Love, Strength & Updates from the IHG

The Irwin House Gallery, not unlike most of the world, remains closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Before the crisis, we were preparing to reset and restore for Spring events – including a community public art project. No one could have seen what was to come.

While we were certainly disappointed about the disruptions in our plans, we were happy to comply with the state’s shut-down orders and we continue to support Governor Whitmer in her efforts to extend the stay and keep us all safe. During this time, we are continuing to do all we can to serve our neighborhood and to support communities in need.

We have remotely continued our work with the West Grand Boulevard Collective (WGBC) to advocate for West End Detroit residents. We had an opportunity to volunteer for with Chef Maxcel Hardy and Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen for Good, preparing and serving meals for shelters and first responders. As neighbors of Henry For Hospital, we are also looking at ways we can support health care workers serving in our community. And, we have adjusted the scope of future programming to include programs which support post-pandemic healing through the arts.

We look forward to keeping in touch and reconnecting with the artists and arts communities of Detroit. In the meantime, please stay safe, stay informed and, most importantly, take care of your physical and mental health. Here are a few resources. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you or anyone you know needs help during this critical time.

Detroit area COVID-19 resources:

Lastly, we are all aware that some individuals displaying Coronavirus symptoms have been unable to get tested or receive medical care, including health care workers. We are not, in any way, disseminating medical advice, but if you find yourself having to administer self-care at home, please take what you find useful from the following video created by Dr. Nida Mohsin:

Sending love and strength to all!

Featured art by Eric’s I’ve Been Framed

Detroit Image Drive Part II: Send us your flix!

We KNOW you’re sheltering in place and keeping safe. And we are absolutely heartbroken, with you, by the loss of many dear friends, loved ones, leaders and great voices in our city and beyond. This is an unimaginably rough time, for the entire world. But hope prevails, laughter and sunshine still manage to peek in, and creativity is a healing elixir for us all.

While you’ve been inside, WE ALSO KNOW you’ve been digging through your crates of old photos – we’ve seen you on Facebook! So, since you have those beautiful Motown memories right at your fingertips, please be a part of a gallery project by sending us one of your favorite Detroit images.

Thru May 30, 2020, The Irwin House Gallery will be accepting YOUR Detroit photos for a permanent installation at our space, as an artistic record of real Detroit people, our meaningful moments, and the people, places, and experiences that shape us.

Here’s what you do 🙂

– PLEASE SUBMIT 1-3 of your favorite images to:

That’s it!

Thank you for being a part of our space, and helping us create this document of everyday Detroit greatness! Please take care, stay safe, and WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN and inviting you over to see the finished installation!

Check out the Facebook invitation HERE.

Local leaders, lasting impact… |

Well, it is still Women’s History Month, at least for a few more days…and Kiva has been highlighting its women-owned businesses all month – and that includes US! Kiva has been critical to the work we’ve done here

Read the full feature HERE:


FYI — At this critical time for businesses, the Kiva lending platform is still active and dedicated to helping small businesses succeed. If you are considering any type of loans to help keep your business afloat during this COVID-19 crisis, a Kiva loan may be your best option!

Kiva loans are absolutely interest free! And,  as a response to COVID-19 they have actually altered the US loan product to expand borrower eligibility, increased loan size to $15,000, and offer a 6 month grace period for repayment terms.  Please see the graphic attached below and this blog update for a further breakdown.

Kiva has offered a helpful COVID-19 FAQ page for both lenders and borrowers  HERE.

For more information about how you can apply, visit or just ASK US! Kiva has been a tremendous resource for our establishment and we are happy to help you get started!

Wishing health and strength to all!
The Irwin House Gallery

Irwin House Global Art Center and Gallery takes a local approach… | Model D Media

Irwin House Global Art Center and Gallery takes a local approach to fostering arts and culture

Detroiter Valerie Irwin’s life has revolved around the arts. Her appreciation began in middle school, when she started drawing and continued into adulthood when she became an elementary school teacher. After she met her husband, Council Irwin Jr., they began collecting art together.

Irwin and her late husband, who was a social entrepreneur and owner of Irwin Travel Agency in Detroit, collected art from around the world and advocated for working artists. Together, they lived a globe-trotting life, boarding international flights and meeting with foreign dignitaries eager to boost their countries’ tourism economy. On her first visit to Africa, Irwin was struck by the art from “the homeland,” she recalls.

These experiences culminated in the opening of the Irwin House Global Art Center and Gallery in September 2018 on West Grand Boulevard, just a mile down the street from the Motown Museum. It was a project years in the making, with the vision to find a home for the couple’s art collection.


Photos: Nick Hagen for Model D Media

THANK YOU Facebook Friends!

