There are many spaces and places around the city. Some we use, some we look at, and some just need a little TLC. Detroit SOUP is looking to make the Jam Handy Building (a wonderful open space in New Center that used to be a film studio, among other things) it's new home. Last year we used this enormous space for the two year anniversary and we would like to use it year round for our microgranting dinners. What would be even better is that we would like to help it become a communal use space! In the last year it has been used for art installations, theatrical performances, music performance, beer brewing, urban farming classes, meeting space, film viewing, recital space, practice space, SOUP space, basketball games, etc.
Imagine yourself either putting your idea into practice in the space or engaging an in an event there. Now imagine in the winter, in Detroit.....it’s cold in their! Simeon (he owns the space with his brother Nat) did the math, called a few contractors, and realized that heat could be installed for $6000 and add some electrical and some lights for another $4000, we could have another venue that would be offered to the community to use for low rent or an exchange of something. Wow, really, that’s it? It’s amazing to think of what kind of community impact that space could make. East Grand Blvd. has some amazing potential become a center where art and ideas are growing and happening in the city of Detroit.
Breaking it Down:
Raising $6000 gets the Jam Handy heat for the building
Raising $10,000 gets heat, light and electrical work
Raising $15,000 gets the Jam Handy heat, light, electrical work and SOUND
Raising $20,000 get the Jam Handy all of the above and the ability to pay those bills when they come and the price of using the space does not rise!
We want the space to be a together space. We would love if we raised about another $5000. We could even think about sound and getting an established PA sound system so that we can all use it to share our ideas. I know all this sharing stuff could sound crazy but we really believe that artists need a venue to share their ideas. This one will be all ages and the community is open to using it whether through a trade, a barter, a swap, or a contribution, the large space will be open for all to use.
So who was Jam Handy and what is this space?! Well, Jam Handy the man was by all accounts quite a character. Before arriving in Detroit and establishing his legendary film studio, Handy had already been suspended from the University of Michigan for sullying the school’s reputation by publishing a colorful cartoon poking fun at a stodgy professor, and established himself as a pioneer in the field of competitive swimming by inventing two swimming techniques (still widely used today) and capturing a bronze medal in the 1904 Olympics despite standing only 5’ 2” tall. Even than more rabble rousing and swimming, Jam Handy’s true passion was visual communication and his prescient belief that it would revolutionize education by--as he stated in one of his many delightfully anachronistic quotes--”putting the hay where the horse can reach it.”
To this end, Jam Handy moved The Jam Handy Organization to Detroit in 1932, locating it on East Grand Boulevard in order to be near his biggest client, General Motors and its 80 affiliated companies. Over the subsequent decades, Jam Handy went on to produce over 25,000 instructional films on seemingly every conceivable subject, including more than 7,000 training films for the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. If you’re curious about what these films looked like (and you should be!) check out http://archive.org/details/jam_handy. While the Jam Handy Organization has long ceased to exist and its once sprawling network of buildings lining East Grand Boulevard has mostly disappeared from the landscape, its legacy lives on. Behind the scenes and around the world, numerous technical advancements that continue to shape the contemporary film industry owe their existence to the Jam Handy Organization. And now, here in Detroit, with the ongoing revival of the JHO’s former headquarters and main film stage, another scene--and a whole different kind of Jam Handy production--is taking place.
What is this Detroit SOUP?
Detroit SOUP is a public soup dinner! Pay $5. Learn about creative projects happening in Detroit. Vote on which project to fund with the money raised from the meal that night. It has been happening since February 2010 above the Mexicantown Bakery, currently meeting in Corktown, and soon to make a permanent home. The project gets about 150-200 people at each dinner and the new space will allow for heat and better seating, something the current space does not have.
Everyone wins with your donation. There are some awesome perks in store! Relics of the buildings history, pieces of Detroit SOUP, potential to make the space yours! Anything over $25 we will use $5 towards Detroit SOUP and the November soup dinner to help make the next dreamers project come true!