Easily visible from Woodward Avenue, a massive sky-blue and rainbow paint-splattered mural instituted by CCS grad Katherine Craig houses North End Studios, a collective workspace of several up-and-coming artists and musicians. On occasional evenings, the space takes on an alternate moniker—Sparklewood—where shows and dance parties often last deep into the morning hours. When I arrived early one afternoon, empties covered the tables and co-curator Jeff Nolan had recently woken from a windowsill and was sipping on a bottle of champagne, looking a bit disheveled. “I was going to clean up a little…” but I assured him that I understood completely.
The building has been a notable party spot and has a history stretching back to early 1990s rave culture. Once North End Studios began to welcome artists last year, fellow CCS grad Nolan invited local indie-pop party-bringing superstars Macrame Tiger to share a portion of the main floor and has since hosted a variety of events. “There’s always weird shit happening here because there are so many artists in this space,” says Nolan. “There’s about one art show a month… usually we’ll do an after-party. This week there was five bands from out of town. There’s usually a dance party every other week.”
“Everything is operating really well,” informed Nolan. “There are a lot of repairs and general maintenance that we want to do on the building, just so everything’s nice and pristine… a nice, professional looking, finished spot.” Portions of floors are currently being remodeled and walls are being refinished, and overall their ongoing work shows a great deal of promise. “We want to bring in artists from out of the country, out of the state… more and more big stuff because it’s such a big space.”
“It’s a place where people can come and feel comfortable,” says local contributor Alyssa Hardin. “It’s like a big playground, for big kids.”
“At the Marco Polio show, people were dancing on tables and crowdsurfing in a wheelchair,” says Nolan. “You couldn’t get away with that at a venue.” Sparklewood hopes to open its doors to more national touring acts.
photos by Meaghan Patricia, intern for DetroitExposure.com