Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Flames to Light Up Chicago River During First-Ever Great Chicago Fire Fest" from DNAinfo Chicago

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Flames to Light Up Chicago River During First-Ever Great Chicago Fire Fest" from DNAinfo Chicago

Date: 4 October

THE LOOP — The Chicago River will be ablaze in fiery cauldrons, burning houses and fireworks Saturday as the city's first-ever Great Chicago Fire Festival lights up the Loop.

The all-day festival is meant to celebrate Chicago's grit and resilience, and will be loaded with flame-filled spectacles that could rival Burning Man's.

It's a production of the Pilsen-based Redmoon theater group, meant to celebrate Chicago's rebirth after the Great Fire of 1871. The fest will be capped by an 8 p.m. "Grand Spectacle," that includes the lowering of 15 "fire cauldrons" from bridges over the Chicago River onto boats below.

Actors Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney from the NBC series "Chicago Fire" will be on hand to help ignite the evening's festivities. The Chicago Children's Choir will perform as the cauldrons burn.

In addition to the cauldrons, the S.S. O'Leary steamship will enter the river, along with three mini-steamships. Each ship will ignite a floating, pre-1871-style house structure on the river. After they are extinguished, the "renewal" begins.

Then come the fireworks.

Co-sponsored by the City of Chicago and the Park District, the Great Chicago Fire Festival's main events will take over the streets surrounding the State Street and Columbus Drive bridges, including the section of the river between them, from 11 a.m. until midnight.

The festival's mission statement is to celebrate "the diversity of Chicago's great neighborhoods and the city's powerful spirit of renewal," so events are scattered across the city.

Earlier this month, Redmoon staged performances at Rainbow Beach Park and hosted a vendor night with live music in South Shore.

The free main event kicks off with a neighborhood bazaar that opens at 3 p.m. Saturday. Music performances start at 5 p.m., and at 8 p.m., the "Grand Spectacle" begins.

If it rains, the festival will be rescheduled for Sunday.

Redmoon's Mobile DJ unit — "a cross between a Segway, a classic car and a DJ booth," according to the company — will park in Daley Plaza at noon Tuesday to help kick off the event, which the city hopes to repeat.


Event Link:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Destination: Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA (EXPANDED)

Destination: Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA (EXPANDED)

Link: https://picasaweb.google.com/100945938672227812551/KenoshaWisconsinUSA?noredirect=1

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "ArtPrize: Complete guide to enjoying the event" from MLive

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "ArtPrize: Complete guide to enjoying the event" from MLive

Dates: 24 September - 12 October

Venue Hours
• 5-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday
• Noon-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday
• Noon-6 p.m. Sunday
Venues may be open for additional hours

Exhibition Centers and Showcase hours
• Noon-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday
• Noon-6 p.m. Sundays

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – ArtPrize 2014 is about to begin.

The urban exhibition and $560,000 competition opens Wednesday, Sept. 24 with 1,536 works of art on display at 174 locations in downtown Grand Rapids plus Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The sixth annual contest created by social media entrepreneur Rick DeVos and 19-day-long exhibition ends Sunday, Oct. 12.

Here are some key dates to plan your ArtPrize experience. For more information, go online to ArtPrize's website.

For additional information to plan you visit to ArtPrize and Grand Rapids, check out ArtPrize's visitor's page as well.

ArtPrize 2014 Key Dates:

• Wed. Sept. 24 – ArtPrize 2014 opens at noon and Round 1 of voting begins in the $560,000 contest.

• Mon. Sept. 29 – ArtPrize Juried Awards Short List Announcement at 7 p.m. at ArtPrize's Hub Headquarters, 41 Sheldon Blvd. SE. Four ArtPrize jurors who will award prizes in four categories – Best Two-Dimensional Work, Best Three-Dimensional Work, Best Installation and Best Time-Based Work – each will unveil their five finalists for the four $20,000 category awards. One entry in each group of five ultimately will win the award, and one entry from the 20 will win the $200,000 Juried Grand Prize.

• Sat. Oct. 4 – Round 1 Voting ends at 11:59 p.m.

