Osman Khan, Chido Johnson, Sabrina Nelson, Scott Hocking, Jason Peters, Melanie Manos, Michi Meko, The Young Never Sleep, Ingrid Lefluer, Antonio Cosme, Graem Whyte, Mitch Cope

Pickle Factory – Detroit, MI

May – July 2016

Photos by Noah Morrison & Scott Hocking
Film by Noah Morrison & Ben Collins


For Detroit Boom City, Dashboard was invited to produce an exhibition that celebrated the social entrepreneurial spirit of the city’s art community. Participating artists were selected for the quality of their execution and conceptual practice, as well as their engagement in diverse communities. Each Detroit-based artist is acutely aware of their city’s uniqueness — they have created works that respond to or enhance it. For added perspective, 4 national artists were invited to produce a piece depicting initial impressions of this complex landscape. The resulting exhibition is sharp, delicate, sensual, dirty, meditative, and warm (quite literally, Graem made a sauna).


Film by Noah Morrison & Ben Collins

We found a Pickle Factory.

We found a Pickle Factory.


Detroit Boom City is presented in a vacant, former pickle factory dynamically situated in the city. The building boasts a rich history and is owned by Detroit natives who are social entrepreneurs committed to enhancing the cultural landscape of their neighborhood.



Boom Parking Inspired by Detroit’s car culture and the wire-cars he played with as a child in Zimbabwe, Chido created WAWAD (Wire-car Auto Workers Association of Detroit). Here the artist presents Boom Parking, a lot full of wire cars made by his friends and neighbors during various WAWAD workshops.

Detroit artist, originally from Zimbabwe. He is a Kresge and MacDowell Colony Fellow, and currently the section chair in Sculpture at the College for Creative Studies.



Sabrina’s work honors those who have come before her. Her work has feminist undertones and addresses the power of the SHERO and the healing protective nature of that power. Her installation pays homage to the late Mary Herbeck, an influential artist and educator who lived and worked in southwest Detroit. Mary was a fire~walker, she planted seeds literally and figuratively. This installation is an auditory and visual conversation of Mary’s sensuality, memory, identity and influence.

Sabrina Nelson was born in the late 60's during the riots in Detroit Michigan. She is a painter and arts educator. She has worked in admissions at the College for Creative Studies for more than 20 years.



A piece exploring the ubiquity and value of objects as they are deconstructed, assembled, mass-produced and re-assessed. Objects are all property of Detroit-native Brad Ellis and highlight what he’s recycled, collected, sold, and got stuck with as he’s navigated shifting economic climates.

Jason Peters is an internationally recognized artist based in New York. He has been commissioned by BMW, Oklahoma Museum of Art, and many, many others. He recently completed a residency at the Bronx Museum. This is his third Dashboard commission.



An artist moves through the urban and rural landscapes surrounding Detroit, excavating and gathering objects that speak to his Southern sensibilities.

Michi is an Atlanta based artist recently collected by the High Museum of Art. His work draws influence from rural southern culture and contemporary urban subcultures. He is represented by the Alan Avery Art Company and works at the Fulton County Arts Council.

Image by Noah Elliott Morrison



Chrome fenders serve as the portals to the interior chambers of an automobile in which the artist, Melanie Manos, pushes the physicality of her body and practices Japanese. The piece ties her commute each day to her work building community between Detroit/Ann Arbor and Shigaraki/Kyoto (Sister Cities).

Melanie Manos is a visual and performance artist based in Detroit. She started an international “art pals” program between students at Detroit Bennett School and Shigaraki Kohara School (Japan). She also plays keyboard in Jeecy and the Jungle, and is adjunct faculty at the University of Michigan, Stamps School of Art & Design.

osman office.jpg

Road to Hybridabad + OFfice by Osman Khan

Making comment in globalization and the presence of American logos and culture worldwide, Osman Khan re-outfitted a UHaul truck with iconography from his native Pakistan. The imagery makes reference to the ornate work trucks of Pakistan, art pieces in their own right. The office space acted as a playful space where people could quite literally "rent" the truck to haul things. 


