Two Detroit Cultural Institutions Partner in the Name of Design, Sustainability and Community Vision

December 19, 2021

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the College for Creative Studies have joined forces for the inaugural d.Tree Studio, a collaboration that brings together creative inquiry, craft, sustainability, community vision and storytelling.

This unique partnership started in 2018, when the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (The Wright) noticed dying Zelkova trees on their Midtown campus. With this observation, and as part of its mission to be a zero waste institution, the museum decided to form a collaboration with its neighbors, the College for Creative Studies (CCS). The goal of this partnership was to use the lumber harvested from the Zelkova trees in a creative endeavor and question how an African American museum and art and design school could set a precedent for climate justice art.

Over the course of two years, these two cultural institutions worked in unison to create a curriculum called the d.Tree Studio. For 15 weeks, students in the CCS Woodshop explored how designers and artists can learn from the wisdom of trees through the lens of various African material cultures and African American experiences in Detroit. These  two great institutions hosted critical conversations amongst Detroit’s artists, educators, students, elders, and landscape architects to explore what Detroit’s trees have seen during an event entitled:  Treeposium. During this engaging discussion, the African American experience in Detroit, the science of trees, and how we’re all connected was examined.

With 12 new and emerging artists, six CCS students and six community makers on scholarship. Together, these artists designed and built narrative pieces out of the harvested Zelkova wood, which will be exhibited in the d.Tree Studio Exhibition in CCS’ Center Galleries (the original location of the Wright Museum), from January 22 to February 5, 2022. The exhibition will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 1-6 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.


About The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History was founded in 1965 in Detroit, Michigan with the mission of opening minds and changing lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture. With ongoing educational programs, activities and exhibits, that mission is being achieved every day. Our 22,000 square foot, immersive core exhibit entitled: And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture is the largest, single exhibition surveying the history of African Americans. 

About The College for Creative Studies
Located in the heart of Detroit, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) is a world-class institution that educates artists and designers to be leaders in the creative professions. A private, fully accredited college, CCS enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees.

Students in the BFA program can major in Advertising Design, Art Practice, Communication Design, Craft and Material Studies, Entertainment Arts, Fashion Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, Product Design and Transportation Design, in addition to a dual major Art Education program. Students in the graduate program can major in Art Education, Color and Materials Design, Design for Climate Action, Motion Design,Transportation Design and User Experience Design.