Alden B. Dow Projects on Display at Creative Michigan Exhibition

The Creative Michigan: Making the Mitten Modern exhibition takes place February 25-April 29, 2023 at the Lorenzo Cultural Center on the center campus of Macomb Community College in Clinton Township. The exhibit explores the period 1945-1969 and the advancements that took place during one of the largest periods of creativity and growth in Michigan history. Everything from architecture, furniture, art and music, as well as television, radio and advertising had a modern look that helped people move on from wartime.

The organizers of the exhibit contacted the Alden B. Dow Archives in search of three-dimensional architectural models to display. Two large models fit within the time period highlighted by the exhibit. The model of the First Presbyterian Church of Dearborn is now on display at the Lorenzo Center, along with a model of its distinctive triangular columns, an oversize drawing of its floorplan, and a large color photograph of the interior of the church.


The second model on loan for the exhibit is the W-Frame house, usually on display in the first drafting room of the Home and Studio. It is accompanied by a large format, hand-tinted drawing, a smaller color presentation drawing, and several photos of both the model and the home as it was eventually built. Textual materials include descriptions of each project as well as biographical information about Mr. Dow.

Creative Michigan: Making the Mitten Modern also features the Michigan Modern traveling photography exhibit. It is taken from the book, Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy, by James Haefner and includes framed photos of the Dow-designed Ashmun and Riecker residences.

In addition, there are numerous programs and speakers throughout the run of the exhibit. Topics include the influence of the 1949 For Modern Living exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts; General Motors pioneering car designer, Harley Earl; Susan Bandes on her book, Mid-Michigan Modern Architecture; mid-century furniture; the music of Motown; and more.

The complete list of presentations can be found here. All presentations are free to the public, but preregistration is required. The exhibit is also free and open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-4pm.

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