We just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to our Facebook campaign. It was a short, post-holiday campaign and, we had ZERO expectations so we were deeply appreciative of every penny that you donated to our cause.

That was our first real fundraising effort and, certainly, there will have to be more….But, for now, we would simply like to extend thanks for your confidence in our work!

Stay tuned as we prepare our space for Spring programming!


DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Closing Reception 1/18

Happy 2020 and thank you #Detroit for your continued support! Please join us for a closing Open House event for the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY on Saturday, January 18th from 4-8pm.

DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY explores those distinct moments, memories and imaginings that define our great city. If you haven’t visited, please come check us out before the show closes. If you’ve been here or been part of of some of the recent programming – including the opening reception, artist talk with Darin Darby and Delores Slowinski, M.L. Liebler’s PoetryMusicArt Jam, John Sims Detroit Art Residency and the Sorrento Project, VidaAfroLatina’s film screening or Dancing by Day with Detroit Diaspora – we THANK YOU and invite you back for a closer look and an intimate afternoon with the artists. We’ll be here all day with Serengeti artisan teas and cocktails, powerful Detroit art (much of it for sale!), and more…

Featured artists include: Brian Nickson, Carolyn Thompson, Damon Chamblis, Darin Darby, Dolores Slowinski, James Charles, Morris, Jeni Wheeler, Jonathan Harris, Jon DeBoer, John Sims, Kathleen Rashid, Lance Johnson, Melissa Vize, Robert W. Clark III and Waleed Johnson with special contributions by Eric’s I’ve Been Framed, M.L. Liebler, and the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN).

– Lastly, our FB Fundraiser is still on-going. Please help us to reach (or at least approach) our goal. Click HERE to learn more or donate!

<< Featured Image: “Detroitism” by Jon DeBoer from the DFH Exhibit >>

We look forward to celebrating with you on 1/18!

Happy 2020 & THANK YOU for making our first year extraordinary!

2019 was an awesome year of firsts, which started with our beloved Aretha and ends with the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Exhibit. Thank you to all who’ve been with us on this journey: Artists, enthusiasts, visitors, collaborators, neighbors, tourists, supporters, family members, construction workers, and the media (special shout out to the Detroit Metro Times!). See you for more rich programming throughout 2020!

We are a not-for-profit 501(c) 3. Your donations are welcome!
Thank You for your support.


Detroit Image Drive

Extended thru  the end of January , 2020, The Irwin House Gallery will be accepting YOUR Detroit images for permanent installation at our space, as an artistic record of real Detroit people, our meaningful moments, and the people, places, and experiences that shape us.  Here’s what you do:

– PLEASE SUBMIT 1-3 of your favorite images via FB Messenger or email to:

– If you’re visiting the gallery, you can also drop-off hi-quality photocopies OR bring your original images for scanning on-site. Hours are Thurs-Sun from 12-6 pm.

Your image/s can reflect the past or present, yourself, family members, friends, places, distinctly Detroit objects, icons, or heroes… There are no wrong answers as long as the images are clear, G-rated, and share some insight into YOUR Detroit.

Thank you for being a part of our space, and helping us create this document of everyday Detroit greatness!

Don’t forget the block by John Sims | Detroit Metro Times

As his residency comes to a close, Irwin House Artist-in-Residence, John Sims reflects on his time in Detroit in this heartfelt Metro Times piece with a message for us all….

Don’t forget the block

What I learned returning to my childhood
neighborhood for an artist residence

By John Sims


“As we move through the holiday season into the new year, there is much to enjoy and think about: family, friends and fellowship. This is the time to share stories, laughter, food, gifts, and to entertain the children and indulge the elders, visit loved ones, and remember the ones who have passed. And in a place like Detroit, a place in transition, where rebirth meets decay, there is an open invitation to reflect on both the past and future of stories of all sorts, connections of all kinds, and physical spaces that have anchored our memories to a sense of community and neighborly togetherness….”


Sims Detroit Residency: Closing Reception & Presentation

In early November 2019, the Irwin Gallery welcomed Detroit native, conceptual artist, writer and producer, John Sims, as its inaugural Artist-In-Residence. While working and residing on site, Sims has been developing a three-part multimedia project based on his childhood block on Detroit’s West Side. Entitled Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block, the project is Sims’ deeply personal response to the decay and desolation of his home street – a reflection of many Detroit neighborhoods, and a microcosm of urban communities decimated by systemic abandonment and neglect throughout the country.

On Sunday, December 8, 2019, the gallery will host a farewell reception for SIms, who will be returning to Sarasota, FL, in the following days. The event gives the public an opportunity to meet the artist, socialize, take in the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY exhibit, and see the work Sims has been creating on behalf of his Sorrento project.

Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block  Presentation | Sunday, December 8, 2019, 4:00 – 6:00 pm. RSVP: or