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Help us restore a historic Detroit building to transform it into a Museum of Curiosity! Read more

Detroit, MI Public Art
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 15, 2014.

Help us restore a historic Detroit building to transform it into a Museum of Curiosity!

Detroit, MI Public Art
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About this project

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

When we first saw the Seafoam Palace building, it seemed to us like an exquisite shipwreck – made from beautiful old wood and ornate details, with crumbling plaster and a broken ceiling, crashed on the shores of a block in Detroit. The name Seafoam Palace virtually suggested itself, and the idea for a museum of curiosity followed soon after. 

Our goal is to open this museum in the summer of 2015. But first we would love your support to fix up what we are affectionally calling "The Ballroom” – our main exhibition space. 

WHAT IS THIS MUSEUM OF CURIOSITY? 

Our museum is inspired by classic cabinets of curiosity, which were collections of strange and wonderful ephemera from the fields of natural history, anatomy, mineralogy and folklore. We are working with sculptors, musicians, photographers, costumers and writers to create a wonder chamber stuffed with objects of mystery and fascination, to encourage new explorations of what these kinds of artifacts mean today. 

For our exhibitions, we will collect fragments from lost and fictitious civilizations, find and assemble new mysterious specimens of natural science, and dig up fossils from the outer lands of our collective imagination. In other words, we will use our artistic, sculptural and narrative skills to create treasure nests of intrigue for our visitors, who will be invited to linger at our shows, participate in interactive explorations, or attend our workshops and lectures on curious topics. 

Double-Headed Bird by Aminah Slor
Double-Headed Bird by Aminah Slor

Some examples of our planned exhibitions are:

  • Original art assembled from found materials that explores curious symbols and histories
  • "Submerged Memories" - a shipwreck installation of artifacts retrieved in local waterways
  • A mixed media, history-based exhibit about two women who set out on a roadtrip from Switzerland to Afghanistan during World War II to visit legendary tribes and folk art across Asia
  • A site-specific video installation that creatively places Detroit folklore into a broader mythological context
  • Workshops to explore real and imaginary environments by means of visual and audio collages, experiments and assemblages
  • For more details, please take a look at the Exhibitions page on our website!
This print by Monica Canilao is one of our lovely rewards!
This print by Monica Canilao is one of our lovely rewards!

WHO ARE WE? 

Seafoam Palace is made up of artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, sociologists, engineers, historians, travelers, explorers, and a few varieties of alchemists. Some of us have been collaborating on projects for over twenty years and some of us just met! We are drawn together by a love of the absurd, the profound, and the curious. Our team includes two ringleaders of arts and performance groups in New York and San Francisco, Julia Solis and John Law; the internationally represented artstars Monica Canilao and Chris Hackett; social innovator Shel Kimen, the photographers Tom Kirsch and Christos Pathiakis, sound artist Vnessa WolfChild, metal sculptor Colin McIntyre, award-winning filmmaker Bryan Papciak, and other accomplished individuals who are committed to making this museum shine: Alessandro Toffoli, Kim Couchot, Aram Polster, Dorothy Trojanowski, Paul Parkhill, Ryan Carmichael and Maggie Sisco.

THE BUILDING 

We are fortunate that we were able to buy a beautiful two-story building that is on the National Register of Historic Places and located on the culturally vibrant east side of Detroit. 

Built in 1925 and vacant for over twenty years, this structure needs several repairs that are vital to its longevity. We’re asking for your help in funding the restoration of our main exhibition space, a roughly 1500 square-foot area where we will host events and show rotating exhibitions. The space is largely intact, but there are some urgent things that need attention before the building can open: roof repairs, electricity updates, ceiling demolition and installation, plaster wall repair, linoleum floor removal, hardwood floor finishing, and the installation of heating vents, exhibition lighting, and new staircase railings. 

There is much to do – and this summer we have many skilled friends and family coming from around the country to volunteer their talents to make Seafoam Palace a reality. We also have licensed construction and electricity professionals who are helping us at reduced rates. Because of this help, your contributions will go far. 

Reaching our $23,000 goal will mean that our main exhibition space will have the funds necessary to be enjoyed by the public in 2015. Our stretch goal of $40,000 will make it possible for additional small exhibitions spaces to be finished, bringing our opening date even closer.

Thank you so much for your consideration. We look forward to keeping you curious! 

FABULOUS REWARDS!

We have lined up a number of special rewards for you: limited edition artwork, events, and even a few things made especially for you! You can see images and details on our Rewards page. 

