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A new chapter: Hope for Flowers studio moves into new location in Midtown Detroit

by Rachael Thomas on August 23, 2023

A new chapter: Hope for Flowers studio moves into new location in Midtown Detroit


After nearly a year of planning and building, Hope for Flowers has moved into its new studio!

We’re now located at The Freelon on Sugar Hill, a mixed-use development within the historic Sugar Hills Arts District in Midtown. Our 3,200-square-foot space serves as a design and photoshoot studio, showroom for buyers, small-batch factory, and an education facility. 

The new Hope for Flowers studio is located within The Freelon at Sugar Hill, at 119 Garfield St. in Midtown Detroit. 


Building a solid foundation

Our new location would not be possible without our landlord, the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), and funding from Motor City Match and the Ford Foundation. When Reese and representatives of POAH connected in TBD year, it was clear that their organization and our brand share the same goals of contributing to a sustainable and equitable space for Detroit creatives to thrive. 


“Our vision for The Freelon is to build on Sugar Hill’s cultural legacy and cultivate an accessible, art-focused community that inspires future generations,” says Julie DeGraff Velazquez, vice president of redevelopment at POAH. “We also had a particular focus on attracting minority and women-owned businesses, especially those led by Detroiters. Tracy’s commitment to strengthening her hometown of Detroit, creating high-quality job opportunities and sustainable production methods, and providing direct access to arts education for the community made Hope for Flowers a great fit for The Freelon.”

Tracy Reese (third from the left) and members of the Hope for Flowers team, visiting the studio during the fall of 2022, while it was still under construction.

Tracy Reese (third from the left) and members of the Hope for Flowers team, visiting the studio during the fall of 2022, while it was still under construction.

 Art at its core

The heartbeat of our studio is the classroom for our Art Enrichment Program. “Our dedicated classroom allows us to welcome the community into a space that is custom built for them to enjoy art and crafts and learn more about sustainable life practices,” Reese says. Some of the artwork created by our students will be displayed in a permanent installation in the studio. 

 Next to the classroom is a dedicated space for our new artists-in-residence program. Each artist will occupy the space for three to six months at a time. Our first resident is Detroit fiber artist Taylor Childs, who is currently working on her Master of Fine Arts at Cranbrook Academy and teaches our Youth Art Enrichment program.

A rendering of the classroom for our Arts Enrichment Program. The classroom is what Reese was most excited to see designed.

 Sustainable design, thoughtful touches

It was important for our physical location to reflect the same conscious approaches we bring to our design ethos. DeGraff Velazquez says The Freelon was built to meet Enterprise Green Communities standards, a national framework for achieving green affordable housing. Some of these sustainable touches in our studio include LED light fixtures, high-efficiency heating and cooling, and water-saving devices.

 Erika Baker, co-founder of Detroit-based design and construction firm Urban Alterscape and longtime friend of Reese’s, also contributed to the studio’s eco-friendly design.

“Tracy wanted us to consider sustainable principles as we went through the design process,” Baker says. “We incorporated materials, such as cork and reclaimed wood, and products from recycled materials, like the felt acoustic fixtures. The space needed a light, neutral palette to highlight the design process, such as inspiration images, fabric swatches, finished garments, and student artwork. Where possible, we prioritized the use of local material sources and [local] sub-contractors and fabricators.” One of those fun, locally designed features include custom wallpaper inspired by a Hope for Flowers fabric design, created by Detroit Wallpaper Co.

Our new studio will also be used to photograph our products and editorial campaigns. Photo by Courtney Blackett Photography

What’s next? 

We’re excited to soon launch our expert sewing apprenticeship program. This will be housed within our small-batch production unit and teach students the basics of cut-and-sew garment production.

 While we look to Hope for Flowers’ future in Detroit, we also celebrate the present and our journey this far. Reese speaks for the entire team when she expresses her feeling about the studio’s completion: “Relieved, elated, proud, and grateful!”

 

 

 

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