City of Asylum/Detroit was founded in 2020 by a group of transdisciplinary writers and artists who value free creative expression. Detroit is a natural home for writers and artists. It’s the birthplace of Motown and techno, of Aretha Franklin, Madonna, and Iggy Pop. It’s the hometown of poets Toi Derricotte and Caroline Forché. Leaders Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Grace Lee Boggs made their homes there, and artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera came here to complete seminal work. It’s the most liberal city in the US, the Blackest, and a thriving center of immigrant life.
Detroit’s art scene is driven by community engagement. Our numerous festivals, such as the Movement Electronic Music Festival and Theatre Bizarre, have grown out of grassroots initiatives into beloved institutions that attract visitors the world over.
- At City of Asylum/Detroit, we envision our city as a place where local and global concerns intersect, and where multiple communities are empowered through mutual support. Our programs transform blighted properties into cultural spaces. We invite residents whose voices, if safeguarded and amplified, will have the most impact. Locally, we invite poets, artists, activists, and neighbors to shape our development. says co-founder Laura Kraftowiz