The former Good Shepherd Church in East Village will reopen this May as a new art gallery and the centerpiece of a new cultural and community space in Detroit called Little Village. The redevelopment has been led by Anthony & JJ Curis and the Library Street Collective.

The Shepherd's inaugural exhibition will honor Detroit artist Charles McGee. In addition to the exhibit in the Shepherd, three of McGee's pieces will sit in a new community space and sculpture park in Little Village. The exhibition starts May 18, and will be complemented by a McGee exhibit at the MOCAD, running June 28-September 23. 

“We count ourselves among the many who were touched by Charles McGee’s life and
career, his commitment to uplifting the arts in Detroit and his passion for this city," said Anthony and JJ Curis. "It was truly a privilege to call him our friend. We look forward to celebrating Charles’ legacy with the inaugural exhibition at the Shepherd and are thrilled to partner with MOCAD on this historic moment.”

The Shepherd sits among 3.5 acres of new community space which was formerly vacant land and lots. A new skatepark has been designed by artist McArthur Binion and Tony Hawk. Office of Strategy + Design (OSD) has designed the new spaces, which include an activated alley called the Nave.

“Anthony and JJ’s commitment to the city and arts is on full display in this publicly accessible gift to the broader community,” said Simon David, OSD. “By transforming this vacant block into an open and accessible arts campus, new life is emerging in a previously unused gap in the city fabric, like flowers sprouting through the pavement. We are thrilled to be part of such a meaningful project for Detroit and its creative arts.”

View of the Shepherd, ALEO, BridgeHouse, Charles McGee Legacy Park and the skatepark.Photo by Jason Keen. Courtesy of Library Street Collective.

More new adaptive reuse projects are slated to open this year. In addition to the Shepherd and the new public grounds, a new bed and breakfast, ALEO, will open this May. ALEO will be a haven for visiting artists and the home of the McArthur Binion’s Foundation and nonprofit organization Modern Ancient Brown, which works with BIPOC writers and artists. BridgeHouse, also in Little Village, was led by architect Ishtiaq Rafiuddin of Detroit-based studio Undecorated; two homes have been connected and will turn into culinary-based commercial space. 

Library Street Collective

A few blocks away,  the Lantern building, a former bakery, will be a mixed-use space. Signal Return, PASC (Progressive Arts Studio Collective), and Assemble Sound will call it home. It will also have ample artist studio space and retail space. The Lantern was designed by OMA. Later this year, Louis Buhl & Co will relocate and bring another gallery to the neighborhood. Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) led the design for the new gallery, located in a former convent building. See below for a before and after of the future Lantern.