Black History Month @ IHG features Ivan Quinones II and more….

As part of its Black History Month programming, Irwin House Gallery highlights the work of local emerging artist, Ivan Quiñones II in his first-ever solo exhibition, The Price of Speech. The exhibition launches with an open house reception on Friday, February 10, 2023 from 5:00 – 10:00 pm and showcases a new body of work inspired by an intense conversation-piece he created at the end of the year entitled Not Your Negro.

In addition, for Black History Month, Irwin House Gallery’s RED (BLACK & GREEN) ROOM will hold representational works by selected artists including Allen Williams, BAI, Brandi Langie, Bria Erby, Dalejuan, Daniel Parker, Donald Calloway, Elonte Davis, Habacuc Bessiake, Jasmine Graham, Jimmy James Greene, Kayleigh Blevins, Kirah Price, Marlon Ivory, Quadre Curry, Rotimi Godwin, and Shirley Woodson. A John Sims tribute mural, created by Quadre Curry, is also installed through the end of the month, and revolutionary works by Sims will be displayed and screened on the 2nd floor throughout. 


Black History Month ushers in Sacred Spaces

As a show of solidarity and presence in our great city, many of Detroit’s Black-owned and operated arts and cultural spaces are partnering with the City of Detroit’s Office of Arts, Culture & Entrepreneurship in a city-wide project and self-guided tour. In celebration of Black History Month 2023, Sacred Spaces highlights exhibitions, events, and programming scheduled across more than 15 venues from February 1 – 28, 2023.

Read more about Sacred Spaces and follow Black History Month exhibits and programs throughout Detroit at

Irwin House to honor John Sims | Bridge Detroit

Irwin House Gallery held a memorial in honor of John Sims earlier this month, but will host another event Feb.13 on what would’ve been Sims’ 55th birthday. Beginning at 6 p.m., the Irwin House event will be similar to a party Sims held every year called the “Square Root of Love,” where guests listen to love poems, engage in discussions and enjoy some wine, she said. The event will be hosted by community organizer and poet Brittini Ward, who was a poet laureate for one of the gallery’s past exhibits. 

“Just like many of us from humble beginnings, he’s a product of our Detroit neighborhoods and Detroit Public Schools,” McGlown said. “He was able to take that upbringing and sense of self that people have who grew up in Detroit…and really take that out into the world and do incredible work.”


Quadre Curry honor’s the late John Sims with a tribute mural

Emerging Detroit artist, Quadre Curry, never backs down from a creative challenge. When asked to transform Irwin House Gallery’s accent wall into a tribute for the late John Sims, there was no hesitation. In less than three days, the matt black surface became a brilliant, flaming Confederate flag – symbolic of Sims’ twenty year project that dissected, reimagined and disempowered the flag and other symbols of visual terrorism.

“As a tribute to Sims’s annual birthday and Valentine’s Day event, the SquareRoot of Love, Irwin House will host a candlelight open mic poetry night called Love Language on Monday, Feb. 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Irwin House’s Black History Month programming is part of a city-wide initiative in partnership with Detroit’s Office of Arts, Culture & Entrepreneurship called Sacred Spaces that highlights Black-owned art spaces in the city.”

Read more about the mural and Black History Month @ IHG on the Metro Times website HERE.

Metro Times Honors John Sims in Cover Story

Read more about Sims on their website here.

This week’s Metro Times cover story is a tribute to the late Detroit artist and activist John Sims, who died last month at the age of 54. It was written by Omo Misha, Director of the Irwin House Gallery, where Sims was an Artist-in-Residence and co-curator. The cover art was created by Shawn D. Barber or California, who was a student and friend of Sims.

While a memorial event was held for Sims at the gallery over the weekend, Misha says another opportunity to remember the artist will come on Monday, Feb. 13 — what would have been Sims’s birthday.

“John touched so many lives, across disciplines, continents, racial, and cultural lines,” Misha says. “Even in his physical absence, he is bringing creative communities together. Many of us are bonded, I believe, in the spirit of moving his work and visions forward.”

BLAC Detroit shares in Celebrating the Life of John Sims

Born in Detroit, Sims was a mathematical and conceptual artist, writer, producer, and cultural activist whose inspired and courageous career spanned more than 20 years. Sims lectured and produced programs and exhibitions not only nationally but internationally in countries such as France, Hungary, Spain, and Argentina. His work has been featured locally as well as in the New York TimesUSA TodayThe Wall Street JournalWashington Post, CNN, NBC News, The GuardianThe RootArt in AmericaScience News, and the science journal, Nature.

Sims himself, was a force of nature whose work and legacy will continue in Detroit. Sims passed away in his Sarasota, Calif. home and studio Dec. 11, 2022. The news of his sudden passing has shaken arts and academic circles around the world.  Read more on the B.L.A.C website here.

A deeply personal tribute to John Sims in the Detroit Metro Times

John Sims was a personal friend to the gallery, and one of our staunchest supporters. Like anything he believed in strongly, he fought for it fiercely. And, when John fought, the opponent was not likely to win. He was going to be bigger. He was going to be louder….He was probably going to be smarter (but that doesn’t mean he was always right). Either way, he was going to win. He was a good person to have in your corner and it felt good to be on the receiving end of his activism.

With that, Sims was also a frequent subject of Detroit Metro Times coverage. They understood the value in his voice and later, as Sims became an arts and culture writer for publications around the world – “Yeah, I’m doing that now, too,” he said, as though it were something he just woke up that day and decided to do – that included the Detroit Metro Times.

Metro dubbed John a Renaissance Man in 2017 and encouraged us to dance to Sims’ Pi-Day Anthem. In 2018 they covered our Aretha tribute exhibit, in which Sims co-curated, as well as his video-poem, Hurricane Aretha. In 2019, they twice looked at his Detroit background, including publishing Sims’ own summary of the residency project, Don’t Forget the Block. Over the next couple of years, Sims covered the Aretha movie, Greg Tate, Pi Day for the publication, so it was only befitting that MT allowed us to share this heartfelt tribute to John, the man, the towering figure who brought so much life and enlightenment to us all….


A memorial celebration of the immense and inspired life of John Sims will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023 at Irwin House Gallery; 2351 W. Grand Blvd. (between LaSalle & Linwood) Detroit; 313-932-7690. An interment ceremony will follow, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 at the historic Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery East, 4280 E. 13 Mile Rd.