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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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