The Irwin House Global Art Center and Gallery is an arts destination that provides local and visiting artists with exhibition opportunities, engages the community through arts exposure and education, and serves to nurture and empower collectors of art. Established in 2015, we opened our doors to the public in 2018, after a hard-fought building rehabilitation. The art space is an outgrowth of the vision of the Valerie Irwin and her late husband, Council B. Irwin, Jr.
Avid enthusiasts and collectors, The Irwins traveled the world, collecting art from the earth’s far reaches along the way. In addition to their appreciation for indigenous arts, the couple expressed a keen eye for local talent by collecting and supporting both emerging and established artists from the Detroit area and around the United States. This Center has become a public home for their proud collection, and provides a space to showcase the works of African-American and under-represented artists from the local and international communities.
Valerie Irwin is a retired Detroit Public Schools educator, property manager, and an art enthusiast. She operated Travels Unlimited (located two doors down from the gallery) with her late husband, Council B. Irwin, and continues to manage group and individual travel packages and advocate for travel agents. Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery is an outgrowth of Mr. and Mrs. Irwin’s love and support for the Detroit community and the arts. Valerie opened the Art Center with her niece, Misha McGlown, who manages daily operations and develops and facilitates art center programs. A native of Detroit, Misha has enjoyed an extensive career in the arts in New York City, curating projects for the City College of New York, Columbia University, the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum, Community Works NYC, and many other arts organizations and commercial galleries. She held management positions at the LeRoy Neiman Art Center and The Children’s Art Carnival and continues to contribute to educational programs at Symphony Space and the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in NY. Misha returned to Detroit to realize the Irwin House with her aunt and to contribute to the growth and renewal of her beloved hometown.
Council B. Irwin, Jr. was committed to strengthening his community and building minority business. He encouraged everyone around him to do the same, and supported others in their efforts wherever he was able. The Irwin House was born from that determination. It is one small step toward revitalizing the West End Detroit neighborhood (WEdetroit) and bringing artists and enthusiasts together in a creative and nurturing environment.
The Center’s programs include themed exhibitions, an artist-in-residency program, educational events, hands-on opportunities, and exchanges that benefit the arts community, youth and school groups, seniors, and Detroit’s under-served populations. We look forward to building community alliances, supporting our local talent, and inviting the global art world to experience and contribute to the wealth of our great city. We appreciate your support (and welcome your feedback!) as we perfect our space and roll out our programs.