• Sun. Oct. 5 – ArtPrize announces the five finalists in each of four genre categories at 2 p.m. Round 2 voting begins afterward for the 20 finalists.

• Mon. Oct. 6 – Critical Discourse: Why These Finalists I? At 7 p.m. in ArtPrize's HUB, experts will discuss the finalists chosen by the people and the professionals in the categories of Two-Dimensional Work and Installation.

• Tues. Oct. 7 – Critical Discourse: Why These Finalists II? Also at 7 p.m. in ArtPrize's HUB, experts will discuss finalists in the categories of Three-Dimensional Work and Time-Based Work.

• Thurs. Oct. 9 – Round 2 Voting ends at 11:59 p.m.

• Fri. Oct. 10 – ArtPrize 2014's Awards Ceremony will be held at 8 p.m. at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

• Sun. Oct. 12 – ArtPrize 2014 exhibition ends at 6 p.m.

ArtPrize and its many venues have plenty more activities happening throughout the nearly three weeks of ArtPrize.


Event Link:

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Harvest Fair, Maker Faire share Wisconsin State Fair Park" from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Harvest Fair, Maker Faire share Wisconsin State Fair Park" from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Dates: 26-28 September 2014

"Need a reason to take a shine to the annual Harvest Fair? How about the fact that admission is free?

New to the fair, which runs Friday through Sunday at Wisconsin State Fair Park, are professional and amateur pumpkin carvers who'll demonstrate their knife skills in a Colossal Pumpkin Carving contest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Micro, the specialty beer section of the park, will feature more than 50 seasonal craft beers and 10 big-screen televisions for the Packers game. Bands include Trick Pony at 8 p.m. Friday, the Buckinghams at 4 p.m. Saturday and the Grass Roots at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Other activities, some ticketed, include pumpkin bowling, scarecrow making, amusement rides including a zip line, a pumpkin patch and farmers market, pony and camel rides, and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast until noon Saturday and Sunday.

Also, Maker Faire will make its debut at State Fair Park, 640 S. 84th St., West Allis, at the same time as Harvest Fair."


Event Link:

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Dlectricity lights Detroit's night" from the Detroit News

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Dlectricity lights Detroit's night" from the Detroit News

Dates: 26-27 September 2014

"Dlectricity –

— Detroit's nighttime festival of art and light kicked off Friday in Midtown. The event features more than 35 artists and the showcases will illuminate the area from the Detroit Institute of Arts to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

On Saturday a light bike parade will feature thousands of cyclists biking a four-mile route through Midtown. The event runs from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday and is free."


Event Link:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Stained glass museum closing at Navy Pier" from the Chicago Tribune

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Stained glass museum closing at Navy Pier" from the Chicago Tribune

In a dimly lit Festival Hall at Navy Pier, two movers gently hoist a stained glass panel from a display case with gloved hands and pack it into a crate for safekeeping until light can shine through it once more.

Many of the display cases at the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows are now empty. All 143 panels — depicting landscapes, nursery rhymes and historic moments — are being plucked from their containers as art conservationists work to close the offbeat museum by mid-October ahead of a renovation at the state's top tourist attraction.

Soon the space is to be converted into a "new retail, entertainment and hotel district," said Nick Shields, a Navy Pier spokesman. Shields could not say specifically what would fill the space.

For Rolf Achilles, who curated the Smith museum, the closing is disappointing. Achilles, an adjunct professor of historic restoration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, said Chicago is losing a strong cultural attraction.

"It's like closing down 'American Gothic' at the Art Institute to put in a restaurant, to put in another McDonald's or something," he said.

For 14 years the collection has been on display in an unconventional space that snakes along Navy Pier's lower level, and can appear at first glance more like a well-decorated hallway than a museum. The 800-foot-long central corridor at the east end of the pier is visited by art aficionados — and also tourists seeking a restroom.

Ken and Pat Haats, of Waterloo, Iowa, happened upon signs for the museum Wednesday morning as they walked along Navy Pier and decided to check it out.

"I can't see how you'd miss this," said Pat Haats, who used to create stained glass windows.

