555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios
555 was founded in the Spring of 2002 in Ann Arbor, Michigan by Jacob “Monte” Martinez, Andres Garces, and Carl W. Goines. The first to exhibit their talents at 555 include local musicians and visual artists, and promising University of Michigan School of Art and Design students. National and International artists later showed works as well, among which were Japanese visiting artist Takako Miyoshi; New Yorker cartoonist David Rees of “Get Your War On”; The Beehive Collective; and Seth Tobocman, author of ”World War III”. By February of 2003, 555 added two more artists and two volunteer staff to the collective and relocated to the neighboring city of Ypsilanti. To expand its capacity to serve emerging and established artists, 555 applied for non-profit status that same year.
In 2004, due to city redevelopment plans for the Ypsilanti space, 555 moved again, this time to the 13,000 sq. ft. Michigan Tent and Awning Building in Detroit on E. Grand River Avenue. In that space, both renting and grant-funded residency artists developed works, including Hugo Navarro of Chile, Carl Oxley of Detroit, Mary Laredo-Herbeck of Detroit, the media-based youth activism organization Detroit Summer, and Myla Churchill of New York City. Under a 5-year lease, 555 remained on E. Grand River until moving once more to a temporary Michigan Avenue location. There in the Chadsey-Condon neighborhood of Detroit, the gallery and studios remained for a short year, with the support of Southwest Housing Solutions Corporation. During that time, 5 more residency artists created works, including Mack Avenue Dance Company of Detroit; Modern Garage Movement of New York City; two Installation artists, Jane Orr and Krysta Kearney from New York; Ben Bunk, an illustrator/animator from Brooklyn; and Kathrin Schlegel and Hagen Betzweiser, video artists from Germany.
Through continued partnership with Southwest Housing Solutions, 555 has secured its permanent home in Detroit’s Mexicantown. The new facility, a former precinct of the Detroit Police Department, is located in a diverse and culturally active neighborhood. It lies within minutes of the Detroit Institute of Art, Wayne State University, College for Creative Studies, Downtown Detroit, and the Canadian border. This new space, now known as 555 Center for Public Arts, is built upon years of experimentation in arts programming and partnerships. Upon completion, the facility will hold studio spaces for residency and renting artists; an arts education studio; a photography dark room; performance/dance studio; a gallery; and a communal workspace. Outside the facility, the green roof, sculpture garden, and other sustainable design elements will also be integrated into educational programming. Further, as 555 focuses it efforts over the coming year, programs that promote arts in the public sphere, with an emphasis on display outside of the formal gallery context, will be of particular interest. Additionally, activities that engage and train community members in the production of public arts will play a significant role in the organization’s programmatic development into the future.
The mission of 555 is to further enrich and diversify cultural life in the greater Metro-Detroit area. In support of this mission, 555 facilitates the development of emerging artists. We offer exhibition and installation space; host and support local, national, and international Residency Artists; lead and collaborate in the development of programs for the visual and performing arts; and provide workspace for practicing Local artists.