Sensual peach by THE YOUNG NEVER SLEEP

Sensual Peach is a study of color and texture; highlighting the myriad of ways these two elements interact with one another in a physical space. This piece is a visual conversation about the differences that drive us apart and the similarities that hold us together.

YNS is is an interdisciplinary creative studio based out of San Franscisco, and Atlanta. The studio is operated by artists and designers, Branden M. Collins and Madeline Moore.

Image by Noah Elliott Morrison



Using artifacts collected throughout the Pickle Factory and adjoining properties, Scott creates the surreal office-like, shed-quarters of Narcissus Inc., a play on both the layered history of the structure, and the changing Detroit environment surrounding it.



In Paradisum is a final blessing as the body’s spirit transitions from this earthbound existence. Like the Catholic requiem, In Paradisum, transports Detroiters into a man-made healing space where guided meditations provide respite from the chaos of the city. Each meditation is inspired by various mythologies developed by musician SunRa, supermodel Donyale Luna and electronic music duo Drexciya. The structure is inspired by the Dogon myth about the star system Sirius.

Native Detroiter Ingrid LaFleur is a cultural producer, arts advocate and founder of AFROTOPIA.


Popps' Mobile Sauna by Graem Whyte


Graem Whyte is a visual artist based in Detroit, and co-founder of Popps Packing in Hamtramck. Popps' Mobile Sauna  is a 1989 Mitsubishi Van converted into a wood-fired sauna. Conceived by Graem Whyte, with collaborative efforts by Danish artist Benny Henningsen and Dutch artist Erik Jutten while in residence at Popps Packing.



This line painting pays homage to Poetic Electricity (1972), a mural by the late artist and educator, Aris Katroulis. A very strong figure in the city’s art scene, Katroulis was a former chair of the College for Creative Services’ art department, where he taught and had significant influence on Cope. Born Detroit, Michigan, 1973, Mitch Cope works as an artist and independent curator out of Detroit. Cope co-founded Tangent Gallery, Design 99, and Powerhouse Productions.



The phrase "Free the Land" graff-ed onto the exterior of the Pickle Factory represents the history of land, specifically in Michigan when, before car was king, logging was a lucrative industry. The text-based mural represents our relationship to socially-indifferent entrepreneurs and some of the founding ideals of capitalism.

Antonio Cosme lives and works in southwest Detroit. He studied economics and political science at Eastern Michigan University, and is a member of the collective, Raiz Up.

Image by Noah Elliott Morrison



When we were invited to Detroit, we were excited to explore the urban ruins of the city but knew we would need to approach the city, which has been through traumatic change, with humility and a deep respect. Our work has made us keenly aware of gentrification and the way city ecosystems work. With this awareness, we don’t interject ourselves into neighborhoods unannounced. We start with an invitation and then do the leg work to build authentic relationships and use our work to enhance a community’s pre-existing cultural identity. 

We spent 8 months on the ground in Detroit preparing for the show. We hired locally, stayed locally and shopped locally.  We did studio visits with artists, interviewed community members, and, of course, hunted for the perfect building.

We found an old Pickle Factory owned by a guy named Brad whose family has been in the area for generations. When we found it it was full of stuff old car parts from closed car factories, but Brad cleaned it out for us and we produced a massive exhibition, Detroit Boom City. 

The show lasted 6 weeks, we hired local students and trained them as docents to give tours and run gallery hours. The show was a spectacle and total success with critics and the public alike.Following Boom City, Brad’s daughter took over the building and turned it into a music venue.

ADDITIONALLY, we continue to work with Detroit artists having had shows with Melanie Manos, Scott Hocking, Ben Wolf, Osman Khan and Mitch Cope. And we continue to have relationships with organizations we met while doing work in Detroit. 


Presented in partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund.