Detroit Temple – The Dream Project

It just seems fitting somehow, considering this year’s theme and your 2008 street names, that what we’ve lovingly dubbed America’s motor city, Detroit, is awash with frenzied Burning Man activity. (For more on the street names, check out Larry Harvey’s recent post about them.)

So, if you happen to be passing by Detroit anytime soon, perhaps on an extended road trip to the Black Rock Desert, then stop by Peace Park to see its newest addition, The Temple Of The American Dream. A collaborative effort among the Detroit Burning Man community, the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF), David Best and Detroit community organizations have served to facilitate the realization of a shared dream–to reclaim the historic Old Redford / Brightmoor neighborhood from urban blight and gift a new public space to the people of Detroit. Visit The Detroit Dream Project Website.

Originally conceived between local Burners and David Best at a meet and greet during a Burning Man staff visit to Detroit in 2004, the temple was officially dedicated on June 21 with the wedding of two members of the community, music, fire performances and a tip toe parade which snaked its way around the park and through the temple, offering those who worked endlessly their first view of the finished project. The space, which is free and open to the public, will act as a welcoming shelter and contemplative space for community members. The Detroit Free Press also covered the installation.

Local community groups succeeded in raising $15,000 for temple construction, a major feat, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by BRAF to place a total of $30,000 in the Temple crew’s coffers.

Temple project members invite the public to enrich the lives of the community by hosting interactive art exhibitions, outdoor music, poetry readings and social activities. Community organizations have even planned to launch a children’s art camp to be held in the temple. Those associated with the project hope to spread the message that through grassroots volunteer efforts and community support, “all people can participate and create together.”

The temple is typical of a Best work — typically intricate, typically contemplative and typically breathtaking. The only thing uncharacteristic about this piece is that instead of being ceremoniously burned at the end of the week, it will remain with the community to offer future generations a glimpse of their own American dream.

You can read about the install and dedication because Affinity’s writing about it in the great new blog over at the BRAF website!

Read about the temple’s completion, and its dedication (and then a little more about its dedication!) plus great photos…and keep reading the BRAF blog!

(Brad Berwick is an intern in the Communications Department at Burning Man and a guest contributor to this blog.)

About the author: Brad Berwick

Brad Berwick, a burner since 2006, enjoyed a short peak behind the Burning Man curtain during his 2008 internship. After graduating college with a journalism degree in his home town of Lafayette, Louisiana, he is pursuing a career in the culinary arts.