The Detroit Sanctuary Project

A community art project inviting the public to inventory and photograph each house of worship in Detroit and create a large public mural and a book.
Jennie Kay
Detroit, Michigan
United States
1 Team Member

The Detroit Sanctuary Project.

Taking a picture of every house of worship in Detroit,
together, one block at a time. 

Detroit is known for it's spirit and it's soul. The connections and communities in Detroit have brought incredible change and heart to a universal audience. 

Detroit is also known for having one of the greatest densities and diversities of houses of worship in any major metropolitan area in the United States. From grand cathedral-like palaces to humble store-front temples.

Each one bringing sanctuary to it's community. 

The Detroit Sanctuary Project is going to capture a photograph of every house of worship in Detroit. These photographs, taken by members of the participating public, will be compiled into a photo-based website, a map, a poster, a photobook and a large mural made of artists canvas that will be put on public display.

The estimated number of churches, temples, synagogues, and other houses of worship in Detroit range from 1200-2500, the exact number is unknown. This inventory will be the first complete photographic collection of these special spaces, simultaneously bridging and celebrating all the things that make them unique and bringing them together as one family in spirit. 

The funds from this campaign will go towards the creation, installation and exhibition of the mural, the publication of the photobook, as well as hosting the community photography day and helping connect the public to participate in this project. 

The Detroit Sanctuary Project is the baby of Jennie Kay, communications specialist/designer by trade and community buildier and arts organizer by passion. For the past several years she has worked in the Monterey Bay, California area running her own creative business, as well as working with the Burning Man organization and local Burning Man community to facilitate safe spaces for expression and connection.  

That's all great, I'm still reading, tell me more!  

So, you want to be a part of The Detroit Sanctuary Project, right on! There are lots of ways to get involved and be a part of the team: 

  • Tell your friends! Share this video and the website and let people know this is happening and how they can get involved! 

  • Are you going to be in the Detroit area in the next few months? Be a photographer! Anyone with a digital camera or smartphone can get involved and be credited with being a part of this historic project! 

  • Volunteer! We will need people to help out with the Community Photography Day picnic, communicating with the public and helping facilitate the process for everyone involved. If you have skills that you can contribute to help make this project a success, email and let us know! 

  • Make a financial contribution. Every dollar that comes towards The Detroit Sanctuary Project will help make this a reality. You can get a cool t-shirt, an awesome poster featuring all the houses of worship, a copy of a really amazing photobook about the entire project, including all the images of both the houses of worship and their signage, and the warmth of heart knowing you are part of an incredible project. 

  • Become an in-kind sponsor. The Detroit Sanctuary Project has some specific needs to help make this a reality. If you have a space in Detroit that can host the picnic for The Community Photography Day or would be interested in hosting the mural once it has been completed (apx 500ft2), please contact directly and let's talk! Spirit Airlines has been generous to come on as a travel sponsor, and we are thankful for these sponsorships that make this project a complete reality. 

This thing...this community thing? It really does make a difference. 

Detroit has been one of the hardest hit cities in the United States and seen a population decline of over 60% in the past forty years. Despite a recorded unemployment rate of almost twenty percent, people continue to give. They continue to come together, provide sanctuary for each other and keep the spirit of the City, and each other, alive. 

Bringing this complete collection together has the ability to not only bring a phenomenal community of individuals together and create something of strong social impact, this opens up the conversation about why sanctuary is important in our communities and what these safe spaces provide in the fabric of our society.

Already, the emails that have come in about the project, and how this is affecting people, are beautiful, and humbling. It shows how important it is this that this project be shared, and communicated. 

We were blessed to have Fox 2 Detroit News feature The Detroit Sancutary Project on a broadcast. Watch here. From this broadcast, we were fortunate enough to have the Fredrick Douglass Prepratory High School's GIS class volunteer to handle all the mapping for the project, and Stone Restoration Services out of Troy, Michigan volunteered to donate a $10,000 stone restoration to one congregation in Detroit. 

It will be exciting to see where this goes, and it's even more exciting that you are invovled.

Thank you. 

Video Production and Art Direction: Jennie Kay
Photography: Dan Haddad, Doxie Kaltz, Tracie Davis, Jennie Kay
Music: Tycho


Find This Campaign On
raised in 1 month
7% funded
No time left
$11,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on April 24, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Become a Pebble Partner!

    You will receive eternal and binary thanks on The Detroit Sanctuary Project website.

    1 claimed
  • $10USD
    Become a Stone Steward!

    In addition to eternal thanks you will receive The Detroit Sanctuary Project postcard and sticker set.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $30USD
    Become a Dirt Donator!

    In addition to eternal thanks, a groovy sticker and awesome postcard, you'll receive a small vial of dirt from Detroit! Oh, plus a digital copy of the massive photobook on The Detroit Sanctuary Project.

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $60USD
    Become a Sidewalk Supporter!

    In addition to all those awesome things listed above, including a digital copy of The Detroit Sanctuary Project photobook, we'll mail you a project tshirt! *International shipping outside the US, please add $10

    5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $100USD
    Become a Parkbench Provider!

    In addition to the eternal thanks, sticker, postcard, vial of 100% authentic Detroit dirt and digital book, you will receive a limited edition print of The Detroit Sanctuary Project poster.

    1 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $300USD
    Become a Concrete Companion!

    Yes, you will get every single thing listed above, including a hug on the street, as well as a signed copy of The Detroit Sanctuary Project photobook with your name included as a significant project contributor.

    0 out of 30 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $1,000USD
    Become a Foundation Friend!

    In addition to all the other treats, perks and in-print acknowledgements, you will be specifically honored at the exhibit opening of The Detroit Sanctuary Project mural.

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $10,000USD
    Become a Bedrock Buddy!

    All the goodies, perks, acknowledgements, and nods that we can muster will be yours, as well as the opportunity to have The Detroit Sanctuary Project mural come to your town for public display. Our team will work with you in the process of transportation, installation and communication to your public audience. (Limitations apply, contact for details.)

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
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