Guerrila Artist, Part Two

NPR liked my guerrilla artist story about a man who makes art sculptures inside big box stores. But they wanted to hear from a store employee/manager as well as a shopper who saw some of Carson Brown’s artwork. So I went out again with Carson and interviewed more people. Listen to the result here:

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While you’re on NPR’s webpage, check out some of the insightful comments people shared. In all seriousness, I was impressed that folks remained civil yet passionate with their opinions.

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Detroit locals love this neighborhood blues festival. The city, not so much.

Check out these gorgeous photos of John’s Carpet House by Doug Coombe. This place is not a house and they don’t sell carpets. It’s a longtime grassroots blues festival in Detroit. I loved reporting this story and collaborating with Doug.

John's Carpet House August 16 2015-0202

John's Carpet House August 16 2015-9811

You can hear my story and see more pictures here:

John's Carpet House August 16 2015-0228

John's Carpet House August 16 2015-9678

Guerrilla artist makes sculptures inside big box stores

I do stories about the arts all the time. And maybe…I mean MAYBE…I hear back from one or two people with comments about the piece.

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This story hit a nerve and blew up the Internet. It’s about Carson Brown, who sneaks into big box stores and makes sculptures using the stores’ products, without permission. Hundreds of people chimed in on social media. People loved him and people hated him. Check out the story and the excellent photos by Doug Coombe here:

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Hometown tune

Band was a pretty magical experience for me as a kid. I grew up in a small town that imposed pretty narrow ideas about who you could become. You know, boys were football players and girls were cheerleaders and God forbid you tried to break out of those two little boxes.


But band and music and theater and the arts switched up the game and spoke to my little artistic heart while showing me some other options for who I could become.

So I started with that personal experience & began thinking more broadly when trying to come up with a potential radio story about the arts (a topic I cover for Michigan Radio). I was also in touch with an old childhood friend whose husband runs the local music shop in our hometown, and thus, this story about kids trying to find their “instrument match.”

Not sure if it comes through in the audio version, but the relationship that developed between the girls and the instructor was really quite darling.

One listener’s question turns into three radio stories

We’ve got a pretty cool project at Michigan Radio where listeners can ask us a question, and we’ll find out the answer. It’s called MI Curious and you can check it out here.

Someone wanted to know what it was like to grow up in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects in Detroit. So I looked into it, and I ended up producing three stories to answer that one question.

Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson & Diana Ross of The Supremes all grew up in the Brewster Douglass projects (Credit Nationaal Archief (Dutch National Archives)
Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson & Diana Ross of The Supremes all grew up in the Brewster-Douglass projects (Credit Nationaal Archief /Dutch National Archives)

The first story is a history lesson, called Here’s why the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects were built.

In the second story we hear from former residents, including Mary Wilson from The Supremes. That’s called Motown legend says Brewster-Douglass taught her “people are people.” Most of the folks in this story are in their seventies and eighties, so they experienced a more positive side of the projects.

Finally we hear from former resident and comedian Loni Love. She grew up in the projects in the 70s and 80s and she describes both the positive and negative aspects of her childhood. Listen to her story called Growing up in the Brewster Projects gave this comedian a nitty-gritty toughness.