Building the Literary Arts in Detroit
"The writer-in-residence program where the writer gets to keep the residence" wants to renovate their first house.
Vision and RewardWrite A House is Detroit-based literary organization that uses the wide range of available home stock in Detroit to build up support for the literary arts in the city. It’s like a writer’s in residence program, but the writers get to keep the homes, forever.
Detroit visual arts & Detroit musical arts have gotten a ton of attention over the years, but we believe this is a city that could really use some more writers.
And we believe writers should have nice homes. Write A House invests money in vocational training to renovate vacant homes - providing lifelong skills to the students - and then awards the homes to emerging writers - providing lifelong homes for the writers. It’s pretty much that simple.
We want you to be involved in renovating our first home! We are raising money to cover a big chunk of the renovation costs of one house. Our goal will take us approximately ½ way there. The rest we will be raising through work with outreach with local and national arts foundations. Any additional monies raised will be applied to our other homes. (For our initial year, we have purchased 3 houses to renovate.)
We are partnering with Young Detroit Builders, an organization that trains youth in building rehab and renovation. So not only will you be giving a writer a home, just as importantly you will be providing youth with skills they can use for a lifetime of employment. Plus, you will be helping to stabilize a neighborhood.
The neighborhoods we are working with are a rich quilt of culture and change. It won’t be deluxe Beverly Hills, but maybe that’s okay.
For our first, year all three authors' homes will be within walking distance of one another. Their neighborhood is an emerging arts community, home of the amazing Powerhouse crew, located north of Hamtramck.
We believe writers are out there – perhaps in Cleveland, Brooklyn, Denmark, or maybe out just across town - who are interested in becoming a part of this neighborhood. There are great stories to be told in Detroit right now. The media touches on the surface of what's happening here, but you know there's something more going on, don't you?
Any and all writers who are looking for a new home and new inspiration are encouraged to apply. Applications will begin in the spring (once we know if this idea is going to actually work.) The writers who are granted the homes will receive the deed to the house after two years of residency. For more information on how to apply for the home, go to writeahouse.org.
If you support the literary arts, vocational education, neighborhood stabilization, and the creation of more vibrant cities, perhaps you’d like to GET INVOLVED through this campaign!
Risks and Challenges
Renovation projects always come with some risk. You discover the project is more complex and expensive than your contractor thought it would be ("What, there's a hell hole in the basement?") or there are some mishaps and setbacks. We are working with one of the best contactors in the city and we have connections with great local resources, so we think we should be fine.
Another risk is that writers might actually not want to move to Detroit. They might have fallen for the negative hype of the bankrupt city. They might think that it's better to stay in some unaffordable city instead of taking advantage of all we have to offer. We hope they don't, we hope they get on board. We're betting there are enough smart writers out there who see this opportunity for what it is.