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Tylonn Sawyer: Youth Program Producer at MOCAD

The local artist shares his dream of bringing festivals similar to Art Basel and South By Southwest to the Motor City to create an artistic mecca in Detroit

As an artist, Tylonn Sawyer represents the lifeblood of the Motor City’s creative renaissance. When Sawyer is not painting portraits of his city, he is crafting youth programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and teaching at the College for Creative Studies. Peering into the future, he sees a stage—and Detroit is the star.

“I think something along the lines of Art Basel combined with SXSW (South By Southwest) might help this dream of Detroit becoming an artistic mecca. I’m talking something big, multi-venue that would attract the art world as a whole. Yet when I speak of art, I’m not (only) referring to visual arts. There are tons of musicians, poets (and) performance artists who make up this growing community.”

Sawyer's artistic portraits can be seen on display at the N'Namdi Center For Contemporary Art and recently he made an appearance in the Red Bull House of Art commercial highlighting Detroit.

"I think unifying these artistic endeavors under a festival that is inclusive of the arts as a whole would definitely be a step in the right direction towards creating that reputation of Detroit being an art mecca," adds Sawyer.

For more information about Sawyer's artwork and upcoming projects, visit TylonnSawyer.schmolio.com.

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