Learning from the past to shape our future. 

Before shopping malls existed the zip code of 48221 was one of the top regional destinations for luxury shopping.   Shops like B. Siegel Co., Woolworths and famed piano store Grinnell were trend setters in the local retail industry.   Before the Motown sound, Detroit's northwest side embarked on a rich musical legacy defined by American jazz. Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, America’s oldest operating jazz club which continues to anchor Livernois Ave since 1933. Jazz greats like Art Tatum, Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and countless others have graced Baker’s stage. Baker's piano-shaped bar inspired Liberace to install his famous piano-shaped swimming pool at his home in Beverly Hills. Marvin Gaye used to live in the neighborhood and world renowned painter Charles McGhee has called this neighborhood home for over 80 years .

Behind this great history, African American cultural heritage has played the guiding role in shaping the arts and business in 48221. This rich legacy continues today.

These connections that define this neighborhood make us who we are.  The people, processes, partnerships and projects that define the DNA Project will ultimately create a destination for the arts and creative entrepreneurship that celebrates the identity and assets of the neighborhood and advances the mission of creating a cultural corridor.  

Our aim is to build on the long legacy of African American arts and culture that defined this community.