But Jane and Rick Serre of Moline, Ill., also walked through the museum Wednesday — on their way to a restaurant. The couple looked at a few panels but made their way quickly through the hall.

"We came with the intention of having lunch at Margaritaville," Rick Serre said.

The upcoming renovations are part of Navy Pier's Centennial Vision — a plan for improvements including additional green space, Chicago-style food vendors and a hotel set to honor the pier's 100th birthday in 2016.

A representative of the Smith Museum, John Pastuovic, said he learned just over a year ago that the exhibit would need to move.

"They were looking at expanding with substantial improvements to Navy Pier, and where our display was, was in the footprint of their plan," he said.

The exhibit opened in 2000 under a 10-year art loan agreement signed in 1997 and then was extended with a series of one-year agreements.

The collection was donated by Maureen Dwyer Smith and Edward Byron Smith Jr., whose family founded Illinois Tool Works and Northern Trust. It includes stained glass windows from around the world, some dating back nearly 150 years. The pieces have inhabited windows in churches and synagogues, schools, homes and mausoleums.

Shields said Navy Pier offered the Smith Museum 4,000 square feet in the renovated building. Pastuovic said the museum decided against accepting the offer.

Visitors will still be able to find stained glass at the pier, Shields said, as the Richard H. Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass will remain. The separate exhibit sits just off the Smith Museum and houses 11 Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows. Tiffany was the son of Harriet Olivia Young and Charles Lewis Tiffany, founders of Tiffany & Co.

Achilles, the curator, said he thought fewer people would seek out the Driehaus Gallery now that the Smith Museum is leaving. He expects a strong reaction once news spreads about the museum closing.

"Nobody in the stained glass community knows it's leaving Navy Pier," Achilles said. "There will be an uproar."

Richard Gross, media director for the Stained Glass Association of America, said the collection is admired by stained glass experts. He said many travel to Chicago just to see the museum.

"I'm not aware of a place that has the same extensive collection," Gross said. "(Closing the Smith Museum) is taking away a great resource."

The immediate challenge facing those moving the artwork is their Oct. 15 deadline. Conservationists are working around the clock.

Dmitri Rybchenkov, an art conservationist tasked with overseeing the process, said that while he is confident the team can pull it off, the time frame might be more appropriate for removing drywall than fragile panes of stained glass. On other projects, Rybchenkov said he's been allotted two to three weeks to remove and prepare just one panel.

"We're working at a speed that is not known coming from an art conservationist," he said.

Meanwhile, museum representatives are working to secure places to display the panels.

Pastuovic said some will be installed in pedways and maybe airports — where a large audience of passers-by would be able to see them — but that the museum was not yet ready to make any official announcements.

It is unlikely that the entire collection will be reconvened in one exhibit, he said, because very few venues offer as large a space as Navy Pier.

"The art is meant to be displayed and shared," Pastuovic said. "It is of continued importance that we achieve that goal."


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Destination: Chicago-Downtown (North Loop), IL, USA

Destination: Chicago-Downtown (North Loop), IL, USA

Link: https://picasaweb.google.com/100945938672227812551/ChicagoDowntownNorthLoopILUSA?noredirect=1

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "These Are the 25 Best Museums in the World" from Time

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "These Are the 25 Best Museums in the World" from Time

Chicago's Art Institute tops this list by Trip Advisor, with Mexico City's National Museum of Anthropology close behind.

If you’re booking vacations for the holidays, take note: TripAdvisor has released a list of the 25 best museums in the world.

The rankings — part of TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice awards — are based on millions of reviews from travelers across the globe over the past 12 months.

Coming in at number one is the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. Founded in 1879, the popular Windy City destination houses more than 300,000 pieces of art, including famous works like Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Claude Monet’s Stack of Wheat and Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. (You’ll also remember this museum from that awesome scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.)

Other top museums on the list include the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, the State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The full list is here.

Oh, and if these museums seem a bit too quotidian for you, check out our list of the 10 weirdest museums in the world. You know, for some variety.