Note: We also have an option to contribute to our project through PayPal. Please click here for our donations page. Thank you!

MORE INFORMATION 

Please take a look at our Website to find out more about the museum and connect with us. And if you’d like to know more about our crew, please check out our bios here.

Risks and challenges

We have laid a lot of the groundwork for this museum in the past year. Our museum was just registered with the state of Michigan and we are in the process of getting nonprofit status from the IRS. We have a detailed three-year budget, a board of directors, and a dedicated group of volunteers. We also have a realistic idea of how daunting it is to restore a neglected building and start an art institution that may take a long time to pay for itself. At the same time, the support and interest from Detroit residents has been extremely encouraging. We have already received media coverage and are working with a number of artists from all over the country to prepare the first exhibitions.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    38 backers

    Free admission to Seafoam palace for one visit

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  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    65 backers

    THANK-YOU POSTCARD: A postcard-sized piece of art by Bunnie Luv, ready for framing. PLUS one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    51 backers

    T-SHIRT: These black cotton tees (regular for men, fitted for the ladies) are screen-printed with our “Seafoam Palace Detroit” logo. See our Rewards Page for more details. PLUS one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    17 backers

    JAR SPONSOR: Get your name printed as a donor on a beautiful glass jar of one-of-a-kind specimens that will become part of our permanent collection! PLUS the Thank-You Postcard above and one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    11 backers

    ART PRINT: Signed, limited-edition 11x17 print by Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels. See our Rewards Page for more details. PLUS one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    13 backers

    ART PRINT: Signed, limited-edition 11x17 print by Monica Canilao. See our Rewards Page for more details. PLUS one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    3 backers

    PHOTO: Signed, limited-edition 12x18 photograph by Julia Solis. See our Rewards Page for more details. PLUS one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    2 backers All gone!

    SCULPTED TOOL: Want to give your shrunken head a haircut and can't find anything sharp? Try this one-of-a-kind knife crafted by Seafoam crew member and Popular Science author Chris Hackett. See our Rewards Page for more details. PLUS one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $225 or more

    5 backers

    COMBINATION: A combination of the above rewards: Choose a print by either Serra, Monica or Julia above PLUS the Jar Sponsor PLUS the T-Shirt PLUS the Thank-You postcard by Bunnie Luv. AND and one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    7 backers Limited (3 left of 10)

    FRAMED PHOTO: Own an original piece of the Seafoam Palace! Signed, limited-edition 11x17 photograph by Tom Kirsch. This comes in a special frame that has been hand-crafted from old-growth wood used in the ceiling rafters of Seafoam Palace, made especially for these photos by artist Ryan Carmichael. See our Rewards Page for more details. PLUS one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    SENTINEL: A gorgeous metal sculpture by the Austin-based artist and Seafoam Palace contributor Colin McIntyre. See our Rewards Page for more details. PLUS a T-shirt and one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers

    CURIOUS ASSEMBLAGE: Your own miniature collection of curiosities from the Seafoam Palace! A treasure box filled with one-of-a-kind artifacts along with a hand-written curator’s list of its contents. PLUS a T-shirt and one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers

    DETROIT SECRETS: A private afternoon tour of strange and intriguing places in Detroit by Julia Solis for you and a friend. You can pick the Clean Tour or the Dirty Tour – both will take you to places that are off the radar and will vanish in the next few years. PLUS a T-shirt and one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    BIKE GENERATOR: Wondering how to light up your curiosity cabinet after the world has ended and your generator has run out of gas? This bike generator has been specially crafted by Seafoam crew member and Popular Science author Chris Hackett. See our Rewards Page for more details. PLUS a signed copy of Hackett's forthcoming book and one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    CABINET OF WONDER: Your very own cabinet of curiosities handmade and lovingly stocked by Seafoam Palace artist VNESSWOLFCHILD. The wood cabinet comes with shelves and compartments displaying very special treasures and will be a wonderful addition to your own collection of artifacts. Each case is specially constructed with museum artifacts and one-of-a-kind. PLUS a T-shirt and one free museum admission for you and a guest.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers

    SPECIAL EVENT: Host a private event for up to twenty people at Seafoam Palace. We’ll provide an unforgettable setting along with treats! See our Rewards Page for more details.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    EXOTIC DINNER WITH THE BARON: Meet Baron Ambrosia, star of culinary TV shows and legendary connoisseur of curious foods. The Baron will host an extraordinary private dinner for you and five of your friends at Seafoam Palace in an immersive atmosphere of sensual delights. See our Rewards Page for more details.

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Funding period

- (29 days)