As flavor of the month galleries have come and gone, River’s Edge Gallery has stayed the course.
Our gallery is committed to promoting local and regional artists on a global scale. We feature prominent well known artists from Detroit and the region as well as emerging artists. The gallery promotes artists, not art. The artists that are represented at our gallery come from a wide range of backgrounds from traditional to outsider and everything in between.
River’s Edge Gallery has been an important presence on the Metro Detroit art scene for over 30 years. It all began when the late Jim Slack and his wife, Patt, relocated to the Detroit Area. Both had traveled and lived in artist colony type habitats. This post industrial area felt like home and in fact was for Patt who grew up in Wyandotte, also known as “downriver”. It sits on the shores of the Detroit River where you can view downtown Detroit from its shore.
The gallery became a place for artists to hang and sell their work and Jim’s studio became a gathering place for artists of all ages. He made it a practice of keeping extra supplies for those who needed it. According to Patt Slack, “Some of the artists have hung in the gallery for 30 years and some for 30 minutes.” Many of the artists have “made it” with national and international reputations such as Niagara, SLAW, Gary Grimshaw, Patricia Izzo, Audrey Pongracz and more.
The gallery is now housed in a turn of the century three story building and is credited for helping make Detroit art a global phenomenon. With the addition of Jeremy Hansen as Gallery Director and Jason Ray in marketing, the gallery brought attention to art forms that could only come out of an area like Detroit. Many of the artists come out of industry and have a different take on their medium. The metal artists twist and turn metal like it was licorice. Keith Coleman, who has made a zoo full of animals out of old hot water tanks, was featured on the Discovery channel. Keith, like many artists, will recount their first visit to the gallery and their attempt at showing their art.
The found art objects have historic significance like the area itself. The metal and granite chair created by Tim Burke, a part of the internationally recognized Heidelberg Project, is made from rescued granite from the Detroit Institute of the Arts and left over car parts from the old Hudson Car Factory. Items in the gallery have ranged from sculptures made from left over “Nerf” footballs to pins made from the stained glass rescued from the Lucy Coleman Center, the first YWCA for Women of Color.
Because Wyandotte hosts the second largest art fair in Michigan in July, the gallery displays the best of their collection of artists during this month. It is a diverse and wonderful show of art. The third floor also hosts three artists studios (Patricia Izzo, Jeremy Hansen and E.L. Conley) which are open for touring.