Editor's note: In the US category, museums located in the Great Lakes and Upper South include:

1-Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
16-Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois
19-Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois
24-National Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton, Ohio
25-The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan


Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Chicago-Area Museums Participate in Smithsonian Event, Offer Free Admission" from NBC Chicago

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Chicago-Area Museums Participate in Smithsonian Event, Offer Free Admission" from NBC Chicago

"Chicago-area museums are among more than 1,500 museums nationwide offering free admission on Saturday (27 September) through the Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live! event.

Smithsonian magazine will sponsor the 10th annual event this year in honor of Smithsonian museums, which already offer free admission to visitors every day. Participating museums will open their doors free of charge to all guests who register online in advance for tickets.

Smithsonian-affiliated museums and cultural centers throughout all 50 states will participate in this year’s occasion, including Chicago’s Adler Planetarium and at least 12 other museums in the city. There are at least 37 participating museums in Illinois.

The event expects record-high participation this year.

Guests must register online for a downloadable ticket, good for two guests per household. People may only download a ticket for one museum. To find a nearby museum visit the Smithsonian Museum Day Live! web page.

Besides free admission to the museums, those who attend will also get a one-year digital subscription to Smithsonian magazine."


Monday, September 22, 2014

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Against the tide, newcomers move into Detroit" from the Detroit News

Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Against the tide, newcomers move into Detroit" from the Detroit News

""The only person who thought my moving to Detroit was a good idea was my accountant," Maria Urquidi says, laughing. She was attracted by the affordability of her classic Mies Van der Rohe townhouse in Lafayette Park. Urquidi, 62, says she "retired to Detroit" from the bucolic Hudson River Valley of New York.

"My kids think I'm nuts."

And that's the reaction most newcomers to Detroit heard when they announced to friends and family they were moving to Detroit, the largest broke city in America.

The latest Census Bureau population estimate for Detroit was 688,701 as of July 1, 2013 — the same month the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Considering the city's population trend over the past six decades, it's a good bet the total population is less now. Still, some people are moving into the city. The question they hear: Why?

Why deal with blight, crime, violence, poor schools, spotty services, neighbors who don't pay their taxes and a dozen other reasons not to move in?

These newcomers give a variety of answers, but most seem to fit these general profiles:

Urban explorers: These young adults are the children of those who left the city for the allure of the suburbs. They grew up in subdivisions, with malls full of chain stores, functional city governments and the personal safety their parents craved. They move to Detroit for a more "edgy" environment or one that is more diverse, where they can have an impact by getting involved in city improvement projects. And because it's cheaper to live here than in other metropolises.

Property seekers: The sub-prime mortgage crisis and recession of 2008, and ensuing foreclosures, plus thousands of abandoned homes, have been a boon for speculators and investors, but also for people who see an opportunity to purchase the home they'd always dreamed of but couldn't afford.

Native sons and daughters: They grew up in Detroit, left to find jobs elsewhere, but yearned to come home, or to be closer to family.

Entrepreneurs: Would-be business owners are attracted to Detroit because the amount of capital they need to secure a location is so much lower than in other major North American cities.

Empty-nesters: Some have moved from other states or from Detroit's own suburbs to take advantage of a downtown with all the cultural attractions of other cities, without all the congestion. Or, like Urquidi, they may be retired from their jobs, but still have the energy, experience and will to plug in to organizations trying to revitalize Detroit's urban core and neighborhoods.

Once they're here, these newcomers face the same challenges that longtime residents have faced for years. And challenges tend to bring people together. The new residents profiled in this report say that Detroit has the sense of tight-knit community they've craved — a big city, but at the same time, the feel of a small town.

Enjoying the 'DIY attitude'

Deveri Gifford, 32, and Jason Yates, 39, always wanted to open a restaurant. Even before they knew each other, they had the same dream.

But in Toronto, where they met and married, the dream seemed beyond their grasp. "Financially, it was just not feasible to open a restaurant in Toronto," even though it was Yates' hometown, said Gifford, who grew up outside Ottawa. "It's very expensive; lots of competition."

So the couple started to look for an alternative location. Since she has dual Canadian-American citizenship, they decided to look in the United States.

They wanted their restaurant to use locally sourced and organic produce. Gifford had read about the urban farming movement in Detroit and thought the city would be a good place to begin their search for a location they could afford.

