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Detroit Artists Market celebrates city's 313th birthday

Dalia Reyes helps Peter Gahan (not pictured) take the birthday cake closer to the gallery's Woodward entrance.
Dalia Reyes helps Peter Gahan (not pictured) take the birthday cake closer to the gallery's Woodward entrance.
Alonso del Arte

Detroit's tricentennial was back in 2001. But the 313th anniversary is special because 313 is still the city's telephone area code and has become a sort of nickname for the city. For that reason, Detroit Artists Market presented a birthday cake for the city with 14 candles, which Gary Eleinko blew out surrounded by art lovers who came to see the show he curated. The show is titled simply 313.

Given that Detroit in the 20th Century became known as the automotive capital of the world, it makes sense that there would be photos of cars in the show. Bruce Giffin's photos show cars that are rusted, dented, scratched and in other ways damaged. "At the Auto Show people want the perfect picture of the perfect car," Giffin said, "but I like cars that are a little [expletive]ed up." He drives a GMC van with more than 130,000 miles on the odometer and he'll probably keep driving it for at least another 70,000 miles.

Another artist in the show, Bill Schwab, also has a car with more than 130,000 miles on it, a Jeep Patriot. Schwab's photos focus on Belle Isle, and were all taken between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. "The idea that Detroit is in decline is nothing new," he said, recalling that in the 1980s he and other photographers were taking pictures of buildings "demolished by neglect. I never liked the idea of a ruin, my photos are more [about] the spirit, the soul of the city."

Another connection between Giffin and Schwab is that their phone numbers are both in the 313 area code. Legendary street photographer and recent Kresge Eminent Artist Fellow Bill Rauhauser, who is also in the show, has a phone number with the 248 area code. The show also includes photography by Carlos Diaz, Scott Hocking, Oscar Hoff, Ali Elisabeth Lapetina, Vanessa Miller, and Tom Stoye. The show runs through July 12, with a gallery talk slated for June 28 at 11 a.m., according to the gallery's website.

Detroit was founded by Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac on July 24, 1701, according to the Detroit Historical Society. On February 1, 1802, Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair approved a charter for the city. When the Michigan and Indiana Territories were separated, Detroit became the capital of the Michigan Territory. When Michigan became a state in 1837, Detroit was still the capital, until 1848.