- Posted October 17, 2013 by
Michael Moore Donates to Flint Funeral Home Turned Art + Design Laboratory
Flint, Michigan - Spencer's Art House - an experimental housing rehabilitation project - seeks funding in the final day of its Kickstarter campaign. Using reclaimed materials, the long-vacant 120-year-old building is being reenvisioned as an alternative space for architects, designers, artists, and engineers to produce innovative work and demonstrate Flint's potential for rebirth.
The campaign will enable the crew to fully stabilize the structure and secure it from the elements by rebuilding on of the exterior walls and repairing a number of open windows. Spencer's has already hosted a number of musicians, painters, performers, chefs, and poets to bring the space to life. Organizers expect to continue hosting a diverse range of creative minds that will improve and activate the space by filling it with music, food, performances, and installations.
The project is managed by Andrew Perkins, a recent architecture graduate from Buffalo, with support from Flint Public Art Project.
Perkins is renovating the house primarily with reused materials, salvaged by hand from to-be demolished homes, construction dumpsters, and even an old bowling alley. “I’m not so interested in preservation, but adaption – in making the best out of a compromised situation with what we have on hand. That may mean a much more patient process than knocking over and starting anew, but it also means a more ecologically sensitive and culturally enriching way of building.”
Though the building has suffered over a decade of water damage, Perkins is optimistic. “These old buildings are a lot more resilient than people give them credit for. As much as anything else, this project is a protest against today’s throw-away culture.”
“For me this project is about potential and how we formulate our perceptions of potential,” says Justin Ryan Polisky, a Los Angeles-based artist and Flint native. Polisky’s mural on the adjacent vacant building depicts a number of Flint business advertisements from the 1950’s. ‘Anchored in the Past and Alert to the Future’ reads one slogan. “It’s also about reflection and progression for the city of Flint.”
The budget for rehabilitation is kept low through the use of readily available waste materials and volunteer labor. “There’s an abundance of waste not only in Flint, but across the country. There’s also an abundance of people looking for work and skill-building. To combine these two things and create something which is productive and accessible only seems natural,” says Perkins. Substantial progress has already been made in clearing out and reinforcing the rotted structure, sealing the building, and creating a vision for the end product, though the project is seeking more funding to re-roof the building, install new utilities, and bring the project to completion.