Yates said, "There seemed to be a real positive energy coming from the people we met."

"Obviously, you see the burned out buildings and you see stuff in disrepair," said Gifford, "but then we also saw a lot of great stuff, and the people we met here were really energetic and doing interesting things.

"The DIY attitude is what we really loved about the city," she said. "The fact that the city is broke really contributes to that DIY attitude because there's this perspective of 'No one else is going to do this, so if I see a problem I'm just going to fix it.' "

They moved to Detroit in early 2012 and served their first breakfast that June at Brooklyn Street Local on Michigan Avenue in Corktown. The eatery serves breakfast and lunch every day but Monday. It's a hands-on business. Yates is executive chef and Gifford does a little bit of everything, visiting local farmers and Eastern Market almost every day.

They described a customer type they say they encounter over and over: out-of-towners who say they want to "save Detroit."

"It occurred to me that it was actually the other way around," Gifford said. "Detroit was saving us because there's nowhere else that we could have done this … and have the kind of support we've had from the community."

'Deep belief in our city'

"We moved back because Detroit is a part of us," said 29-year-old Darlisha Stanfield, sitting with her fiancé, Jarrett Barnes, in front of their North Rosedale Park home. "We are both Detroit Public School graduates and very proud Detroiters. This is a way for us to invest in the city. We want to raise our kids here."

The couple, both 29, met while attending Renaissance High School but didn't start dating until they reconnected after college in 2008. They've lived in Ann Arbor, Philadelphia and Southfield, moving into Detroit in June of this year. Stanfield now works for Teach For America in Detroit, while Barnes designs and tests airbags for auto supplier Takata Corp.

"The bankruptcy was not a determining factor for our move back home," said Stanfield, who is an administrator for Teach for America. "We saw it as a chance to not only show our deep belief in our city and its potential, but to also be a part of a historic, thriving community. We've been looking for a house in this particular neighborhood for two years."

'I'm staying for the people'

When Maria Urquidi began thinking about retiring from her job as a technology specialist for the New Palz school system in New York's Hudson River Valley, she also began thinking about Detroit.

She was intrigued by what she'd read about the city's ills and began thinking about possible remedies. "People are going to have to think about how to fix them in a different way than they've done in the past," she said. "And that was very exciting to me, that you couldn't just tweak things around the edges. You were going to have to come up with brand new solutions.

"I wanted to be part of that."

When she came across photographs of the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe townhouses and apartment buildings in the Lafayette Park neighborhood, she was stunned.

"I'd been married to an architect for 30 years and had traveled the world looking at architecture," she said, "and here in Detroit was the largest collection of Mies van der Rohe buildings in the world."

She said she was so smitten she purchased one and moved in last year.

"I certainly couldn't afford to retire in New York state with their taxes — or anywhere else, for that matter. But Detroit was affordable."

Today, she is involved in activities every day of the week. And she bicycles to all of them. She volunteers at Gleaners, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and with the nonprofit Transportation Riders United. She regularly does tai chi on the Riverwalk and Zumba at Eastern Market and bikes with Slow Roll Mondays.

Through all these activities she's met tons of Detroiters whom she finds to be the friendliest urban dwellers she's ever met.

"I came for the architecture," she said, "but I'm staying for the people."

Urquidi says Detroit is a great place for retirees and purchased the URL retire2detroit.org to set up a website encouraging others to follow her lead. Just like the young professionals trying to make a difference in Detroit, "They also have a lot of time and energy and interest," Urquidi said.

"The difference is we're not going to get married in five years, have children and move out of Detroit."

'My dream home ... for a steal'

Lesley Daley's life reads like a chapter out of Elizabeth Gilbert's autobiographical novel "Eat, Pray, Love." Daley grew up in London, then lived all over the United States for 20-odd years before she returned to Europe to start a real estate business in Croatia. Then she lived a year in Italy before moving to Bali for four years.

It was in Bali that she first read about Detroit in the only English-language magazines available, Time and Newsweek. It sounded fascinating.

Daley, 56, said the city's financial crisis was "part of the attraction" because house prices were so low.

"It was once a great city so I figured it would come back one day," she said.

