an email. “That is pretty amazing to me. Art can bring the two most unlikely people to respect each others’ processes and vision.”
Below, see some of the emerging artists’ work in the “We Have a Dream” group show.