In 2012, she and her partner Russell Rhea moved into one of the largest homes in Detroit's historic Indian Village.

"This is my dream home," she said. "And we got it for a steal." The 15,000-square-foot, neo-Georgian mansion that last sold in 1999 for $900,000 cost them $410,000.

"In any other city in America, this house would be millions of dollars.

"We're like a lot of my friends here, who've come from all over the country," Daley said. "We've all been able to purchase these fantastic homes, to be the new caretakers for the next generation and try to preserve what's left of Detroit."

Daley said the blocks of unoccupied homes that make some people shudder don't concern her. She said the media's penchant for publishing pictures of burned-out buildings and stories about packs of stray dogs overrunning the city — which she's never seen — has skewed people's perceptions.

"I think if people knew what the real Detroit was like and they saw all the beautiful homes in the neighborhoods instead of just burned-out buildings – which aren't all over the city," they'd have a different impression.

""The fact that Detroit is not over-populated makes me think it's like a secret," she said with a pixie grin. "People haven't discovered the secret yet. And when they do, they're going to start coming here.

"I've lived in five different countries, and I think this is one of the best places I've ever lived. It really is a gem and I'm glad that I found it," Daley said. "And I intend to end my life in Detroit, Michigan."

But that may not be in her Indian Village home. The couple found out, as most owners of old houses do, that while the price they paid was a steal, expenses don't stop there. The mansion comes with mansion-sized maintenance bills, and in this case, lots of deferred repairs. They have put thousands into correcting jury-rigged plumbing and heating systems and haven't even begun to fix the water-damaged plaster.

So, their dream home is now on the market for $800,000. Meanwhile, Daley is looking into pioneering a neighborhood most "newbies" haven't thought to buy into yet.

'Somewhere with character'

"Growing up in Ann Arbor, even though it's just a short drive away, my parents never brought me down to Detroit," said Whitney McGoram, senior account executive at Identity PR in Bingham Farms. "It just wasn't something anyone ever did. So I didn't know anything about it." The 27-year-old now lives in the north-central Sherwood Forest neighborhood with her husband, Andrew, whom she met while living in New Zealand before moving back to Ann Arbor.

After a while she got tired of commuting to Bingham Farms every day. "I wanted to be closer, but I wanted somewhere with character," she said. "A lot of the suburbs to me just didn't have that much character.

"I started spending some time getting to know Detroit and getting to know some of the neighborhoods. We discovered that we could buy a nice big house for what we could get a small apartment in Ann Arbor for.

"I think there're a lot more people who want to move into Detroit," said McGoram, who moved to the city in April 2014. "One major obstacle they're facing is the banks and the foreclosure market. There are a lot of houses, even in this neighborhood, that we know are available but no one can find any information on them. Everything is very complicated. There's a lot of red tape. They just sit there and it's really frustrating.

"I really hope that when this whole bankruptcy thing is done and Detroit gets back on its feet that it makes it easier for people to get into some of these houses."

'A civic duty'

Engaged couple Sara Davis and Grover Tigue moved to Detroit in June 2013. While renting a home from Tigue's aunt in northwest Detroit, the 37-year-old Davis writes grants and volunteers her time at 4ward Phoenix, a youth journalism readiness program run inside Youthville on Woodward. Tigue, a bass guitar player who left Detroit 20 years ago, is busy playing and traveling with several bands, when he's not working on personal music projects.

"The bankruptcy concerned me to some degree," said Davis, who has two children in the Detroit Public Schools system. "As far as schools, and the police and fire department, and different things like that, that concerned me a little bit, but primarily it didn't."

Davis, a Grand Rapids native who had never lived in Detroit before, says she saw it more as an opportunity.

"I've always felt like I have a civic duty in my life, and Detroit ... needs people to help bring the city back, and I want to be a part of that. "

"This is where I was born and raised," said Tigue. "If you look throughout history you'll find that with any type of economical catastrophe there was always music. And with me being a professional musician, I knew there was something I could contribute to the growth."

'We moved to be near our friends'

Dan Vermeersch and Ryan Havens had a great life. They were both nurses working in suburban hospitals and they loved their home in Shelby Township, 20 miles north of Detroit.

"We were really happy," said Vermeersch, 45. "But one day we kind of looked around and realized our friends who'd always been close by had all moved." They'd gone south to Royal Oak, Ferndale or Detroit. "We found ourselves always driving a distance for our social life with friends."

So the couple began thinking about moving, too. They looked for homes in Royal Oak and Ferndale and found they couldn't match the spaciousness of their Shelby Township home for a reasonable price.

Their friends in Palmer Woods convinced them to look at houses in Detroit. It didn't take long for Vermeersch and Havens to discover the University District near the University of Detroit Mercy -- block after block of beautifully kept brick Tudors built in the 1920s. They were hooked, and in June they moved into the neighborhood.

"The neighbors are fantastic," said Vermeersch, who grew up in the city. The block captain came over right away to welcome them. "I have seen nothing but positivity since I moved to Detroit, nothing but positivity."

Then, two months after they moved in, Ryan's car was stolen from their driveway. "It really does deflate you a little bit," said Havens, 36, a native of Beaverton, Mich.

They'd gotten the usual caveats from friends about the dangers awaiting them in the city, but they'd pooh-poohed them. "This neighborhood is different, we're moving to the good part," Vermeersch assured them. "We had to eat our words a little bit. .

"We were fortunate that we were able to find it quickly, it hadn't been taken too far," said Havens, "and whoever took our vehicle abandoned their attempt to steal the tires off it , so we got it back relatively intact."

They were quick to point out that their neighbors were sympathetic and suggested preventive measures, which the couple have taken to heart. The house's exterior is "lit up like a Christmas tree," the alarm system is up and running – and their cars are locked in the garage every night.

"It changed us from our suburbanite thinking to the reality, which is that you live in a city and things like that happen," Havens said. "They happen in every city, and you have to be more vigilant."

'Bankruptcy actually fueled my move'

When Kristy Sharrow began working in Detroit four years ago she fell in love with the city. "I'd be pretty sad to go home at the end of the workday and to leave on the weekends and go back to Ann Arbor," she said. "I just wanted to be in the city all the time."

The Ortonville native was managing the house Time Inc. had bought in West Village on the east side to use as a home base for reporters for a yearlong project on Detroit. Eventually, she began doing some freelance reporting, too.

While researching an article, Sharrow became friends with Edith Reed, "who at any given time has 11 or so grandchildren living with her," Sharrow said. "And despite the challenges in raising them on her own and battling leukemia and owning a house that is literally falling down, (she) continues to remain the most positive person I have ever met in my entire life."

Sharrow says meeting Edith, her brief "film career" — she's been an extra in four films — and her work with Time Inc. wouldn't have been possible anywhere else. "It sounds cheesy to say, but the city has done more for me and helped me more than I could ever do for it," she said.

This spring she and her husband Patrick Sharrow, 29, moved to Midtown. Kristy, now 28, landed a job as marketing director for LevelEleven, a company with offices in the M@dison building that sells motivational software for sales teams.

"The fact that the city was going bankrupt actually fueled my move," she said. "The negative attention around Detroit, that fueled my passion to take a stand in showing people that it's a great place."

'The power to change this'

"The bankruptcy definitely concerned me," said Alita Moore, a 28-year-old single mother now living with her own mother in the north central Conant Gardens neighborhood. "Moving back to the city, I questioned whether this was the best time to return home. It put a lot of fear into me as far as the job market. Are people going to be willing to invest jobs here now?"

Moore, a graduate of Detroit's Northern High and Michigan State, is now a business customer care representative for AT&T. After living in Atlanta and Chicago for several years, she returned to Detroit in July 2013. She often takes her 1-year-old son, Malachi, to play at the Dequindre-Grixdale playground, walking past a combination of blighted and well-kept homes along the way.

"Malachi's future in Detroit is bright," Moore said. "He might see a lot of blight now when I take him on walks. He sees a lot of things he shouldn't be exposed to, especially at such a young age. But what I'm going to instill in him is that you have the power to change this. Are you going to be the one to complain about this, or are you going to be the one to change this?"